Dundee were held to a 1-1 draw by in form Raith Rovers at the Kilmac Stadium. Charlie Adam put the Dee ahead with a superbly struck goal at the end of the first half. Dundee couldn’t make the game safe in a second half played in dreadful conditions and Rovers grabbed a point with a late goal by Frankie Musonda.
James McPake sent out an unchanged starting 11 following last week’s win over Morton. Rovers’ only change was to bring in Lars Lokotsch in the place of Manny Duku.
Rovers began confidently, showing some of their impressive early season form. They were happy to attack from the start and went close when Lokotsch ran clear on the left. His cutback caused a worrying scramble before the Dee forced the ball out for a corner.
The standard of play was high despite the difficult conditions with gusting wind swirling around the Kilmac Stadium. Both teams were passing and moving well, getting players into good positions in the wide areas. But neither team was able to get men onto the end of some good crosses.
Twice Rovers’ central defence got into a fankle from crosses, though they did have the appalling wind as an excuse. Each time the ball was allowed to drop to ground in a crowded goalmouth where the defenders were relieved to scramble clear.
The best Dee move in the opening 20 minutes ended with Danny Mullen sliding a pass through the defence for Jordan Marshall to run in and shoot into the side netting.
In the last 10 minutes of the half Dundee took a grip in midfield and cranked up the pressure on the Raith defence. A succession of dangerous crosses flew into Rover’s goalmouth, but the defence was always just about able to handle them. It was no surprise when Dundee broke the deadlock after 41 minutes. Charlie ADAM took the ball from Declan McDaid, made space for himself and arrowed a perfect low shot into the corner of the net from 22 yards.
The goal confirmed Dundee’s dominance and for the remaining few minutes of the first half and the opening of the second they always seemed on the verge of adding to their lead.
Rovers struggled to get anywhere near the Dundee goal, and when they did manage an attack, 10 minutes into the half, they very nearly conceded again as Dundee broke at speed. Adam found space and passed to Jonathan Afolabi who sent Marshall away on the overlap. His fierce low cross into the goalmouth was begging for a goal, and it was Rover’s Regan Hendry who almost obliged, Racing back towards his own goal he thrashed at the cross and somehow managed to clear by hammering the ball off his own crossbar and away.
Raith perked up after that bizarre escape but Dundee still remained on top and kept threatening to extend their lead. However, good approach play was let down by some wayward final balls, crosses and shooting. On occasion the Dark Blues were over elaborate once they reached the penalty area. Disappointingly, for all the promising attacking, Dundee didn’t force any saves from Jamie MacDonald in the Raith goal. Calum Ferrie did not have a save to make either, until the 73rd minute when Dan Armstrong sent in a low trundler from 30 yards that the Dee keeper was able to collect at leisure.
Dundee replaced Mullen and Adam with Christie Elliott and Paul McGowan in the middle of the second half and gradually started to concede ground to Rovers in the middle of the park.
Although Rovers couldn’t open Dundee up they won a good few corners, and these were always dangerous in the appalling conditions. The wind was still swirling around the stadium, sometimes shaking the roof with ferocious gusts. A well delivered corner kick into the goalmouth was always something of a lottery, and Rovers struck lucky with four minutes left of normal time. The ball evaded Ferrie and the defence, dropping into the six yard box for substitute Frankie MUSONDA to bundle home. It was a goal as ugly as Adam’s was beautiful, but Rovers earned their reward for exploiting the conditions.
There was no more serious action and neither keeper had anything to worry about beyond the miserable weather. For Dundee this was a frustrating loss of two points in a game that they should have put to bed long before Rovers’ late fightback. When Dundee were good today they were very good. Some of the approach play, the creative play out of defence, and the imaginative passing, were all excellent. But too many fine attacks were frittered away with no end product. If that vital second goal had arrived when Dundee were swarming all round the Rovers penalty area it is hard to see how the visitors could have saved the game. As it was they hung on and managed to dig out a point in the end that they will feel they earned through sheer resilience.
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Kerr, Ashcroft, McGhee (c), Marshall
McDaid (Anderson 84), Byrne, Adam (McGowan 75), Dorrans
Mullen (ELliott 69), Afolabi
Unused subs: Hamilton (gk), Robertson, Luke Strachan, Blacklock.
Goal: Adam (41).
Raith Rovers 4-1-4-1
Tumilty, Davidson (Mendy 81), Benedictus, Kieran MacDonald (Musonda 25)
Armstrong, Matthews, Tait, Ross (Spencer 72)
Unused subs: Thomson (gk), Arnott, Mahady, Coulson.
Goal: Musonda (86).
Booked: Hendry (foul on Adam), Armstrong (foul on Adam).
Referee: Alan Newlands. Assistants: Sean Carr, Chris Rae.
Report: James Christie.