Dundee threw away two points as they allowed St Johnstone to come from two goals down to take a point from a 2-2 draw in Perth. The Dark Blues dominated the match impressively and were well worth their lead at half time from Amadou Bakayoko’s header. The Dee were very much in charge for most of the second half and extended their lead with Ricki Lamie’s header from a corner on his debut. Dundee were playing fine football and should have taken the game out of sight. However, St Johnstone fought back in the last 10 minutes. Max Kucheriavyi pulled a late goal back and deep into added time he snatched an equaliser.
There was one change to the Dark Blues’ starting eleven. Ricki Lamie replaced Cammy Kerr, who was on the bench. Lamie played at centre back with Jordan McGhee moving over to right back.
From the start the Dee were the more composed team. They built a series of promising attacks and didn’t give the ball away as carelessly as a slipshod Saints team.
Joe Shaughnessy had the first attempt on goal, heading over the bar after a lengthy attack following Saints’ inability to clear a free kick.
Scott Tiffoney and Owen Beck were linking dangerously and caused St Johnstone problems whenever Dundee attacked down the left. Dimitar Mitov in the Saints goal had to react quickly to block Tiffoney’s cutback after a long run by Beck down the left.
The only real chance in the first half hour came when Mitov couldn’t hold a cross by Jordan McGhee and Tiffoney pulled his shot wide of the near post. Amadou Bakayoko then curled a 20 yard shot narrowly wide.
The Dark Blues finally took a deserved lead after 35 minutes. Beck took a short free kick 40 yards out and Fin Robertson floated a cross to the far post. Amadou Bakayoko headed down, TIFFONEY stuck a leg out and the ball reached the back of the net. The referee judged that Tiffoney got a touch on the ball and credited the goal to the winger.
Dundee continued to dominate and were well worth their lead at half time. St Johnstone had been poor in the first half and were no better after the restart. In contrast the Dark Blues stepped up their game and were excellent for the first half hour of the second half.
Dundee won a corner from an attack started by Beck and continued by Bakayoko. Mitov had to paw away a dangerous cross with the loose ball cleared for a corner. Beck whipped the corner to the edge of the six yard box where Ricki LAMIE powered home a header to give Dundee a 2-0 lead after 58 minutes.
The Dark Blues were totally dominant and should have wrapped the game up with further goals. In contrast Saints were a mess and lost the ball trying to play out from the back. Luke McCowan played Tiffoney in on goal but somehow Mitov got a touch on the shot to divert it narrowly past the post. That was a crucial moment in the match. If the chance had been taken Dundee could have won by a handsome margin.
Ryan Howley came on for Fin Robertson and then Mo Sylla replaced Malachi Boateng. Dundee were still well in control and looked fully capable of seeing the game out comfortably as the game entered the last 15 minutes.
St Johnstone had made substitutions with little effect but in the later stages they were finally able to get the ball forward and make the Dee defence work in the penalty area.
A free kick broke to substitute Chris Kane and he smashed a 15 yard shot against the crossbar. Saints continued to push forward, but desperately and with little composure or cohesion.
After 83 minutes Graham Carey swung in a cross to the far post and another Saints substitute Max KUCHERIAVYI tucked away a neat close range header. It was a disappointingly simple goal to lose.
The unexpected goal gave Saints a boost, but Dundee still looked like seeing the game out. Zak Rudden came on for Bakayoko and as the game entered injury time he passed up a great chance to make the points safe. McCowan sent him clear to run in through the inside left channel. He could have passed across goal to Ryan Howley but tried to squeeze a shot inside the near post and missed.
Five minutes of added time were announced. Saints continued to push frantically but the Dee defence looked assured. However, Dundee couldn’t hold the ball further down the field and repeatedly allowed Saints to force the ball back towards the Dark Blues’ penalty area.
After the clock had ticked past 95 minutes Saints won a throw in on the left. Dundee didn’t clear, and allowed Luke Robinson to hit a fierce low cross into the goalmouth where KUCHERIAVYI stabbed in his second after 95 minutes and 43 seconds.
There was barely time to restart the game and astonishingly the Dark Blues had thrown away two points in a game in which they had been superb and dominant for long spells. It was ridiculous to allow a struggling Saints team back into a game in which they had been a poor second best. That was a painful lesson in game management.
However, there was much to enjoy and admire about Dundee’s performance for most of this match. There were numerous fine individual performances throughout the team, with the midfield and forwards combining impressively to play some fine passing, attacking football.
In particular, Owen Beck was outstanding. The young Welshman dominated his area of the park, breaking up St Johnstone attacks, quickly starting Dee attacks and stepping forward to support the midfield. If anyone deserved to be on the winning side it was Beck. The Dark Blues must ensure they learn the right lessons from today’s game and carry forward into the rest of the season the many good things we saw today.
St Johnstone 4-4-1-1
Brown, McClelland, Considine, Robinson
Costelloe (Kucheriavyi 54), Phillips (c), Smith (MacPherson 54), Carey
Turner-Cooke (Jephcott 68)
May (Kane 54)
Unused subs: Richards (gk), Gallacher, Gordon, Olufunwa, Ballantyne.
Goals: Kucheriavyi (83, 90+6).
Booked: MacPherson (foul on McCowan), McClelland (foul on Rudden), Carey (foul on Sylla).
Dundee FC 4-3-3
McGhee, Shaughnessy (c), Lamie, Beck
Robertson (Howley 68), Boateng (Sylla 77), McCowan
Robinson , Bakayoko (Rudden 84), Tiffoney (Reilly 84)
Unused substitutes: Legzdins (gk), Kerr, Cameron, Ashcroft, Mulligan.
Goals: Bakayoko (35), Lamie (58).
Officials: Willie Collum. Assistants: Jonathan Bell, Paul O’Neill. Fourth Official: Euan Anderson. VAR John Beaton. VAR Assistant: David Dunne.
Report: James Christie.