Dundee went down to a 2-1 defeat to St Mirren in their first away game of the season. The Dark Blues started poorly and went behind to an unfortunate own goal by Joe Shaughnessy. Zach Robinson missed a penalty late in the first half and Mikael Mandron put the Buddies two up in first half injury time. The Dee improved significantly after half time and Josh Mulligan pulled a goal back. Dundee kept attacking but couldn’t save the game. That poor first half cost them dearly and they left themselves too much to do in the second half.
There were two changes to the Dark Blues’ starting eleven. Trevor Carson replaced Jon McCracken in goal and Josh Mulligan retained his place after coming on for Antonio Portales last week.
Dundee made exactly the start they wanted to avoid. Conor McMenamin had already shown himself to be a lively threat on St Mirren’s right and whipped in an awkward cross after seven minutes. The ball flicked off Lee Ashcroft’s head, struck Joe Shaughnessy and flew past the helpless Trevor Carson to give the Buddies the lead. There may have been an element of luck about the goal, but the delivery was so good it was always likely to give defenders nightmares.
The Dark Blues struggled to get into the game. The two strikers were mostly isolated and the wing backs were left with too much to do. St Mirren’s wing backs were pushing forward to support the wide players and overload the Dee wing backs.
St Mirren could have gone further ahead when Scott Tanser crossed from the left for McMenamin to head powerfully against the crossbar from 10 yards.
Following a tough opening 20 minutes the Dee worked themselves into the game and became more competitive, but without creating any real goal threat in open play.
Dundee were unexpectedly awarded a penalty following a VAR review after 34 minutes. Shaughnessy’s long throw into the St Mirren goalmouth had been cleared when referee Colin Steven was alerted to a possible foul. After checking the VAR screen he decided that Mikael Mandron had pulled Lee Aschroft’s shirt as the throw came in.
Zach Robinson took the penalty and it wasn’t one of his better efforts. Keeper Zach Hemmings was always likely to save it if he guessed to go the right way, and that’s what happened.
When the clock ticked past the 45 minute mark the Dee were very much in the match, but in the five minutes of added time St MIrren were far more dangerous than the Dee and grabbed the vital second goal.
Dundee have the ball away too often in the first half and Zach Robinson was guilty of a careless pass to an opponent that allowed St Mirren to attack and win a corner. Caolan Boyd-Munce’s delivery was fast and perfect. Mikael MANDRON met it with a near post glancing header and Carson was again helpless. Four minutes into added time – it was a dreadful time to concede a second goal.
Dundee did not make any substitutions at half time, but they did change their formation. The defence switched to four at the back with Jordan McGhee shifting over to play as an orthodox right back. The Dee looked much more comfortable with that shape and set about trying to rescue the game.
11 minutes into the second half Scott Tiffoney came on for Lyall Cameron. It wasn’t a straight replacement. Tiffoney went wide left where he was a constant threat for the remainder of the game.
The change brought a swift reward. After 63 minutes Tiffoney swept over a lovely cross for Josh MULLIGAN to race in and somehow bundle the ball over the line with his back. There was a second VAR check for a possible handball before the goal was confirmed.
Dundee were transformed from the diffident and ineffective team of the first half. They set about St Mirren with real purpose, threatening to equalise with every attack.
Luke McCowan broke clear on the right and ran in on goal. While his shirt was being pulled he got his shot away only for Hemming to save with his feet. This time there was no VAR review.
St Mirren were always dangerous on the break as the Dee chased an equaliser, but the nearest they came followed a long throw. The ball broke to substitute Alex Grieve and his shot was cleared off the line by Shaughnessy. The final VAR review decided that the shot did not cross the line.
James Bolton made an important block from Malachi Boateng’s shot after Tiffoney found space on the left as Dundee continued to press for the equaliser. Beck made a fine surging run down the left before being pulled back.
There were seven minutes of injury time and the Buddies were able to cling on despite the Dee’s frantic attacking.
The change to formation and the arrival of Tiffoney made Dundee far more effective in the wide areas during the second half. With Jordan McGhee behind him Luke McCowan could concentrate on attacking and he grew into the game. Malachi Boateng and Josh Mulligan were both impressive in centre midfield throughout the second half, winning the ball regularly and setting up a stream of attacks. Their youthful energy, and skill too, made life hard for their opponents.
After a tough first half the defence coped well after half time even though they often lacked cover as the Dee chased the game. Trevor Carson will be disappointed to lose two goals against his old club on his debut, but he was hardly at fault with either. Apart from that he had plenty of awkward crosses to deal with, but he wasn’t called upon to make any difficult saves.
On the basis of the second half Dundee were well worth a point at least. However, they lost the game with a poor first half in which they failed to create enough and allowed St Mirren to get too many dangerous balls it nto the penalty area. Everything changed after half time but the Dee had left themselves too much to do against good opponents.
St Mirren 3-4-3
Fraser (c), Gogic, Taylor
Strain, Boyd-Munce (Bolton 67), Baccus, Tanser
McMenamin (Flynn 87), Mandron (Olusanya 71), Kiltie (Grieve 71)
Unused subs: Urminsky (gk), Dunne, Nahamni, Jamieson, Kenny.
Goals: Shaughnessy og (7), Mandron (45+4).
Booked: Mandron (foul on Ashcroft), Hemming (time-wasting).
Dundee FC 3-4-1-2
McGhee (Kerr 83), Shaughnessy, Ashcroft
McCowan, Mulligan, Boateng, Beck
Cameron (Tiffoney 56)
Bakayoko, Robinson (Rudden 78)
Unused substitutes: McCracken (gk), Legzdins (gk), Pineda, Robertson, Anderson, Graham.
Goal: Mulligan (63).
Booked: Tiffoney (dissent), Beck (dissent), Ashcroft (foul on Olusunya).
Officials: Colin Steven. Assistants: Calum Spence, David Dunne. Fourth Official: Grant Irvine. VAR: Nick Walsh. Assistant VAR: Graeme Stewart.
Attendance: 6,581 (506 Dees).
Report: James Christie.