Dundee picked up their first three points of the season in this Development League derby played at Gayfield on Tuesday night.
The Dark Blues fielded a number of the subs who had been on the bench for the Celtic game the previous Sunday, including Scott Bain, Iain Davidson, Cammy Kerr, Martin Boyle and Craig Wighton.
They opened strongly and could have taken a first minute lead when Wighton played in strike partner Lee Cameron but the latter’s shot was saved by United keeper Mark McCallum.
United had the ball in the net in the seventh minute through Aiden Connolly but Blair Spittal had strayed offside before he cut the ball back.
A slack back pass by Adam Harwood almost let in Dundee forward Josh Skelly but McCallum raced from his line to beat Skelly to the ball.
The Dens men were doing most of the attacking at this stage and Wighton had a shot from distance that flew over the bar.
United were awarded a free kick on the edge of the Dundee box and tried a little trick play which was blocked by an alert Dens defence.
The ‘home’ side had a good chance to open the scoring when Boyle raced past United left back Scott Smith and squared the ball to Skelly. Unfortunately for the youngster the ball got caught under his feet and the chance was lost.
Although Dundee had had the better of the first half hour it was the Tangerines who took the lead. A long ball downfield was chased by Connolly who lobbed the outrushing Bain and sent the ball into the net.
However, the Dens men roared back five minutes later when Wighton played the ball to Skelly who showed some neat footwork to turn and send the ball past the United keeper.
HT: Dundee 1 Dundee Utd 1
United started the second half with Ola Adeyemo on for Jordan Moore and Charlie Telfer tested Bain from 25 yards. Then the substitute got in behind the Dens defence only to see his effort saved by Bain’s outstretched leg.
There was a scare for Dundee fans when Bain raced from his goal to head a clearance straight to the feet of Ali Coote and the United youngster should have done better than to send his shot wide of an open goal.
Dundee took the lead on 60 minutes when Boyle latched on to a Matty Allan free kick and slipped the ball past McCallum.
Five minutes later Wighton played in Boyle whose effort went wide of the target.
The visitors made a double substitution on 70 minutes, bringing on Jamie Montgomery and Brad Smith for Scott Fraser and Coote but they were down to 10 men a minute later when full back Euan Spark picked up a second yellow card.
Despite this United pressed for the equaliser and Connolly shot over the bar from distance.
The Dark Blues spurned a great chance to wrap up the points when Boyle’s cross found the head of Cameron who could only head it into the arms of McCallum from point blank range.
Skelly then had a chance to notch his second but McCallum blocked his shot.
Connolly replied for United with a fierce shot that sneaked past Bain’s left hand post but it was the Dundee youngsters who had the final say when Wighton controlled a Boyle pass, skipped past a defender and, though his first shot hit McCallum, he picked up the rebound and danced round the keeper and another defender before slotting the ball home.
Coach Eddie Johnston commented, “John Nelms was joking that I was under pressure after the St Mirren game so it was good to get the first win, but it was a good performance all round.
“I’m obviously delighted. I thought second half we were fantastic. It was a disciplined performance. When they went down to 10 men sometimes that can be difficult but we stepped it up.
“They got the goal against the run of play but we sorted out a few things second half, tried to play a bit higher up the park and press them a bit higher and I think that paid off. We scored three great goals.”
Although the side was made up mainly of youngsters Eddie was quick to praise the contribution of a couple of the more experienced players. He said, “Iain Davidson was fantastic for us at the back helping out Matty Allan. Martin Boyle was tearing them apart and was a real threat throughout the game. It helps having the experienced players in, it’s good for the young lads in games like today.”
FT: Dundee 3 Dundee Utd 1
Dundee: Bain, A Black, Kerr, Allan, I Davidson, Colquhoun, Boyle, Carreiro, Wighton, Skelly, Cameron (J Black 86).
Dundee United: McCallum, Spark, S Smith, Telfer, Butcher, Harwood, Connolly, Coote (B Smith 70), Moore (Adeyemo 46), Fraser (Montgomery 70), Spittal.
Report: Jim Davie