Lockdown Football on the TV: Arbroath 1-1 Dundee

Friday 22nd January 2021
1 – 1
Kickoff 22/01/2021 19:45

Scottish Championship
Friday 22 January 2021
Stephen McCartney reports (watching on TV)

ARBROATH boosted their survival hopes in the Scottish Championship by claiming a deserved derby night draw against promotion chasing Dundee at Gayfield Park.

Dundee captain Charlie Adam, 35, capped off another commanding performance in a three-man midfield, by opening the scoring with an emphatic eighth minute penalty, before Arbroath grabbed an equaliser through centre-half Ricky Little’s bullet header in the second-half.

Roaming Dundee left-back Jordan Marshall whipped in a cross and Arbroath central defender Thomas O’Brien was penalised for handball, using his left arm to block Osman Sow’s hooked shot on goal.

Adam stepped up and smashed his emphatic left-footed penalty into the top left-hand corner, despite the diving Derek Gaston getting a touch but couldn't prevent Adam scoring his sixth goal of the campaign.

But bottom-of-the-table Arbroath closed the gap on fellow part-timers Alloa Athletic to one point, courtesy of Little’s header.

Arbroath manager Dick Campbell, whose side have now banked seven points from their 12 league outings, said on BBC Scotland: “I thought the result was a bit fair.  Believe it or not, I thought the referee got the decision right with the penalty.

“There was nothing in the game at all. They started better than us. We had a wee rally at half-time and that changed the attitude. 

“You don’t feel sorry for yourselves.  Dundee were heavy favourites to win the game and they did have chances, no more than we had in the second half.  I think we had four great chances.

“A draw is a fair result for me.  I’m just disappointed that we don’t have a wee bit of composure in front of goal and I’m trying very hard to get that sorted out.  If we had a wee bit of class in front of goal, we would’ve won the game.”

Dundee goalkeeper Jack Hamilton plucked the ball out of the chilly Arbroath air to catch O’Brien’s far-post header after James Craigen’s corner and the hosts should have been level in the 25th minute.

Dale Hilson stabbed the ball into Michael Ruth’s path as the pair linked up down the right channel and Scott Stewart spurned his chance at the near post.

Dundee hit Arbroath on the counter-attack just five minutes later when Adam released Paul McGowan before Adam played in striker Danny Mullen, who cracked the top of the crossbar with a left-footed drive from 15-yards.

Ben Williamson, who is on loan from runaway, unbeaten Scottish Premiership leaders Rangers, went close for Arbroath with his right-footed free-kick from 25-yards which only just cleared the crossbar as the 18-year-old aimed for the top left-hand corner.

Arbroath goalkeeper Gaston was in the right place at the right time to prevent Sow scoring on the stroke of half-time with a first-time shot from eight-yards after Dundee attacked down the left with McGowan’s back-heel playing Marshall on the overlap.

Dundee created their first second-half chance when substitute Jonathan Afolabi hung over a cross for Sow at the far post but his glancing header from seven-yards deflected past the upright – but they were denied opportunities as Arbroath started to impose themselves on the game as soon as Bobby Linn came off the bench.

O’Brien’s long throw was sliced away by Adam but Craigen leaned back and skied his right-footed drive from the edge of the Dundee box just before the hour.

However, Arbroath grabbed an equaliser in the 65th minute following their third corner of the night.

Taken by substitute Linn, the recalled Little thumped home a header into the roof of the net from six-yards out to give Arbroath their fourth league draw of the season.

Campbell revealed that Linn “was desperate to play” against a team that he supports.

Adam’s fourth corner was headed back to him by Dundee substitute Jordan Forster and Adam drilled his shot towards the near post from a very tight angle but Gaston palmed the fierce shot over his crossbar at his near post.

As the game entered the final 15 minutes, Arbroath’s three subs linked up well down the left with Michael Mckenna, Linn and Luke Donnelly before the ball was worked through to Dave Hilson’s whose shot was beaten away by Dundee keeper Jack Hamilton at his near post.

Arbroath were playing with more confidence after their equalising goal and they finished the game on the front foot and squandered an excellent chance to claim the victory with eight minutes to go.

McKenna’s fine pass played in Linn but Hamilton comfortably caught the shot in his midriff, as Dundee appeared content to hold on to their fifth league draw of the campaign.

However, Adam had other ideas, and he came close to chipping in a last-gasp winner.

A brave goal-line headed clearance from O’Brien denied Adam scoring a from a tight angle after being played in by Sow, who came to life inside the box after suffering a quiet second-half.

Dundee suffered three injuries on the night with McGhee and Mullen being withdrawn in the first-half with centre-half Liam Fontaine pulling his hamstring nine minutes into the second and are are a concern going into Ayr United’s visit to Dens Park on Tuesday night.

Arbroath travel to Greenock Morton next Saturday, full of confidence after back-to-back draws, having came away from Queen of the South with a 2-2 draw last time out.

Campbell said: “The one thing you’ve got to match them is your effort and it’s a prerequisite for a professional to be working hard – and we are.

“Don’t forget we are part-time and we spent all night testing at training last night.

“I’m not making any excuses whatsoever. What you do is you all stick together, work hard and I’m very, very positive minded in terms of the rest of the season.

“It will come, it will come. If we keep playing like we’re playing. We’ll keep trying the things we’re trying.  We tried two wide players in the second half and that gave Dundee problems but they finished the game better than us because they’re full-time.”

For Dundee, they remain in third-place with 20 points from their 12 league games and they are seven points adrift of leaders Heart of Midlothian, the title favourties, who now have a game in hand.

Dundee manager James McPake told BBC Scotland: “Obviously disappointed to drop two points but the disappointing thing for me is to concede from a set-play.

“I think we’ve done enough in the first-half, we’ve created enough chances in the first-half to be well in front in the game.

“But a lot of credit goes to them as well. They dug in and they made it hard for us. 

“What didn’t help was we had to make changes, forced changes that unsettled us a bit due to injury, which isn’t great - but it’s a game we should’ve won. 

“I don’t think we were great tonight, I’ll be honest, in the first-half but that comes down to Arbroath.

“This is a tough, tough place to come and they’re on it on the night and that’s what I said pre-match. They won’t be bottom of the league and I think they’ve shown that tonight.  They’re a good outfit, they’ve got a good manager.”

McPake complained about the manner that his side continued their poor away form, which has seen them win just once on the road in the Championship this term, with all games being played behind closed doors.

“I was annoyed conceding from a set-play," said the 36-year-old. 

"I was disappointed because set-plays are massive in games of football and to concede so late on from a set-play tonight has cost us two points at a very, very hard place to come.  

“It’s criminal when somebody’s heading the ball in the middle of the goal, the middle of your goal so late on in the game, especially when you’ve put so much work, in particular with the changes that we made.

“That was the most disappointing thing but loads of positives in terms of the chances in the first half.”

Arbroath: Derek Gaston, Jason Thomson, Colin Hamilton, Scott Stewart (Michael McKenna 66), Thomas O'Brien, Ricky Little, Dave Wilson, James Craigen (Bobby Linn 60), Michael Ruth, Ben Williamson, David Gold (Luke Donnelly 70).
Subs: Mark Whatley, Gavin Swankie, Jake Davidson, Scott Gallacher

Goal: Ricky Little 65

Booked: Michael Ruth 40

Dundee: Jack Hamilton, Christie Elliot, Jordan Marshall, Charlie Adam, Lee Ashcroft, Liam Fontaine (Jordan Forster 56), Shaun Byrne, Jordan McGhee (Cammy Kerr 15), Osman Sow, Danny Mullen (Jonathan Afolabi 38), Paul McGowan.
Subs: Adam Legedins, Finlay Robertson, Max Anderson, Lyall Cameron

Goal: Charlie Adam 8 (penalty)

Booked: Christie Elliot 38, Charlie Adam 45

Attendance: 0
Referee: Mr Greg Aitken
Assistants: Mr Kylie McMullan & Mr Craig Ferguson
Fourth Official: Mr Gavin Ross

With non-league football here in Kent suspended and missing reporting on football matches due to lockdown, I've decided to bring you this match report from this televised game up in Scotland, which has been included in the Tier Football section of the website.