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Match Statistics

Dundee Utd Killie

No. of Shots

13 8

Shots on Target

8 7

Possession

56% 44%

Fouls Conceded

7 12

Corners Won

15 6

Discipline

 
Goals Spittal 8, 39
 Durnan 32
Rankin 44
Dillon 78

Magennis 82

 

Killie Team

Jamie MacDonald, Conrad Balatoni, David Syme , Lee Ashcroft (Kevin McHattie 45), Stuart Findlay, Steven Smith (Adam Frzzell 12), Jamie Hamil, Craig Slater, Greg Kiltie, Kallum Higginbotham (Tope Obadeyi 60), Josh Magennis.
Subs Not Used:
Connor Brennan, Kris Boyd, Dale Carrick, Scott Robinson.

Man of the Match Vote

 

Match Report

James Morrison @ Tannadice

The press and media, especially those from Tayside, had hyped up the match between Killie and the Tangerines as crunch time for United- it was important for Killie but next week's home game against Accies seemed just as critical. Anyways, setting off from Ayrshire on an almost balmy January morning it seemed a perfect day for sports even those chasing an oval ball at Rugby Park in the evening! The Killie management team had an unusual task - with Magennis, Smith and McHattie all available for selection again and being unbeaten in 2016- who should they pick?

It was expected that Magennis would return but there were some debates and discussions amongst the fans whether Smith and McHattie should replace Jamie Hamill and Stuart Findlay. United had also off-loaded Ryan McGowan who had been involved in the penalty incident at RP as well as some other controversial tumbles in opponents' penalty areas.

It was interesting to see stuff like this appearing on social media as the travelling fans made their way to Tannadice: "Time for talking over. Today a day for attitude of Hegarty, Holt, Kirkwood, McInally and Bowman. Nothing must be left on that pitch." So who would be chosen? Would Killie stick with 4-2-3-1? Would United take the lead and then bottle it as they'd done in so many games?

Gary Locke's team selection  seemed rather baffling with both Smith and Hamill playing in front of the back four. For a few minutes playing Slater further forward did seem to work and after 5 minutes Magennis should have scored as he connected with an excellent cross from Higginbotham. However his shot was weak and directed straight at the United keeper. Little did we realise that it would be a further thirty minutes before Killie would again be in the United penalty area- and by that time we'd be 3-0 down!

Mixu had set up the home side in a 3-4-1-2 formation and simply over ran Killie in the middle of the park. Locke's persistence with 4-2-3-1 throughout the rest of the game was just baffling. The Killie full backs (two young centre backs) were constantly exposed and Rankin and especially Spittal had a field day. A couple of minutes after Josh's miss Findlay missed a cross field ball allowing former Montrose and Arbroath youngster  Simon Murray to play in Spittal who finished past the helpless MacDonald with ease.

The fragile Smith then hobbled off to be replaced by Frizzell as United also had to replace Donaldson who had clashed heads with Higginbotham. They brought on Mark Durnan who slotted in at right back and would soon score his first goal for United. Killie were playing a team who had not won since October and had regularly lost one goal leads but, bizarrely, what did we do for the rest of the first half? Panic....and how.

Spittal swung in a corner and Durnan rose (largely unchallenged by his marker Slater) to power home a header with MacDonald only pushing the ball into the net. Goals three and four were simply embarrassing: the impressive Spittal was allowed to advance unchallenged and his cross was missed by everyone including the static Killie keeper. Then another Spittal delivery was deflected to an un-marked Rankin who volleyed home. 4-0 and with 5 minutes of injury time to play. The ref (who had disallowed a "goal" by Murray when he out fought/pushed Balatoni) duly blew to end what was an awful first half from the Killie viewpoint.

Gary Locke had made no effort to change the shape or tactics as, yet again, his side were over-run and thrashed in a first half bereft of motivation and man management. Surely he'd shake things up and "have a go" in the 2nd half ? Er......no. Needing goals (and with Boyd or even Carrick on the bench) he hooks Ashcroft, moves Findlay into the centre of defence and brings on McHattie at left back. He also persists with the same formation and Josh as a sole striker!

In fairness to McHattie he did push forwards and looked more solid but he was also helped by having the ever willing Kiltie in front of him. A largely forgettable 2nd half was 23 minutes old when United defender and captain Dillon waltzed through some Killie challenges, got the break of the ball before finishing neatly past MacDonald. Killie did have the consolation of a Magennis glancing header finding the net from a corner kick.

Some thoughts and questions: The Board clearly showed faith in Gary Locke by supporting and backing him with his choice of signings and back room staff. Do they now not realise there must have been reasons why Levein and Mrs Budge promptly dispensed with Locke's services from his beloved Hearts? Are the management team incapable of changing tactics and formation during a game when Plan A clearly is not working? Do they not think of a Plan B before or during a game? Having watched three 4-0 home defeats and a 5-2 thrashing by Thistle at Rugby Park yesterday's debacle was worse in many ways : pundits were rightly saying 5-1 could have been more and this was an important, critical game.

It seems the fortunate results against Accies, Hearts and St Johnstone (remember the triple save) were just "papering over the cracks" as our team were thrashed for the fourth time this season by a club who certainly won't be title challengers! Do the Board realise that very few, if any, fans will criticise them if they now change the management team? However, they will take lots of criticism if they persist with the present incumbents(who they understandably supported financially) and who have been given plenty opportunities to turn things around. Yesterday would be the "final straw" for many Killie fans regarding the management.Indeed a number even left the ground after United's fourth goal in the first half!

 

Comments

Gary Locke: "We were second best in too many areas of the pitch, at this level you have to win your individual battles and credit to United - they won everything. United said it was a cup final but it was a cup final for us as well. In a game of that magnitude it's disappointing. We can't afford to be like this again. We need a couple of players because we are light in certain areas. We need a bit of experience, a couple of leaders on the pitch. But that's not an excuse."

 

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