It was an impressive 3-0 victory for United against Queen of the South with goals from McMullan, Clark and Stanton sealing all three points.
By Ian Isbister & Aaron Dalziel
United went into today’s game sitting six points clear at the top of the SPFL Championship after last week’s 2-0 victory over neighbours Dundee. Goals from Clark and Shankland had earned United their fourth win on the trot along with four clean sheets.
United would be without Shankland for today’s game, with the striker on international duty with Scotland for the upcoming games against Cyprus and Kazakhstan.
Today’s visitors Queen of the South did United a big favour by beating second place Ayr United 3-1 the previous weekend. The Doonhamers sit in seventh place in the Championship, and United would be looking for revenge after the Queens convincing 4-0 victory against the Tangerines last month at Palmerston Park.
Manager Robbie Neilson made one change with Stanton replacing Shankland in the starting line-up and Mochrie taking Stanton’s place on the bench.
Queens boss Allan Johnston also made one change to his starting eleven with Oliver replacing Hamilton.
United kicked off attacking the Eddie Thompson stand and had their first corner inside thirty seconds. The resultant set-piece was easily cleared by Queens.
United’s first chance came in the seventh minute when Appéré was sent clear by Harkes. The youngster’s run on goal was only narrowly thwarted by McCrorie in the Queen’s goal.
United continued to press and were having the bulk of the possession in the opening twenty minutes of the game. McMullan was the main protagonist looking for an opening in the Doonhamer’s defence.
It was McMullan who broke the deadlock for United in the twenty-second minute. Great work by Appéré down the right wing and his weighted pass was easily slotted home by McMullan. Just rewards for a player celebrated before the game for recently passing the one hundred appearance mark for United.
Queen of the South came close to equalising in the thirty first minute when Murray was played through on goal. Despite being clearly offside, he slid the ball past Siegrist and the Assistant Referee corrrectly raised his flag.
The enthusiasm of Appéré almost paid dividends in the thirty seventh minute when his run on goal took him past two Queens defenders down the right side of the box. Only the oncoming McCrorie prevented Appéré from scoring. It was dazzling quick feet by the strong striker and he was unlucky not to finish off what would have beena sensational goal.
United finished the first half on a high with a succession of corners, set-pieces and plenty of possession. Just as it looked like United would have to wait until the second half for the all important second goal, up stepped Nicky Clark to finish off a fine move, McMullan’s sublime pass finding Clark on the run down the middle of the park to slott past McCrorie in the Queens goal. 2-0 to United and a score line befitting of the way United had dominated the game in the first half.
It didn’t take United long to increase their lead at the beginning of the second half. In the forty-ninth minute, the ball broke to Stanton twenty yards out. As he took on the first wave of defenders he found himself through on goal and calmly slotted home to make it 3-0 United.
United were rampant now and almost made it four five minutes later. A cross from Appéré found Clark as he ran into the box. His shot just didn’t have the legs to find its way past McCrorie who was on hand to save.
United continued to control the game and were only being thwarted by some tough tackling from the away side. Referee Collum choosing to let the game continue rather than discipline the offenders, much to the dismay of the United fans.
On the back of four clean sheets, United’s defence continued to look impenetrable, Watson, Reynolds and the ever reliable Siegrist showing why they’ve looked solid at the back in the last month.
A rare opportunity for Queen of the South came in the eightieth minute when a corner was met perfectly by Brownlie in the centre of the box, the Queens player’s header just going narrowly wide past Siegrist’s left hand post.
United continued to look impressive in the closing stages and the passing in midfield in particular kept the home side in control. As the clock ticked down, United we’re keeping Queens up their end of the park and introduced Academy Graduates Logan Chalmers (19) and Chris Mochrie (16) alongside fellow Academy Graduate Jamie Robson.
As the whistle blew for full-time, manager Robbie Neilson can be pleased with his team’s professional performance. Three goals, another clean sheet, outings for Chalmers and Mochrie and a chance to show there is more to United than just Lawrence Shankland.
Man of the Match - Plenty of contenders today for the Man of the Match award. McMullan was excellent in the first half, whilst Harkes and Butcher excelled. Louis Appéré gets today’s award though - full of running and enthusiasm and never gave up. He gave the Queens defence a torrid time.
Attendance - 7,675
Dundee United - Siegrist, L. Smith, Reynolds, McMullan (Mochrie 85 mins),Clark (C.Smith 72 mins),Stanton (Chalmers 78 mins),Robson, Butcher, Harkes, Appéré, Watson
Subs not used - Deniz, Sporle, Connolly, King,
Queen of the South - McCrorie, Mercer, Holt, Kilday (Semple 17 mins, Subbed later by McCarthy 58 mins),Brownlie, Pybus, Murray, Kidd, Oliver, Dobbie, Lyon,
Subs not used- Leighfield, Irving, Gourlay, Paton
Referee- William Collum
Queen of the South - Mercer 48 mins, Pybus 63 mins, Kidd 64 mins