A counterattacking United secured a point against a physical Kilmarnock in a full-blooded 1-1 draw.
The home side showed their desperation for a win from kick off, launching a ball into United’s defensive third and attempting to flood the area with blue-clad bodies. Responding to, matching and overcoming this frantic aggression, would be United’s task across the piece.
Despite the pressure, it was United with the first real chance on goal. A customary lightning break found Shankland at the edge of the area, his snapshot hitting the outside of the post.
Kilmarnock had the bulk of control, possession and aggression for the opening nearly 20 minutes. Roared on by the booming Wright on the touchline, the Ayrshire side pressured and probed, at times driving through the middle, at times swinging in balls from wide. Kyle Lafferty latched on to a ball in the United area and thundered a strike into the crossbar. Both the woodwork and United’s supporters’ knees quivered at the venom of the strike.
United countered through the tenacious Ian Harkes, the American driving dozens of yards forward. He seemed swamped by home defenders at the edge of their area, but managed to slip a ball out to an advancing Spörle. The Argentine captured the ball and struck it almost in the same breath. The ball deflected beyond the stranded goalie and into the net. The Terrors were a goal to the good on 19 minutes.
The goal infused the United men with a new fury, and for the rest of the first half every challenge, every half chance of a break, every blow of the referee’s whistle was met with uniform aggression. Kilmarnock continued in their full-blooded approach and the game for a time became a real slugging match, both teams punching efforts goalward and slinging pacy counter attacks.
Spörle unfortunately had to be substituted after only half an hour with an ankle knock. The goalscorer was replaced by Our Academy Graduate Louis Appéré.
Kyle Lafferty provided the next big threat on the United goal and it took a pair of saves from the Swiss sensation to keep his side ahead. A free kick about 25 yards out presented the former Rangers and Hearts striker a chance to go for goal. His effort bent over the wall and big Benji had to stretch to block it. A Killie player stole into the box and powered the rebound goalward. A stunning second save from Siegrist kept the slender lead.
The half time break provided a welcome respite for the Terrors.
Kilmarnock started the second half with redoubled desire, and spent the next ten minutes hammering on the United door. It was a full team effort to keep them out, with midfield battlers Fuchs and Butcher involved in a running skirmish with their opposite numbers, and Benji forced into yet another notable save from a thunderous Zech Medley strike.
Fuchs, on a yellow card, was relieved by Connolly on the hour, with United switching to three at the back.
Kilmarnock got their goal on 64 minutes. A backpost corner found the feet of Zech Medley, who tucked the ball past Siegrist. United were decreasingly unable to catch their breath under the suffocating attention of the home team, and much of the next twenty minutes was played up and around the United final third.
United had incredible chances to win the game. Robson burst past his man down the left flank and played a superb ball in to the waiting McNulty. The loanee’s strike was saved by Doyle in the Killie goal. Lawrence Shankland was presented with a one on one as the last of the 90 minutes expired, but he failed to lift the ball above Doyle.
Despite all the control Kilmarnock had enjoyed, it will be the Tangerines with more to lament from this draw away from home.
DUNDEE UNITED: Siegrist, L.Smith, Spörle, Reynolds, McNulty, Edwards, Robson (AG), Butcher, Harkes, Shankland, Fuchs
Subs: Deniz, Connolly, Clark, Hoti, Chalmers (AG), Bolton, Appéré (AG), Neilson (AG), K.Smith (AG)
KILMARNOCK: Doyle, Millen, Broadfoot, Medley, Haunstrup, Power, Dicker (C), McKenzie, Pinnock, Kiltie, Lafferty. SUBS: Rogers, McGoqwan, Ibsen Rossie, Waters, Mulumbu, Tshibola, Burke, Kabamba, Oakley