Aaron Duke’s strike in the second half earned a point for ten man Dundee United in their SPFL Development League Fixture against neighbours Dundee after the Dark Blues had already taken the lead from the penalty spot early in the contest held at Links Park, Montrose.
Both sides came into the opening match of the campaign looking to improve on last season’s mid-table finishes, remarkably the two Dundee clubs secured the same number of wins and draws with only Dundee United’s superior goal difference ensuring they finished one place above Dundee in 10th. Included in the squad for Dundee were a number of players who featured against English Premier League side Everton in a pre-season friendly, with Andrew Black, Cameron Kerr, Calvin Colquhoun and Dylan Carreiro all involved in the previous week's match. Dundee United included one trialist and goalkeeper Marc McCallum, who was in the match day squad for the visit of Aberdeen to Tannadice.
It was the home side who settled quickly with some intricate one-touch passing reminiscent of the senior side’s impressive 4-0 victory over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park. The movement was to play dividends on six minutes, Carreiro fashioned a shooting opportunity which deflected into the path of Josh Skelly who won a penalty after reaching the loose ball ahead of McCallum. It was Skelly himself who stepped up to stroke the ball past the keeper to open the scoring on Derby day.
Buoyed after taking the lead, Dundee continued to put pressure on the United defence and Skelly was unfortunate not to connect to Kerr’s delivery across the face of goal. As the half progressed Dundee United managed to gain a foothold in the contest and Kyle Gourlay in the Dundee goal had to look lively to collect a looping cross delivered by the United trialist.
Skelly continued to be heavily involved in Dundee’s search for a second of the night, drilling a ball in front of goal which went just beyond the onrushing Sam Dryden and chipping an effort which landed on the roof of the net after controlling Kerr’s through- ball.
Following the chances for the home side, United were almost rewarded for a period of sustained possession with a good run by Matty Smith leading to an effort which drifted over the bar. Dundee responded through Ryan Gemmel’s shot which finished wide following good link up play with Australian Jesse Curren.