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Sunday, 12 February 2012 23:36

United see off determined Livi to reach semis

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Dundee United Under 19s
Livingston FC Under 19s
Competition: SFA Youth Cup
Venue: Tannadice
Date: 12/02/2012
Author: Joe Birchenall

Dundee United ensured their progression in the SFA Youth Cup as they beat Livingston 4 – 2 at Tannadice. United found themselves a goal down at half time after Dean Cummings put Livingston in the lead, but rallied well and second half doubles from Ryan Ferguson and Robert Thomson victory despite a late consolation goal from Ross Docherty.

The opening exchanges were typically cagey as both teams looked to gain the upper hand. Livingston seemed the livelier and managed to link up well outside the United penalty box, Dylan Easton and Ross Brady threading some intricate passing through the Dundee backline which required the full attention of Ross Gilmour as the fullback covered.

It was Livingston who had the first shot of the game, Andrew Russell blasting a shot goalwards only to see his effort sail over the bar. United responded through Robert Thomson who waltzed past three opponents as he ran down the left flank but Con Donaldson was alert to the danger and cleared well. United threatened again moments later as Ryan Gauld fired a half volley into the side netting from a tight angle.

Dylan Easton was finding space and time on the ball as he played in the gap between the midfield and defence, the youngster looking particularly dangerous for Livingston. Easton was involved as Andrew Russell found the time for a shot but his shot was ably blocked by the Ross Gilmour.

Livingston were enjoying more time on the ball, but United forced the first save from either goalkeeper as Ryan Gauld’s stinging shot was parried well by Andrew Murphy. Too hot to handle from Gauld after he was released down the right wing.

Easton was involved again as Livingston attacked, the playmaker releasing Andrew Russell with a deft flick of his boot. Russell’s shot deflected wide but only just, Paddy Barrett clearing the resulting corner well. Barrett then almost inexplicably gifted Livingston the lead with a sloppy back pass, Andrew Russell intercepting the ball but unable to direct it past Phil Anderson in the United goal.

 The game continued to be very tight as the half time break beckoned, but on 40 minutes Dean Cummings found himself with the time and space to chest the ball down inside the United box. The young man showed great composure as he slotted it home, well and truly past the onrushing Anderson. The young man displaying great ability to control the awkwardly bouncing ball but United would be unhappy with having allowed him far too much time on the ball.

Cummings almost doubled the lead when a lackadaisical pass from Gilmour set him up for the strike, this time, however, the shot was just over the bar. The first half finished, without further incident, at 1 – 0 to Livingston.

Half Time: Dundee United 0 -1 Livingston FC
The first half was largely a tense and tight affair, as Cup football often is. Both teams had shown attacking intent and Livingston were deserving of their advantage. They had played the better football and Dylan Easton in particular had played very well. Dundee United had looked a little too eager to play the long ball and, in contrast, Livingston’s passing had served them well. United would be keen to create more chances, and to force a way back into the tie in the second half.

Straight after the restart Dundee United looked to have upped to tempo dramatically. Robert Thomson found an early opening in the first minute but the young man was unable to direct his effort on target. United weren’t left ruing the miss for too long though, as mere seconds later Ryan Ferguson coolly swept the ball beyond Andrew Murphy, who had no chance. Similar to Cummings’ goal in that the defence would have been disappointed by the time on the ball allowed to the scorer.

Dundee United had stormed out of the blocks after half time and continued to apply pressure all over the pitch. With United having closed off his options, Conner McDonald was forced to play a cross field ball that Robert Thomson intercepted and with two touches had controlled and set himself for a shot. He allowed himself a quick look up to check his bearings before unleashing a thunderous strike that fizzed off the grass and straight into the bottom right corner. A great strike which, looking back, was arguably the highlight of the game. 2 -1 to Dundee United inside ten minutes.

Smelling blood, Dundee continued to push and had a strong appeal for handball turned down by the referee. The decision coming seconds after the referee had given a free kick for the same infringement, perhaps not clear cut enough for a penalty.

Gilmour took advantage of his teams dominance as the right back ventured forward with weaving run winning his team a corner. The resulting set piece was cleared off the line hastily as Livingston tried to hold on. Unfortunately, the ball fell, on the edge of their box, to Ryan Ferguson who adjusted his feet quickly to half volley the ball between Murphy’s legs and into the back of the net. The goalkeeper looked unsighted as the ball came at him through a crowded penalty box, but the technique from Ferguson was of a high order as he gave his side a two goal advantage and scored his second of the afternoon.

Within minutes of the restart United were at it again, as a delightful square ball found Robert Thomson down the left flank. Thomson cut inside his man before darting to the touchline and dragging a right footed shot between the legs of Murphy at his near post. Whilst Murphy may have been unsighted for the first shot that crept through his legs, this time he could have little to complain about and should have done better. 4 – 1 to Dundee United.  

Eager to try and get back into the tie, Livingston needed to respond quickly and to their credit did so almost straight from the restart. Some neat passing around the United penalty box on the 75th minute found Ross Docherty with a sight of goal, the player setting himself before hammering the ball past Anderson. A strong finish from the young man, who gave the keeper no chance with his driven shot to the bottom right hand corner of the goal.

At 4 – 2, and with fifteen minutes to play Livingston still needed another goal to worry United and Cummings looked like he may be the man to upset the tie as he forced Anderson into a great save with a rasping shot from the edge of the box. Substitute Michael Scott also troubling as his jinking run ended with a low cross that Ryan Gandie almost put in his own net, his clearance just floating over the bar. United were holding on to their lead well and one last corner was cleared before the referee brought the game to an end, Dundee United triumphing 4 – 2.

A tight game throughout that was eventually won by United’s ability to convert chances. Livingston were better in the first half and United showed resilience to dig deep when needed, a great finish from Thomson sent them on their way and they never really looked back. United tighten up defensively and stopped key players performing to their potential, whilst simultaneously creating more chances and pressing higher up the pitch. An entertaining game of football, graced with a fusion of skill, trickery and commitment. Dundee United will hope they carry their form into their next game and Livingston will feel a little unlucky as on another day they could have been luckier.

Full Time: Dundee United 4 - 2 Livingston
Dundee United Under 19s
Livingston Under 19s
1. Phil Anderson
2. Ross Gilmour
3. Gregg White
4. Darren Petrie
5. Ryan Gandie
6. Paddy Barrett
7. Ryan Ferguson
8. Scott Smith
9. Glenn Hawe
10.Ryan Gauld
11. Robert Thomson
GK. Dean Easton
12. John Soutar
14. Craig Bell
15. James Thomson
16. Kerr Hay
1. Andrew Murphy
2. Bryce Naples
3. Connor McDonald
4. Con Donaldson
5. Michael Travis
6. Ross Docherty
7. Jack Beaumont
8. Dean Cummings
9. Andrew Russell
10. Dylan Easton
11. Ross Brady
12. David Aiken
13. Michael Scott
14. Frazer Galloway
15. Ham Gray
18. Mark Hurst 
Givova are an Italian sportswear brand (click here to see range) who cover all tiers of the game, from Serie A's Chievo Verona and Catania, to grass roots. They have hit Scotland so look out for YFS team members in their Givova kit at your game!
Givova UK Man of the Match: Robert Thomson
Givova UK Man of the Match: Andrew Russell
Last modified on Sunday, 04 August 2013 16:08
Joe Birchenall

Joe Birchenall | YFS East Region Journalist
Author's Bio | Articles by Author | [email protected]

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