Kilmarnock 2 v Dundee Utd 4

Kilmarnock 2 v Dundee Utd 4

in Match Reports May 14, 2016

Kilmarnock 2 Dundee Utd 4

Alan Cochrane @ Rugby Park

A much changed Kilmarnock team appeared on the team sheets before this game, which had all the reporters trying to fathom what the line up would be, and who would play where. Senior players were obviously being rested, and saved from picking up yellow or red cards which could have affected who could play in the two games to come against Falkirk. During the game, with Balatoni and Hodson getting booked, they, along with Higginbotham, were substituted just after the hour mark, and Kilmarnock went from being 2-1 ahead, to losing 2-4.

Killie had gone behind after 12 minutes when an unmarked Mark Durnan headed past Jamie MacDonald from a Scott Fraser corner. That was despite a bright start from the home side, with Tope Obadeyi heading over from a Henshall cross, but Killie equalised with Kallum Higginbotham prodding the ball into the net when Luis Zwick couldn't hold a fierce Slater shot. Kilmarnock kept up the pressure and took the lead eight minutes later. Higginbotham released Obadeyi with a slide rule pass, and after one touch, he chipped over the on rushing keeper, to give the home side a half time advantage.

For the first quarter of an hour after the interval, Kilmarnock simply soaked up some United pressure, before breaking upfield only for an Obadeyi chance to be blocked, and Higginbotham shooting past the post when he would have expected to hit the target. Two minutes later, Alex Henshall had a storming run up the left, finishing with a thunderous shot which came back off the post, and Craig Slater following up couldn't direct the rebound.

After Lee Clark made those necessary substitutions, Dundee United took swift advantage. Within the space of five minutes Simon Murray ran through a hole in the defence to drive in the equaliser, then the same player picked up a poor back pass and fired the visitors ahead. Killie were still going forward, with Frizzell having a shot blocked away for a corner, and Slater having a shot saved, but Souttar put a gloss on the score line for United with a header, four minutes from time.

Lee Clark’s comments after the game were interesting. “ The substitutions I had to make made it disjointed, but I had to make those decisions. I wanted to give the senior players a complete rest, and if I had the players, I wouldn't even have had Kiltie and Dicker on the bench, but like every game, I hate to lose. Playing a left back at right back isn't ideal, but Greg Taylor at left back had an excellent debut. All that matters now is Thursday and Sunday, and the players know what they have to do.”

Kilmarnock: MacDonald, McKenzie, Henshall, Higginbotham (McHattie), Obadeyi, Ashcroft, Slater, Balatoni (Clark), Hodson (Faubert), Taylor, Frizzell

Dundee Utd: Zwick, Dixon, Rankin, Ofere, Knoyle, Murray, Durnan (Souttar), Fraser, Donaldson, Johnson (Ballantyne), M Smith (B Smith)

Referee: Bobby Madden