1 - 3
League (Premier Division)
|Steve Pittman ()||
Brian Welsh (65)
Brian Welsh (79)
|Rod McDonald for Alex Taylor (60)||
Andy McLaren for Scott Crabbe (60)
Sérgio Gomes for Brian Welsh (89)
Gareth Evans (Bishopbriggs) (Referee)
This was crunch time in the relegation battle, because there is little doubt that defeat at Firhill would have been severely injurious to the club's chances of avoiding the drop. Anything less than victory against one of the relegation rivals would have meant a play-off place would have been the best that could have been hoped for. Thistle went into this six-pointer without a defeat in seven games, and unbeaten on their home ground since the end of October.
United meanwhile were without a win in seven outings and trying to put a halt to three straight defeats since the arrival of Billy Kirkwood. Dire straits demand desperate measures and the new manager elected to field Brian Welsh in the role of striker and this was a move which paid off handsomely as the make-shift striker scored twice in a resounding and deserved victory over Thistle.
From the very start the much changed United side, backed by a substantial and viceferous support, stamped their authority on the game. Playing neat possession football brought early reward when Dave Bowman, crossed from the right and David Hannah ran in to head the ball high into the net from 8 yards.
Having set their stall out to dictate play, that was exactly what we did virtually until the end of the game. So it came as a real body blow when Thistle, who scarcely threatened all night got back in the match with a goal from nowhere. There appeared no danger when Jim Mclnally headed a cross away, but it fell into the path of Steve Pittman who despatched a real screamer into the bottom corner from 35 yards!
It wasn't long, however, before United were back in command and at the start of the second half the pressure mounted on the Thistle goal. Twenty minutes into the second period, This told when a Thistle defender hooked the ball away from substitute Andy McLaren as he chased a through pass. The clearance was gathered by Billy McKintay on the edge of the box and he slipped it to Brian Welsh who cracked in a right shot on the turn from the edge of the box in true striker's style. The relief the goal brought was shown by the celebrations of United players and fans alike!
Thistle mustered their first spell of danger after this but apart from a Grant header and a dash from goal by Kelham O'Hanlon to clear, United never looked in danger. With eleven minutes left, any possible doubt about the outcome was removed when, Brian Welsh, who had looked far from out of place in his unfamiliar role, rose to head in a corner from Andy McLaren. Sergio replaced United's two goal striker who came off to a hero's welcome from the very vocal Tannadice support and they greeted the final whistle a minute later with even louder acclaim. The battle against relegation may not be over, but this was surely a big step in the right direction.
Kirkwood beamed, "That's a great result for us but there is still a lot of work to be done."
|Kelham O'Hanlon (GK)||32||30||-||30||-|
|Andy McLaren (sub)||21||20||-||78||4|
|Sérgio Gomes (sub)||25||14||4||14||4|
No league table has been added for this season.