2 - 1
Gary O'Connor (pen) (18)
Ivan Sproule (70)
Grant Brebner (14)
Derek Stillie .1
Garry Kenneth .18
Mark Wilson .2
Paul Ritchie .23
Peter Canero .6
Alan Archibald .5
Stuart Duff .12
Grant Brebner .8
Mark Kerr .7
Lee Miller .9
David Fernández .20
Craig Samson .17
David McCracken .3
Greg Cameron .26
David Robertson .25
Barry Robson .11
Jim McIntyre .10
Derek Riordan for Scott Brown (61)
Ivan Sproule for Dean Shiels (61)
Stephen Glass for Kevin Thomson (79)
Jim McIntyre for Peter Canero (75)
Barry Robson for Stuart Duff (81)
|Danny Murphy (57)||
Stuart Duff (34)
Mark Kerr (58)
Mark Wilson (76)
Paul Ritchie (85)
Alan Archibald (87)
Kenny Clark (Referee)
Hibs’ Ivan Sproule completed a fairy-tale fortnight by scoring the winner in an entertaining 90 minutes of football at Easter Road. United took an early lead and played some good football in the first forty-five minutes, but a strong second half showing by the home team was enough to earn them the points.
Unsurprisingly, Tony Mowbray made no changes to the 4-5-1 formation that recorded a 3 v 0 win at Ibrox a fortnight ago. That meant no starting spot for Sproule, scorer of all three goals against Rangers and part of Northern Ireland’s famous victory over England. United, lining up in 4-4-2, showed two changes following the home draw against Inverness. Peter Canero made his debut at left midfield and Stuart Duff came in at right midfield. Barry Robson dropped onto the bench and Collin Samuel missed out altogether through injury.
Hibs started brightly, and were unlucky not to get a penalty after twelve minutes when Michael Stewart appeared to be fouled by Mark Kerr in the box. Just two minutes later, and with their first real attack of the game, United took the lead. Fernandez cut inside his marker on the right of the box, looked up and picked out the late run of Brebner who coolly side-footed home from 12 yards, for his third league goal of the season. This seemed to settle United down and the lead was almost doubled on seventeen minutes. Fernandez again showed great composure to find Miller with a cross and his powerful close-range shot brought out a crucial save from Malkowski.
Immediately Hibs got the equaliser. Stuart Duff was harshly penalised for a foul on Stewart, and Garry O’Connor confidently dispatched the penalty high into the corner of the net. The remainder of the half was an even and open contest though some good defending meant chances were in the main limited to strikes from outside the box, other than one opportunity for Hogg who blazed a bouncing ball over from 8 yards.
Brown, Murphy and Smith all had shots from distance, but Stillie was never really tested in the United goal. His opposite number Malkowski was lucky to escape after he fumbled Archibald’s cross under pressure from Miller, then shortly before the break United were denied the lead by the linesman’s flag. Wilson’s corner was cleared only as far as Brebner, Malkowski fumbled the midfielder’s shot and Fernandez slotted home – but the celebrations were cut short by the off-side decision. Overall, the half-time score was a fair reflection on the game.
Hibs were once again quicker out of the starting blocks as the second half commenced. Shiels and Beuzelin had early efforts at goal from outside the box. Then O’Connor cut inside from the left and sent a curling right foot shot towards the far corner which Stillie did well to parry away. The Scotland striker then had an even better chance, getting on the end of a clever Beuzelin flick – but this time a left foot shot failed even to find the target. United appeared to have survived the storm – but a double substitution for Hibs would eventually make the difference, Sproule and Riordan coming off the bench for Shiels and Brown. United were fighting their way back into the game but two disappointing free-kicks from Lee Miller was as close as they got before Sproule gave the home side the lead after seventy minutes. His sheer pace took him clear of the United off-side trap and onto the end of O’Connor’s pass. The little forward sold a dummy to Stillie and coolly side-footed home from sixteen yards despite a despairing effort by Wilson to clear on the line. McIntyre replaced Canero, then Robson came on for Duff and United switched to 3-5-2 as they sought to get back into the game again. But if truth be told United never really were able to exert much pressure on the Hibs defence, though Fernandez and Miller had shots from distance. The best chance came in injury time when Paul Ritchie got on the end of a Wilson corner, but he headed wide from 6 yards.
|Derek Stillie (GK)||31||8||-||8||-|
|Barry Robson (sub)||26||7||-||81||11|
|Jim McIntyre (sub)||33||8||-||143||42|
No league table has been added for this season.