2 - 0
Robbie Feeney for Greg Cameron
Kieran McAleenan for Trialist
Dean Hill (Referee)
A young United side took to Canniepairt tonight to play an experienced Tayport side as Dave Bowman gave his charges a stiff test in their pre-season build up. Although he may have been disappointed by the result, the Junior Cup holders certainly tested the mettle of a United side that was aged from 16 to 21 years. Manager Gordon Chisholm was joined by his assistant Billy Dodds and 1st team coach Tony Docherty to monitor the youngsters, some of whom will be hoping to break into the first team squad this season.
In a bizarre twist to the kick-off, the referee seemed to be unhappy with United’s choice of ball, apparently the new SPL ball was not to his liking . This was merely a taster of what was to come later on in the evening.
Both sides took time to settle into any rhythm on the dry and bumpy surface which made control nigh on impossible at times. Tayport settled quickest and in 10 minutes took the lead. United conceded possession easily in the midfield and, as the ball was played long to Henderson in the inside right position, he controlled the ball with his hand. Whilst the United defence screamed for a foul, he drilled the ball low into the net past McLean. Loud protests went unheard by the referee.
The early setback obviously unsettled the United side and Tayport continued to have the upper hand. McLean was forced into a brilliant one handed save after a header from a free kick on the left and made a confident catch when the ball was returned across the face of his goal.
It was some 20 minutes into the half when United created their first chance but Goodwillie was unable to capitalise on a long ball through the middle. As the team settled into a rhythm again, Gardiner had a shot from distance well saved by the Tayport keeper after a short free kick. United were still well in contention against their more experienced opponents and Robertson had the ball in the net just after the half hour but had been clearly offside.
Tayport won a corner when the referee adjudged that McLean had made another fine save when most other onlookers thought he hadn’t touched the ball. The half ended with another bizarre incident when United had two players down requiring treatment with play continuing on around them.
United keeper Euan McLean was tested early in the half when a shot came through a ruck of players in the box, the big keeper again held the ball well.
United continued to ask questions of the Tayport defence and there were claims for a penalty when Goodwillie appeared to be bundled over in the box but the referee saw nothing wrong with the challenge.
Disaster was about to strike at the other end though. McLean had done well to put off an onrushing striker who played the ball over his head but when Abbot and Kenneth confused each other as they tried to clear the ball, a Tayport foot poked the ball over the line past McLean.
The experienced Tayport side then went about stifling the game making good use of the rolling substitutions allowed. United still continued to give a good account of themselves and refused to lie down. Feeney replaced Cameron before McAleenan took the place of the Australian trialist as refereeing decisions began to rile the home side and supporters.
The Tayport keeper was forced to block a Holmes effort with his feet after a superb through ball by Goodwillie and then the two substitutes combined well with McAleenan sending over a good cross from the left which led to Feeney’s effort being blocked by a packed defence. Robertson tested the Tayport goalie once again from the edge of the box before time was called.
No league table has been added for this season.