Championship Midweek Round-Up; April 17th 2018

There were three matches planned for Tuesday evening in the SPFL Ladbrokes Scottish Championship. Below is a summary of these matches:
Brechin City 0-5 Dundee United
It was a convincing win in the end for the Arabs, as five second-half goals rounded off a good week for the Tannadice side, which has kept their Premiership promotion hopes alive.
The game started off in quick-fire fashion with both sides having chances within the opening 5 minutes. Dylan Mackin fired wide for the hosts before Billy King knocked the ball over the bar for Csaba Laszlo’s side.
The next attempt came from Paul McMullan, with the former Celtic winger cutting inside and shooting but his effort across the keeper was saved by the experienced Graeme Smith in City’s goal.
Stewart Murdoch conceded a corner minutes later and that saw captain Paul McLean head over a good chance for Darren Dods’ side, as Brechin pushed for the opener. Dane, Thomas Mikkelsen headed towards goal shortly afterwards, but, it was straight at Smith.
With only 15 minutes gone, the hosts were dealt a blow as Jordan Sinclair was taken off injured, to be replaced by fellow midfielder, Finn Graham. This didn’t deter the Glebe Park outfit as Isaac Layne and then Callum Tapping tested Deniz Mehmet in the visiting net. The ex-West Ham United youth player was quickly on to both attempts, as the scoreline remained 0-0.
Mackin saw a shot blocked before the Tangerines created the next opportunity, with Sam Stanton firing wide from inside the area as the game ebbed and flowed. Billy King saw a shot well-defended by the stubborn Brechin backline before the influential McMullan picked up an injury, but, the winger was able to carry on with 33 minutes on the clock.
James Dale was next to see a shot denied before McMullan couldn’t hit the target with his effort. It was United’s turn to ramp up the pressure now as Mikkelsen’s right-footed effort was well-saved by Smith.
Grant Gillespie was the next to pick up a knock in this closely contested first-half, but, similarly to McMullan, picked himself up and carried on as the interval approached.
However, Hungarian manager Lazslo couldn’t call on the ex-Hamilton utility man after the break, with Gillespie unable to continue. Scott McDonald was the replacement – and the Aussie was to have a big say in the final 45 minutes of this encounter.
Brechin started the second-half in command with Mackin having another try at goal. This time, he was to smack the post within the opening 60 seconds of the restart, with the home side not getting the rub of the green on this occasion.
Just 6 minutes into the final period of this clash and the opener was scored. McMullan set up McDonald who latched onto the cross to fire Dundee United ahead, with the predatory striker notching his first of the evening from close-range to ease the pressure on the visiting club.
McMullan curled an effort wide of goal shortly afterwards, before, on-loan Livingston forward Mackin won a free-kick in a dangerous area. The flighted delivery found the target-man but his header couldn’t test Mehmet on this occasion.
Only one minute later and Lazslo’s men would punish their hosts for the numerous missed opportunities as his side struck again, this time through King. The clinical edge was becoming the difference as King latched onto McDonald’s pass to fire high into the top right-hand corner of the net to double the Arabs’ advantage.
With the hour mark having came and gone, away captain Willo Flood was next to have a dig at goal, but his attempt was straight at Smith. Then, Stanton almost got his name on the score-sheet but Smith was alert enough again to keep out the effort.
Mackin was causing the most hassle in the final third for the Angus club, as the striker headed another chance wide of goal before Mikkelsen got a header of his own in at the other end, only to be foiled once more by Smith. King was to win a corner soon after as he stung the palms of Smith who pushed the ball behind for the set-piece chance, which Brechin were able to deal with.
With just over 15 minutes remaining, both sides made their second substitutions of the evening: Callumn Morrison came on for Kalvin Orsi while Dutchman Jordie Briles replaced Flood in the centre of United’s midfield.
Scott Fraser then came on for McMullan in Lazslo’s final switch of the evening, but, before the playmaker had a chance to stretch his legs, the game was all over as McDonald scored his second of the game to confirm the three points were heading back to Tannadice. Another close-range finish after the Australian was set-up by Briels.
However, Fraser wasn’t to stay out of the match action for long, as McLean was penalised for a hand-ball. Up stepped the newly-introduced sub to sweep the ball home with a trademark free-kick to add insult to injury for the home side.
McDonald tried for his hat-trick as the away side continued to push forward for more goals. That made Dods bring on another defender, with Aaron Lynas replacing Dale to try shore up the backline of the hosts in the final few moments.
The former Cowdenbeath youngster conceded a corner, though, and from the resultant delivery by Fraser, a fifth was added. Bilel Mohsni grabbed his third goal in eight matches for Dundee United to round off a resounding second-half performance by the visiting club.
They didn’t let up as Stanton tried his luck from distance but it went wide as Craig Charleston blew his whistle for full-time. A confidence-boosting week for Dundee United ends with 9 points out of 9, heading into the final two fixtures of their Championship season knowing a promotion play-off spot is nearly secured. They now sit 3 points ahead of fourth placed Dunfermline Athletic but have a lower goal-difference than the Pars.
For Brechin, their winless run continues as they still search for their first victory in Scotland’s second-tier. With just two matches remaining, it looks as if they may end the season without picking up 3 points.
Attendance: 1,427
Dumbarton P-P Inverness Caledonian Thistle
This match was postponed after a 1.15pm pitch inspection, due to a waterlogged pitch at the Your Radio 103FM Stadium. The match will now be played tomorrow, Wednesday 18th April, 2018, with a 7.45pm kick off time.
St Mirren 1-2 Falkirk
Jack Ross changed his side up this evening as the Scottish Championship winners lost at home to Paul Hartley’s Falkirk, with the Bairns securing their place in the Scottish Championship for another season after picking up a vital 3 points in Paisley.
The first-half of this encounter was really poor with neither side possessing too much quality. The closest either side got to creating an opportunity was from set-pieces, with the Barns winning 4 corners within the first half-an-hour, but, nothing coming from any of them to note down.
On 37 minutes, finally, a shot was taken. Massimo Donati fouled Louis Longridge and that allowed Joe McKee to step up to rifle in a driven effort. Craig Samson wasn’t tested in the hosts goal, though, as the effort landed in the stand behind the goals.
Just like busses, when one comes along, so does another. Seconds later and Watford loanee Alex Jakubiak saw an effort go narrowly wide as his right-footed attempt went across goal but out for a goal-kick, only.
Then, on 40 minutes, the first save of the match occurred as Samson gathered a low effort by Jakubiak which was straight down the throat of the ex-Ayr United shot-stopper.
That was that, in a grim 45 minutes, particularly for the hosts. The champions were underwhelming while Falkirk struggled to make their mark despite creating the odd chance.
It was all change after the interval, though, as Ross’ side came out with a greater desire and hunger. Danny Mullen saw Robbie Thomson save his early headed effort from close-range as the Buddies began brighter.
Jakubiak saw an attempt blocked, before, 10 minutes into the second-half, Paul Watson fouled Mullen inside the area. Myles Hippolyte – having signed for the Paisley club from Paul Hartley’s side in January – stepped up to convert the penalty, sending the ball high into the right-hand corner, giving Thomson no chance, as he put his former club to the sword.
Kyle Magennis replaced Ian McShane just shy of the hour mark as Ross hoped some fresh legs in the final third would see his side build on the momentum Hippolyte’s goal had given the hosts.
It was Hippolyte again that caused all the trouble as he forced Thomson into a good stop before Mullen dragged an effort wide. Then, on 60 minutes, Thomson had to go off due to injury, with the keeper being replaced by teenager Conor Hazard.
Kevin O’Hara came on for Alex Harris, as well as Lewis Kidd replacing Aaron Muirhead; while, for the home side, Lewis Morgan replaced Mullen in attack.
Jack Baird’s header following a set-piece saw Hazard stop the shot well to keep Falkirk well-within the match as time ran out on the visitors making a comeback.
With 11 minutes remaining, Jakubiak couldn’t find the target once again as the away side pushed for the equaliser which would almost guarantee their status within the Championship next season.
Mark Hill saw a long-range strike blocked out by the Bairns defence before Gavin Reilly was replaced by Cammy Smith up-front. Then, the visitors got a life-line.
Having initially given away the penalty for the only goal of the game so far, Watson this time won a penalty of his own after tangling with Baird inside the area.
Kidd stepped up but Samson saved the spot-kick, diving low to the right to deny Falkirk from 12-yards. A corner was conceded by the goalie, but, he was to be beaten just a minute later.
McKee slammed the ball home on 83 minutes to draw the game level, with the away club knowing one more goal would safely see them retain their place within Scotland’s second-tier for next term. Magennis was denied by good defending before Morgan wildly shot over the bar late on.
However, in the dying seconds of injury time, Jakubiak set up Craig Sibbald who fired high into the net to send the away section of the Paisley2021 Stadium into raptures as the Buddies fell behind for the first time on the night.
It didn’t give the Saints much time to respond, with Alan Muir blowing for full-time: a game in which failed to deliver in terms of quality certainly shone with entertainment during the final 10 minutes of the match, as Falkirk battled their way back from a goal-down to survival.
Hartley’s side deservedly won the match with the visitors creating the clearer and the better opportunities. Ross will be disappointed as his side lost out on their penultimate home game of the season – a poor performance will add to the frustration of the ex-Alloa boss, who, despite having already won the league, will not be happy at the level his team showed on Tuesday evening.
Attendance: 3,761

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