There can be no complaints. United were the better side and deserved to win. We were very poor, looked shaky at the back and offered little up front. It was a worrying performance to say the least.
With various players cup tied and suspended it wasn’t a surprise to see Eric Djemba-Djemba start. Kenny McLean and Paul McGowan were also back in as John McGinn, Gregg Wylde and Josh Magennis also missed out. Slightly more surprising was Gary Teale appearing on the bench after being out for several months.
Steven Thompson shot straight at Radosław Cierzniak in the first couple of minutes but it was a rare foray forward as United took control. Marian Kello saved from Stuart Armstrong before the midfielder shot wide when he should have done better. It therefore wasn’t a surprise when United went in front, Nadir Ciftci getting to the byline before crossing and Ryan Gauld arrived ahead of Sean Kelly to force the ball home.
What was rather more unexpected was us equalising five minutes later. McLean burst into the box and went down under contract from either Paul Paton or Mark Wilson, ref Craig Thomson pointing straight to the spot. It looked a little soft but McLean didn’t care, sending Cierzniak the wrong way from to level the scores.
Sadly, that didn’t seem to spark us into action. John Rankin and Armstrong both shot wide before Kello saved well from Gary Mackay-Steven and topped that with a stunning stop from a Ciftci header as United countered. Our best attack saw Jason Naismith’s ball across goal just out of reach of Thompson but we managed to hold out to the break.
The second half couldn’t have got off to a worse start, Armstrong’s shot being deflected behind for a corner we struggled to defend. We were all over the place at the next one too, allowing Mackay-Steven to cross it back in for Ciftci and this time there was nothing Kello could do as the striker headed in from close range. We still struggled to get hold of the ball, Kello denying Andrew Robertson next.
We weren’t doing much attacking, McLean’s shot posing no problems before Thompson headed over. Instead a goal looked more likely at the other end, Kello tipping Gauld’s fine shot over before he gathered Ciftci’s attempted lob. Teale replaced Djemba-Djemba and we had a brief flurry. McLean was flattened before Goodwin put the free-kick into the wall, then Teale’s free-kick found Thompson but Cierzniak beat it away.
Darren McGregor did shoot into the side netting late on but that was as close as we could get, Kello saving from Ryan Dow before the end. Overall it was a pretty poor display and rather frustrating considering the cup is wide open.
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