Lochee United 3 Dundee North End 1

This meeting of two sides who are top of their respective divisions never really got going in this Thornton Property East Region League Cup tie until the second half. Blustery conditions at Thomson Park meant that good football was at a premium and, in fact, there were very few shots on target during the first 45.

Bryam Deasley and Lenny Ewing were missing from last week’s Scottish Junior Cup win over Gartcairn, with Garry Kenneth and Mark Stewart returning.

Dougie Cameron had Lochee’s first attempt, with a free kick that was well held by Dokens keeper Neal Ferrie.

The visitors came closest to opening the scoring when Gary Sutherland headed wide from a corner taken by Frankie Devine.

Jamie Reid fired one straight at Ferrie before Liam McArtney had North End’s first shot on target in the 36th minute.

Craig Smith was playing in a back three alongside Kenneth and James Thomson and the normally steady defender was caught out when he misjudged the run of the ball. McArtney crossed the ball into the Lochee box but Gary Sutherland was unable to connect.

A minute later Stewart was called into serious action to save a fierce effort from Ryan Rigden.

Five minutes from the break the Bluebells were reduced to 10 men when Connor Birse was sent off.

The striker appeared to dispute an offside decision then ignored the referee’s instructions to come towards him to be shown a yellow card. The ref’s patience ran out and he showed Birse a red card instead.

With no real striking option up front manager George Shields threw on former Doken Scott McComiskie at half time with Reid making way.

But it was the quick thinking Cameron who was to turn things Lochee’s way. When Reece Ritchie was fouled 25 yards out Cameron coolly lifted the free kick over the heads of the visiting defenders for RITCHIE to run on to the ball and lob it over the keeper and into the net.

North End tried to reply and Sutherland held off Kenneth and Thomson to fire in a shot that Stewart saved well.

On 56 minutes the 10 men struck again and Cameron was again the architect of the goal. His deep cross found Mc COMISKIE who headed home at the back post.

Again the Dokens tried to respond. A cross by Liam Gibb found Rigden and his header looked to be going in until Smith somehow hooked it away off the line.

On 67 minutes though, they did pull one back. RIGDEN’s shot came back off the underside of the bar and was pawed away by Stewart but the ref and lineswoman were in agreement that the ball had crossed the line.

North End began to smell blood now and Sutherland had a great chance to level things, but the striker was denied by the legs of a diving Stewart.

Lochee settled matters on 78 minutes though, when a move involving Scott Webster, Ritchie and Grant Lawson saw McCOMISKIE  pick the ball up 12 yards out and he drove the ball into the far corner.

A minute later Keiran McWalter made his comeback from injury when he came on for the impressive Ritchie.

This wasn’t a vintage performance from Lochee United by any means but to play for 50 minutes with only 10 men against a young, slick North End side, and still run out 3-1 winners says a lot for their character.

Lochee United: Stewart, Thomson, Kenneth, Smith, Webster, Ritchie (McWalter 79), Cameron, Lawson, McNally, Reid (McComiskie 46), Birse.

North End: Ferrie, Gibb, Sivewright (Sturrock 77) Ballantyne, Lunan, Archibald (Smith 83), McArtney, Pullar, Sutherland, Devine (Cameron 58), Rigden.

Written on 03 November 2018