McPake earns derby draw for Dundee
A last-gasp equaliser from Dundee defender James McPake gave Paul Hartley’s side a 2-2 draw in a thrilling Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership derby at Dundee United.
Blair Spittal’s second-half double looked like giving United victory in the first City of Discovery derby of the new season prior to Greg Stewart’s 81st-minute goal which gave the Dark Blues hope.
But McPake pounced deep in stoppage time when United goalkeeper Luis Zwick could only parry Gary Harkin’s long-range effort to prove an unlikely hero for the visitors after 19-year-old Spittal had struck twice on 65 and 67 minutes.
Dundee had last won at Tannadice in November 2004, so there was no lack of incentive for them to change that sorry sequence.
It was frantic start as the Dark Blues were forced to bring on Thomas Konrad in place of Spanish defender Julen Etxabeguren, who went off nursing a gash to his head as early as the ninth minute.
On 10 minutes, Dundee defender Paul McGinn had a snap-shot from the edge of the penalty area which was saved by United’s German keeper Zwick.
From the rebound, Nick Ross looked odds-on to open the scoring but his follow-up effort went straight at Zwick.
Then, on 16 minutes, Rory Loy had a shot from the edge of the penalty area but again Zwick was equal to the task between the sticks.
Dundee were on top and in the 19th minute they came close to making the breakthrough.
Gary Harkins rolled a pass to nearby McGinn who, in turn, cut in before angling a cross-cum-shot into the box. Zwick decided just to let it go but the ball almost crept in at the far post, leaving the hosts relieved to see it go wide.
Dundee continued to attack at every opportunity and towards the end of the first half Kevin Holt released Kane Hemmings down the left, and his cross just eluded Roy at the far post.
They threatened to take the lead again a minute before the interval when Stewart’s shot was parried by Zwick, and Loy thundered the rebound narrowly wide of the far post.
United began to look like a different team after the break and midfielder John Rankin let fly from 30 yards to bring out a decent save from Scott Bain who dived low to his left to parry the effort wide.
It was no surprise, though, when the Tangerines took the lead in style on 65 minutes.
Darko Bodul combined with Rankin to allow Spittal to side-step Dundee defender McPake, before planting a superb finish past a helpless Bain from the edge of the area.
And, two minutes later, Spittal made it 2-0 by latching onto substitute Chris Erskine’s measured through-ball to apply a fine finish past Bain.
Spittal nearly completed his hat-trick on 76 minutes but saw his curling free-kick tipped wide by Bain.
Stewart gave the visitors hope with nine minutes left as his curling shot from the edge of the area nestled in Zwick’s far top corner.
United substitute Simon Murray then saw his stoppage-time effort deflected by Bain onto the bar, before McPake had the final word at the other end.
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