Dundee United produce comeback against Partick
RELEGATED Dundee United gave their home fans some degree of solace in the last Ladbrokes Premiership match at Tannadice for at least a season as they came from two goals down with four minutes left to draw 3-3 with Partick Thistle.
Thistle took control with first-half goals from Freddie Frans and Kris Doolan, and a Ryan Edwards header looked to have sealed the points after Liam Lindsay's own goal. But Edward Ofere and substitute Justin Johnson fired home in the closing stages. John Rankin captained United in his final home game in tangerine but caretaker boss Gordon Young gave a nod to the future with debuts for teenagers Harry Souttar and Matthew Smith.
United remain a club in a state of flux and several dozen fans demonstrated against Stephen Thompson outside the ground. But the chairman's main concern will be his anxious wait for an answer from number-one managerial target Ray McKinnon following talks between the pair on Monday morning.
Thistle came to Tannadice grieving for kit man Ricky Roughan, who died on the morning of the game after being taken ill overnight. The 65-year-old had been with the club for a quarter of a century. His final game had proved a celebration, when Thistle secured their top-flight status with a win at Kilmarnock on Saturday, and there was a round of applause from home and away fans in the 65th minute to mark his life.
With full-backs Callum Booth, Mustapha Dumbuya and Gary Miller absent, Thistle were short of numbers on the bench, but their stand-in full-backs combined for a sixth-minute opener. Teenager James Penrice marked his debut by swinging in a corner for Frans to powerfully head home.
United had chances to level. Billy McKay headed inches wide and had a 25-yard strike pushed away by Ryan Scully, and Simon Murray fired just past the far post after beating two men. But United were undone in the 34th minute by the sort of poor defending that has undermined their season.
Sean Dillon made a mess of clearing a Steven Lawless ball forward and it fell for Doolan, who rounded Eiji Kawashima and rolled home for his fourth goal in as many games. Ofere missed a good chance before the break when he sliced well wide from 18 yards.
Smith lit up the opening moments of the second half with two penetrating runs, one which ended with Murray having a shot deflected past before the 19-year-old shot inches wide himself. United pushed Thistle back but needed a spot of luck to get back in the game in the 67th minute when Scott Fraser's corner bounced off Lindsay's thigh and nestled in the net.
Ofere made a complete mess of an attempted finish after great play from Smith and Thistle restored their two-goal lead in the 76th minute when Edwards nodded home from close range after Mathias Pogba crossed from the right. Kawashima produced an acrobatic stop from Kevin Nisbet before Ofere finally found his range in the 86th minute, drilling home from 16 yards for his third goal in as many matches.
Rankin was taken off in the closing stages to give the United fans the chance to salute the departing midfielder but there was an even bigger cheer in injury-time when Johnson fired home from the edge of the box.
Dundee Utd: Kawashima, Knoyle, Soutar, Dillon, Dixon, Matthew Smith (Brad Smith 78), Rankin (Ballantyne 88), Fraser, Murray, McKay (Johnson 63), Ofere; Subs Not Used: Durnan, Donaldson, Zwick;
Booked: Fraser, Ofere; Goals: Lindsay 67 og, Ofere 86, Johnson 90.
Partick: Scully, Frans, Lindsay, Seaborne, Penrice, Wilson (Nesbitt 68), Welsh, Amoo (Nisbet 83), Edwards, Lawless, Doolan (Pogba 73); Subs Not Used: Leyden, Gallacher; Booked: Penrice; Goals: Frans 6, Doolan 34, Edwards 76.
Ref: C Thomson (Scotland).