Scottish Premiership - Play-off Quarter-final - 2nd Leg
Dundee Utd2Dunfermline1

Dundee United 2-1 Dunfermline (agg 2-1)

Sam Stanton scores for Dundee United against Dunfermline
Sam Stanton's goal kept Dundee United's promotion bid on course

Dundee United came from behind to beat Dunfermline and reach the Scottish Premiership play-off semi-final, where they will play Livingston.

With the sides drawing 0-0 on Tuesday, Declan McManus's close-range finish put the Pars in front on aggregate.

McManus missed a chance to double the visitors' lead before the break.

The hosts - relegated in 2016 - levelled through Scott McDonald and Sam Stanton fired the winner after driving at the Pars defence.

Livi finished as Championship runners-up and will visit Tannadice on Monday, with the return at the Tony Macaroni Arena next Friday. The Premiership's second bottom side will face the semi-final winner in the final.

Dunfermline, having finished behind United in the Championship, will remain in the second tier for next season.

Allan Johnston promised pre-match that his Pars side would not sit back and would look to take the game to United and his team proved their manager right by doing precisely that.

Fraser Aird on the left and Kallum Higginbotham on the right supplied the width and looked the likely source of trouble for the home side and so it proved to be. Aird worked free on the left flank and supplied a powerful low cross that was neatly flicked in by McManus.

Declan McManus celebrates after scoring for Dunfermline against Dundee United
McManus scored his first goal since January to put Dunfermline in front

Dunfermline dominated the first half as United struggled to find a way to link up, with Lee Robinson in the visitors' goal having nothing more than mundane tasks to complete.

In the opposite goal, Deniz Mehmet had the opposite problem as United fought to keep Dunfermline at bay with chances falling to Clark and McManus.

McManus found himself onside after 35 minutes but chose to check along the line before progressing clean in on goal. His hesitation allowed Mehmet to close the angle and save the striker's effort, leaving Aird, who had run in support of McManus, frustrated at the lack of a pass to allow him to score. It would prove to be a pivotal moment in the match.

Home manager Csaba Laszlo introduced Thomas Mikkelsen in place of Paul McMullan at the break and the Danish striker played a crucial role in the leveller.

A Billy King corner was met by Mikkelsen and it looked like Robinson would gather but McDonald nipped in to steer the ball beyond the goalkeeper.

Scott McDonald celebrates
McDonald's goal was his 16th of the season

Mehmet appeared to injure himself celebrating the equaliser and he stayed on only for a few more minutes. His replacement Harry Lewis then produced a great save from a McManus header.

The winner came when Stanton worked a one-two as he advanced on goal, got the break of the ball inside the box and calmly finished.

Dunfermline threw on Jean-Yves Mvoto and Joe Cardle but they could not find a way back as United held on to their precious lead.

Post-match reaction

Dundee United manager Csaba Laszlo: "We had to change tactically. In the second half, we changed. My team showed character.

"Deniz Mehmet, he saved fantastically. If you go 2-0 down in the first half, definitely you don't talk so easily about this game.

"Dunfermline were a fair opponent and a very hard one. The next two games against Livingston, it will be very difficult."

Dunfermline manager Allan Johnston: "I think it's a bit harsh on the boys, they gave everything and were so unlucky not to score more goals. We had four really good chances where you are expecting to score.

"We have let in two poor goals as well when we were in total control. It looked at 1-0 in the second half that they had gone, they could have played all night and not scored, but we gave them a massive lift with the goal from the corner.

"Stanton actually miscontrols it when he goes through, and sometimes you need a bit of luck."

Line-ups

Dundee Utd

  • 21MehmetSubstituted forLewisat 64'minutes
  • 29Ralston
  • 2Murdoch
  • 91Mohsni
  • 17Robson
  • 16Flood
  • 12Stanton
  • 11KingSubstituted forDurnanat 90'minutes
  • 10Fraser
  • 7McMullanSubstituted forMikkelsenat 45'minutes
  • 8McDonald

Substitutes

  • 4Durnan
  • 9Mikkelsen
  • 14Edjenguele
  • 15Slater
  • 24Gillespie
  • 25Lewis
  • 28Smith

Dunfermline

  • 25Robinson
  • 2Williamson
  • 5Morris
  • 6Ashcroft
  • 3Martin
  • 7HigginbothamSubstituted forMvotoat 74'minutes
  • 26Vincent
  • 28CraigenSubstituted forCardleat 84'minutes
  • 17Aird
  • 9McManus
  • 10Clark

Substitutes

  • 4Mvoto
  • 8Wedderburn
  • 11Cardle
  • 12Armstrong
  • 14Talbot
  • 15Paton
  • 20Gill
Referee:
William Collum
Attendance:
7,994

Match Stats

Home TeamDundee UtdAway TeamDunfermline
Possession
Home51%
Away49%
Shots
Home9
Away9
Shots on Target
Home3
Away4
Corners
Home7
Away4
Fouls
Home12
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Dundee United 2, Dunfermline Athletic 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Dundee United 2, Dunfermline Athletic 1.

Scott Fraser (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Fraser Aird (Dunfermline Athletic).

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee United. Mark Durnan replaces Billy King.

Attempt blocked. Declan McManus (Dunfermline Athletic) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Lee Robinson.

Substitution

Substitution, Dunfermline Athletic. Joe Cardle replaces James Craigen.

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Ryan Williamson.

Foul by Billy King (Dundee United).

Ryan Williamson (Dunfermline Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Scott Fraser (Dundee United) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Foul by Scott McDonald (Dundee United).

James Vincent (Dunfermline Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Thomas Mikkelsen (Dundee United).

Ryan Williamson (Dunfermline Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Dunfermline Athletic. Jean-Yves Mvoto replaces Kallum Higginbotham.

Goal!

Goal! Dundee United 2, Dunfermline Athletic 1. Samuel Stanton (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal.

Attempt missed. Stewart Murdoch (Dundee United) header from the centre of the box is too high.

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Ryan Williamson.

Foul by Anthony Ralston (Dundee United).

Fraser Aird (Dunfermline Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Dunfermline Athletic. Conceded by Harry Lewis.

Attempt saved. Nicky Clark (Dunfermline Athletic) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

Corner, Dunfermline Athletic. Conceded by Jamie Robson.

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee United. Harry Lewis replaces Deniz Dogan Mehmet because of an injury.

Foul by Bilel Mohsni (Dundee United).

James Craigen (Dunfermline Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Goal!

Goal! Dundee United 1, Dunfermline Athletic 1. Scott McDonald (Dundee United) right footed shot from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Thomas Mikkelsen following a corner.

Corner, Dundee United. Conceded by Lewis Martin.

Samuel Stanton (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Nicky Clark (Dunfermline Athletic).

Attempt missed. Nicky Clark (Dunfermline Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left.

Attempt saved. Nicky Clark (Dunfermline Athletic) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal.

Samuel Stanton (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by James Vincent (Dunfermline Athletic).

Substitution

Substitution, Dundee United. Thomas Mikkelsen replaces Paul McMullan because of an injury.

Second Half

Second Half begins Dundee United 0, Dunfermline Athletic 1.

Half Time

First Half ends, Dundee United 0, Dunfermline Athletic 1.

Nicky Clark (Dunfermline Athletic) hits the bar with a header from the centre of the box.

goal