May 11, 2013
Revenge is sweet for Killie
Kilmarnock gained revenge over relegated Dundee for denying them a top-six place as they won 3-2 to hand new Dens boss John Brown just his third defeat since taking over.
Brown replaced Barry Smith in late February and almost masterminded a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of the league's bottom club.
A three-game winning run - which started with a 2-1 win at Rugby Park last month, ending Killie's hopes of ending the season in the top half of the table - was not enough to save them from relegation, however, as a draw with Aberdeen last Sunday sent them down.
And there was fresh pain for Brown's side as Kilmarnock struck three times in Tayside through Rory McKenzie, Chris Johnston and Sammy Clingan to secure vengeance for their wrecked top-six ambitions.
Ryan Conroy had cancelled out McKenzie's fourth-minute opener within a quarter of an hour of that early breakthrough but Killie stretched in front again before Mark Stewart added a late consolation for the hosts eight minutes from time.
The visitors were quick out of the traps as they grabbed their first goal with their first real attack.
McKenzie was allowed to pick up the ball 35 yards from danger and burst past three challenges before leaving Lewis Toshney flat on his back after a clever turn. The run was impressive, but the finish even better as the 19-year-old angled a low left-foot shot into the corner of the net.
If losing that early strike was a blow to the Dens Park side, they didn't let it show and were soon on the front foot.
A decent chance for Toshney, who pulled his effort wide when clean through on Cammy Bell in the Killie goal, and a high shot over the bar by John Baird were just warning signs that Killie failed to heed.
The Ayrshiremen allowed Baird and Gary Irvine to combine to put the latter in a crossing position and his low cut-back left Conroy free to ram the ball into the roof of the net from point-blank range after 19 minutes.
A second should have arrived after 32 minutes as Baird kept himself onside before nipping in behind Killie left-back Jeroen Tesselaar and picking out Gary Harkins beyond the back post. The angle was against the former Rugby Park playmaker, though, and he put the ball into the side netting.
Killie had stagnated following their bright opening as Kris Boyd was starved of service up front, not that the former Scotland frontman did much with the ball he did receive.
That looked to have changed five minutes into the second half as the SPL's record scorer turned Declan Gallagher before rolling the ball home but referee Euan Norris pulled him back for a foul on the defender.
Only teenage winger Johnston had shown any menace for the away team with his driving runs down the left proving difficult to handle for Kyle Benedictus in the Dark Blues' left-back slot. The defender had to use his strength in the 53rd minute to hold off the threat from the 18-year-old, although visiting boss Kenny Shiels' appeals for a penalty following the incident were overly optimistic.
But the Killie youngster's talents would not be suppressed as he struck just before the hour-mark.
Again collecting the ball wide on the left, Johnston darted inside and fired off a right-foot shot. The ball broke off Irvine's leg but fell straight back to the Kilmarnock player and he made no mistake with his second effort, sending the ball into the net off the base of Steve Simonsen's left-hand post.
The was almost more cause for upset for the English stopper when he kicked at fresh air from Benedictus' back pass. He was spared humiliation, however, when the ball trickled wide.
At the other end, Bell had to tip over from Kevin McBride's stinging 30-yard effort but Dundee's resistance was soon killed off for good.
Kilmarnock had introduced former Celtic trainee Rabiu Ibrahim after 64 minutes in place of Jude Winchester and he took just nine minutes to make his mark, driving into the Dundee area before picking out Clingan in space on the edge of the area to curl a fine finish past Simonsen.
Stewart was a second-half replacement for Baird but his successful lob over Bell in the 82nd minute failed to spark a late siege of the visitors' goal as Kilmarnock held out for the points.
|45 Steve Simonsen||1 Cameron Bell|
|2 Gary Irvine||88 Mahamadou Sissoko|
|17 Kyle Benedictus||2 Jeroen Tesselaar|
|18 Declan Gallagher||25 Ross Barbour|
|25 Lewis Toshney||38 Mark O'Hara|
|6 Ian Davidson||8 Sammy Clingan|
|29 Gary Harkins||28 Jude Winchester|
|8 Kevin McBride||11 Kris Boyd|
|11 Ryan Conroy||31 Ross Davidson|
|10 John Baird||24 Rory McKenzie|
|20 Jim McAlistair||30 Chris Johnston|
|36 Alex Baird||Anssi Jaakkola 53|
|32 James Thomson||James Fowler 4|
|28 Mark Kerr||Lee Ashcroft 35|
|24 Colin John Nish||Rabiu Ibrahim 19|
|47 Andrew Barrowman||Paul Heffernan 14|
|27 Mark Stewart||Cillian Sheridan 12|
|9 Carl Finnigan||Borja Perez 15|
|Mark Stewart for John Baird (60)||Rabiu Ibrahim for Jude Winchester (65)|
|Carl Finnigan for Gary Harkins (70)||Paul Heffernan for Kris Boyd (76)|
|James Thomson for Lewis Toshney (75)||Lee Ashcroft for Mahamadou Sissoko (81)|
|Kyle Benedictus (34)||Mahamadou Sissoko (56)|
|Gary Irvine (80)|
|James Thomson (90)|
|· Squads: Dundee | Kilmarnock|