Football: Dodds celebrates first footing

Dundee 1 McSkimming 28 Dundee United 3 Dodds 10, Thompson 16, Olofsson 70 Half-time: 1-2 Attendance: 11,751
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The Independent Online
DUNDEE UNITED would be entitled to throw a belated New Year party after this long- overdue success, but only half the street would be there. Britain's closest football rivals, separated by just 170 yards in Tannadice Street, looked none too neighbourly at Dens Park yesterday and the animosity will not have been diluted by United's first league victory since October, as goals from Billy Dodds, Steven Thompson and Kjell Olofsson rang out the bad old days.

United's relegation jitters were soothed after just 10 minutes when Dodds, who can count Dundee among his many former clubs, gave United the lead with his eighth goal since arriving from Aberdeen three months ago. Olofsson delivered a tempting cross to the near post, allowing Dodds to get in front of Brian Irvine. The Scotland striker spun and whipped a left-foot shot into the roof of the net from an acute angle.

Six minutes later, fragile confidence soared beyond expectation as Thompson doubled United's lead. Joe Miller's cross was missed by Dodds, but dropped for Thompson on the edge of the box and the teenager's right-foot drive took a vicious deflection off Irvine to leave the Dundee goalkeeper Robert Douglas without a hope.

But the lead did not buy United a comfort zone, as Dundee, backed by a frenzied home support, swarmed all over their tangerine-shirted neighbours. The reward came in the 28th minute, when United's flawed goalkeeper Sieb Dykstra was hardly convincing as he parried Eddie Annand's low shot and Shaun McSkimming pounced to fire in the loose ball and restore dark-blue hopes.

The passion on the pitch matched that in stands, yet at times it was misdirected. The Dundee defender Steve Tweed was booked for a dreadful tackle on Dodds and then, in the 51st minute, his United counterpart Jason De Vos was incredibly lucky to stay on after Annand's pace had exposed him. Instead, the Canadian received a lenient yellow card and Irvine almost punished United from the subsequent free-kick, but could could not keep his shot down. This signalled the launch of a 20-minute Dundee bombardment on Dykstra's goal which even saw De Vos head against his own bar.

However, United gathered themselves and found the killer goal in the 70th minute, when Miller's cross was headed out to Olofsson and the Swede crashed a right-foot volley past Douglas.

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