East Fife 1 Dundee Utd 1: Tangerines held in opening friendly

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Dundee United had to come back from behind to draw as their pre-season programme got underway with a friendly at League One East Fife.

Trailing at the break, the Tangerines had a Nicky Clark effort to thank for saving their blushes.

With manager Robbie Neilson already stating his intention to give as many of his squad as possible as run out, United listed no fewer than 25 players for the New Bayview trip.

Missing, though, was summer signing from Argentina, Adrian Sporle. The left-back had picked up a problem in training during the week and was forced to sit this one out.

Also on the sidelines were Peter Pawlet, Calum Butcher and Ian Harkes, all of whom are not quite over injuries that were a hangover from last term.

United made all the early running but were stunned when they fell behind to an own goal in the eighteenth minute. Scott Agnew sent over a corner from the right and Liam Smith seemed to lose his bearings and headed the ball past a surprise Benjamin Siegrist and into the net.

That was not the start the 23-year-old, signed up from Ayr a few weeks back, wanted to his Tangerines career, though it should be said that error apart, he showed up well.

His new team continued to dominate possession and were almost level when Scott Banks rifled in an angled drive that Brett Long did well to beat behind for a corner. Then, from the kick, the ball fell to Mark Connolly and his shot was blocked on the line.

Banks went close again when he left fly from distance just before the break, but was denied by another fine stop from Long.

It was all change from United for the second half as they fielded an entirely fresh line up. That meant a return for keeper Deniz Mehmet as a trialist as he tried to earn a contract.

Early in that second period Louis Appere saw what looked a net-bound shot blocked and just after the hour mark Paul McMullan sent an effort into the side netting.

In the 67th minute United finally got the goal their play deserved as Appere cut the ball back for Clark to slide home the equaliser from ten yards.

By then a game that had started in bright sunshine was being played with thunder rumbling, lightning flashing and under clouds so dark the floodlights had to be switched on.

It did not stop United pressing for a winner, but despite almost continuous pressure it wouldn’t come and they had to settle for a share of the spoils.

 

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