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Ross County 1-1 Dundee

By Charles Bannerman at Victoria Park


Steven Craig's late equaliser not only kept Ross County in the First Division title hunt but led to opponents Dundee being knocked off the top of the table.

Ben Hutchinson opened the scoring for Dundee from close range early in the second half and a double save from Tony Bullock denied County an equaliser.

An inspired attacking double substitution saw County switch to four up front and it paid off dramatically.

Craig grabbed the home side's equaliser with four minutes left.

County then held on to ensure that the three points that Inverness Caledonian Thistle gained at Firhill sent them top as the two Highland sides prepare to lock horns in Inverness on Tuesday night.

The first chance of the game came after just three minutes, when Iain Vigurs at the left post sent a ball from Martin Scott over the bar.

County were in the hunt again soon after when goalkeeper Bullock made a great save from a Richard Brittain 20-yarder and opposite number Michael McGovern was equally impressive from Hutchinson's close-range effort.

The home side again might have taken the lead if Andy Barrowman had got to an inviting cross from Scott.

Dundee came very close just before half-time when McGovern parried Ryan O'Leary's effort and Gary Miller cleared Hutchinson's follow up off the line.

Three minutes into the second half, Dundee got a vital breakthrough when Hutchinson got Ritchie Hart's ball from the right via Leigh Griffiths and fired in from close range.

Dundee were boosted by their lead and began to look dominant, but then it was Bullock's turn to pull off a double save, first from Martin Scott and then from an attempted clearance by his own defender, Eric Paton.

With quarter of an hour left, Derek Adams went to four up front by bringing on Craig and Gary Wood.

However, at the other end, Griffiths came close when he evaded Scott Boyd but shot past the right post from an acute angle on the left.

Brittain drew another good save out of Bullock before Craig sent Victoria Park wild on 86 minutes when he netted from six yards following good lead-up work by Michael Gardyne and Paul di Giacomo.

County survived a late onslaught by Dundee, who were unable to grab the goal they needed to preserve their long-held top spot and gain a first win for manager Gordon Chisholm.

Ross County manager Derek Adams:
"It was another great performance from us. To take a point showed great character.

"I thought we started the game very well and created a number of opportunities but didn't take them.

"Dundee came back into the game and went ahead with a good finish from Hutchinson.

"Then we went for it - four up front and one off in the midfield and it paid dividends."

Dundee manager Gordon Chisholm:
"I'm just disappointed we didn't hold out. I think the effort and the commitment the boys showed - I was delighted with everything.

"I just felt we could have been a bit stronger. One of the boys at the back just switched off and allowed Ross County to get in and they were putting us under a fair bit of pressure.

"They had nothing to lose and they just went for it and I'm just disappointed we couldn't manage to hold out.

"There's still a lot of football to be played and obviously we're disappointed, but there are still a lot of games to be played and I'm sure there will be a lot of twists and turns."

Ross County: McGovern, Miller (Di Giacomo 46), Morrison, Scott (Wood 77), Boyd, Keddie, Gardyne, Kettlewell, Barrowman, Brittain, Vigurs (Craig 76).
Subs Not Used: Malin, Smith.

Booked: Miller, Keddie, Kettlewell.

Goals: Craig 87.

Dundee: Bullock, Paton, Malone, Klimpl, MacKenzie, O'Leary, Hart (Shinnie 60), Kerr, Griffiths (McKeown 81), Hutchinson (Higgins 69), Harkins.
Subs Not Used: Soutar, Forsyth.

Booked: Paton.

Goals: Hutchinson 50.

Att: 3,295

Ref: C Thomson

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