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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 January 2007, 16:51 GMT
Kilmarnock 1-0 Dundee United
United's David Robertson (left) clashes with Peter Leven
United's David Robertson (left) clashes with Peter Leven
Kilmarnock chalked up a much-needed victory with a timely Peter Leven strike to sink visitors Dundee United.

The midfielder hit his first goal of the season after 61 minutes to break the deadlock in what had been a hitherto uninspiring contest.

United's Derek Stillie saved a Steven Naismith 47th minute penalty after Garry Kenneth fouled Rocco Quinn.

But Killie persisted, and were rewarded when Leven fired home after good work between Garry Hay and Alan Johnston.

Kilmarnock had on-loan Celtic midfielder Quinn in their starting line-up.

And manager Jim Jefferies' other transfer window signing, Momo Sylla, made his second start following his debut in Monday night's 2-0 home defeat against Hibernian.

Meanwhile the Tangerines, three points behind Killie, had recent recruit, Jon Daly, leading their attack.

It was Allan Johnston giving the home side some early impetus after six minutes but he shot wide after being set up by Steven Naismith.

The swirling wind made it difficult for both teams to play with any real fluency, and scoring opportunities were at a premium.

After 14 minutes Stillie did well to hold a Leven corner while under pressure from Frazer Wright.

At the other end, Kilmarnock goalkeeper Alan Combe pulled off a terrific save from Kenneth when he turned the ball past for a corner, before a minute later diving low to hold a drive from Collin Samuel.

David Robertson - who netted a late Scottish Cup winner against St Mirren in midweek - should have opened United's account after 25 minutes, but he fired over the bar from 20 yards.

Rocco Quinn
Rocco Quinn made his debut after signing on loan from Celtic

The Taysiders certainly looked the team most likely to score with the home fans beginning to vent their frustration.

Killie briefly rallied, and Grant Murray nearly put them in front with a speculative long-range shot in the 37th minute, but Stillie was sufficiently composed to deny him.

Thankfully, the game sparked into life after the interval when Killie were awarded a spot-kick.

With an eye on goal, Quinn was bundled over by Kenneth, but Naismith saw his subsequent penalty smartly stopped by the impressive Stillie to keep the encounter scoreless.

Simon Ford almost put Kilmarnock in front but his close range header went a yard over from a Quinn corner.

Nonetheless, Jefferies' men persisted and their renewed energy paid off with Leven's strike.

Garry Hay combined neatly with Johnston on the left and the veteran's cut-back was slammed, left-footed, low into the net by Leven.

Stillie was increasingly busy, and he underlined his afternoon with a great save to deny Johnston as time began to get the better of Craig Levein's men.

In the end United were left rueing their missed chances from the first half, and had little left in the closing stages.

With Killie holding on, they ensured a welcome win - their first in six league attempts.


Kilmarnock: Combe, Grant Murray (Nish 46), Hay, Ford (Dodds 70), Frazer Wright, Fowler, Johnston, Quinn (Invincibile 81), Leven, Syila, Naismith. Subs Not Used: Smith, Barrowman, Stephen Murray, Adams.

Goal: Leven 61.

Dundee Utd: Stillie, Dillon, Kalvenes, Wilkie, Kenneth, Kerr (Duff 46), Cameron, Robertson, Samuel, Conway (Goodwillie 58), Daly. Subs Not Used: McLean, Mair, Archibald, Gomis, Watson.

Booked: Wilkie, Daly.

Att: 4,732

Ref: M Tumilty



SEE ALSO
Mistakes cost us game says Levein
20 Jan 07 |  Dundee Utd
Jefferies savours hard-fought win
20 Jan 07 |  Kilmarnock


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