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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 January 2008, 16:52 GMT
Kilmarnock 1-2 Dundee United
Tangerines captain Barry Robson takes the plaudits at Rugby Park
Tangerines captain Barry Robson takes the plaudits at Rugby Park
Dundee United kept a grip on third spot in the SPL with a deserved win over dispirited Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

The Tangerines dominated most of the play in a mainly drab encounter, and Barry Robson's clipped effort after 31 minutes set them on their way.

Simon Ford had a first half goal disallowed for Killie, but they failed to test United keeper Lukasz Zaluska.

Craig Conway made matters safe for United in 66 minutes, with Gary Wales' late strike insufficient for Killie.

The Ayrshire outfit were in dire need of a victory in order to arrest a recent slump to second bottom in the table.

Boss Jim Jefferies was still forced to do without striker Colin Nish who was completing his two-match ban, so kept the side which lost 1-0 in disappointing fashion at Celtic last week.

Mark de Vries, meanwhile, United's new signing, was named as a substitute following his recruitment from Leicester City.

However, defender Lee Wilkie's injury saw him replaced by Darren Dods while goalkeeper Zaluska came in for Euan McLean, who dropped to the bench.

The inconsistent Danny Invincibile looked in the mood for the home side in the early stages but United gradually began to ease into their passing game.

In the 14th minute, in-demand Tannadice skipper Robson swung in a corner from the right with Killie keeper Alan Combe doing well to rise above a crowd and push the ball away from danger.

It was less than inspiring fare for the crowd with open chances at a premium as United sought to consolidate their third spot.

And, eventually, their territorial advantage paid off when Robson played a characteristic captain's role for the opener.

Killie's Danny Invincible wins an aerial battle with Robson
Killie's Danny Invincible wins an aerial battle with Robson

Noel Hunt played in the midfielder - reportedly wanted by Celtic, Newcastle United and Burnley - and after eluding the attentions of Frazer Wright, Robson's right foot shot inside the box slid under Combe.

Killie did respond rather belatedly when Ford had the ball in the United net after 35 minutes with a close-range header, but it was ruled offside.

But in keeping with the first half progress, Combe was called upon again to deny the visitors, pulling off a good save from a Dods header.

Kilmarnock continued to labour without any end product, and although United were not at their sharpest, they made it comfortable with a second.

Somehow Combe managed to lose Robson's cross, the keeper colliding with Martyn Corrigan, and, as the ball flighted to Conway, the United midfielder had a simple task to net with a free header into an empty net.

Substitute David Fernandez did revive Killie in the closing stages, bringing an attacking bent to their play - and he played a key role in the home side's consolation.

The Spaniard drove forward to set up Wales, and the striker's low drive past Zaluska with just eight minutes remaining dragged up a marginal lifeline for Jefferies' men.

But United held on - with the brief introduction of new boy De Vries - and their three points were merited with Kilmarnock now staring at a statistic just one victory in their last thirteen games.

Kilmarnock: Combe, Fowler, Frazer Wright, Ford, Hay, Hamill, Corrigan, Johnston (Gibson 46), Bryson (Fernandez 67), Di Giacomo (Wales 46), Invincibile. Subs Not Used: Harpur, Locke, Taouil, O'Leary.

Goal: Wales 82.

Dundee Utd: Zaluska, Dillon, Dods, Kenneth, Grainger, Flood, Gomis (Buaben 46), Kerr, Robson, Hunt, Conway (De Vries 88). Subs Not Used: McLean, Swanson, Kovacevic, Odhiambo, Milligan.

Goals: Robson 31, Conway 66.

Att: 4,803

Ref: K Clark

Saturday's SPL photos
26 Jan 08 |  Scotland
Levein happy with Tangerines win
26 Jan 08 |  Dundee Utd
Jefferies wants more from Killie
26 Jan 08 |  Kilmarnock


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