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Dundee Utd 2-0 Motherwell

By Clive Lindsay

Danny Swanson celebrates scoring against Motherwell
Swanson opened the scoring for United

Danny Swanson scored within a minute of coming on as a substitute as Dundee United moved into third in the Scottish Premier League by beating Motherwell.

The midfielder, signed in January from Berwick Rangers, jinked between two defenders before stroking the ball home off the far post from 15 yards.

Until that 76th-minute spark of class, the game looked to be petering out into a lacklustre draw.

But Mark De Vries broke clear to add a second with two minutes remaining.

The two sides had started equal on points, one behind Hibernian.

Jim O'Brien returned to the United midfield, replacing Prince Buaben, after being cup-tied for last weekend's CIS Insurance Cup final defeat.


Keith Lasley came in for Steven McGarry in a Motherwell side playing their first game in 10 days.

United had this week named a stand after chairman Eddie Thompson, while the match was played with ball's paying tribute to Phil O'Donnell, the Motherwell midfielder who died the last time the two sides had met.

But it was not a match fit to commemorate the two men high in the affections of their respective clubs.

Close-range efforts from De Vries and Well's Bob Malcolm failed to trouble either goalkeeper.

And Motherwell boss Mark McGhee made an early substitution by withdrawing left-back Steven Hammell and replacing him with midfielder Simon Lappin.

But it was United who had the better chances of a scrappy first half.

Noel Hunt beat Smith to a Christian Kalvenes cross, but the striker's header struck Steve Craigan's head and flew well over the bar for a corner.

A special match ball containing Phil O'Donnell's signature
Phil O'Donnell's signature adorned the match balls

Motherwell's Ross McCormack lacked composure and accuracy as he sent a snap shot from the edge of the box high into the crowd as the first half drew to a disappointing end.

United were the more dangerous as the second half began, Gary Kenneth being the one to beat Smith to a Kalvenes cross only to head wide from 10 yards.

A De Vries shot squirmed wide from the edge of the box.

Zaluska did well to clear on the edge of his box after McCormack beat United's offside trap by slipping the ball through to strike partner Chris Porter.

And a Craigen header powered just wide from a McCormack corner as Well began to become more of a threat.

But, moments after replacing O'Brien, Swanson produced the one piece of quality that deserved to win the game.

Hunt squandered a chance to make it 2-0, driving the ball wide after being set up by cleverly Swanson.

But De Vries made no mistake when he broke clear with two minutes left, rounding Smith before slotting home with the outside of his boot.

Dundee Utd: Zaluska, Kovacevic, Wilkie (Grainger 71), Kenneth, Kalvenes, Flood, Kerr, Gomis, O'Brien (Swanson 75), Hunt, De Vries.
Subs Not Used: McLean, Dillon, Daly, Conway, Odhiambo.

Goals: Swanson 76, De Vries 89.

Motherwell: Graeme Smith, Malcolm, Craigan, Reynolds, Hammell (Lappin 27), Fitzpatrick, Hughes, Lasley (McGarry 56), McCormack, Porter, Clarkson, McGarry (Murphy 83).
Subs Not Used: Daniels, Brian McLean, Darren Smith, Archdeacon.

Booked: Porter, Lappin, Craigan, McCormack, Clarkson.

Att: 6,779

Ref: Dougie McDonald

BBC Sport Player Rater man of the match: Dundee United's Danny Swanson 8.75 (on 90 minutes).

Please note that you can still give the players marks out of 10 on BBC Sport's Player Rater after the match has finished.

see also
Levein dubs Swanson a top talent
22 Mar 08 |  Dundee Utd
McGhee not conceding third spot
22 Mar 08 |  Motherwell
SPL photo gallery
22 Mar 08 |  Scotland
Thompson gets Tannadice tribute
21 Mar 08 |  Dundee Utd
Motherwell captain O'Donnell dies
29 Dec 07 |  Motherwell
Motherwell 5-3 Dundee United
29 Dec 07 |  Scottish Premier

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