Care­less Ter­rors fail to im­press new gaffer Las­zlo as they throw away lead

PLAY­ER­RAT­INGS

Evening Telegraph (First Edition) - - Uk World Today - By TOM DUTHIE

THE big thing Cs­aba Las­zlo learned from his team’s care­less Irn-Bru Cup exit against Cru­saders was the Dundee United start­ing XI when Falkirk visit on Sun­day should be pretty much the one that’s won the last two Cham­pi­onship games.

Satur­day saw the new man­ager spring a mild sur­prise when, in­stead of field­ing some­thing close to his strong­est team, he stuck with pre­de­ces­sor Ray McKin­non’s pol­icy for this com­pe­ti­tion of go­ing with fringe play­ers and kids.

In do­ing so, he must have been hop­ing to see a few of those out on the park give him a se­lec­tion headache for this week­end.

As the Tan­ger­ines al­lowed a win­ning po­si­tion to slip to a 2-1 de­feat against the travel-weary part-timers from Belfast, pre­cious few did.

Af­ter a non-event of a first half, the home team did step up a gear in the sec­ond and, when skip­per-for-the-day Fraser Fyvie gave them the lead with a fan­tas­tic long-range ef­fort, they looked on course to take their de­fence of the tro­phy won last sea­son to the semi-fi­nal stage at least.

Seem­ingly well in con­trol, they squan­dered a string of fine chances, con­ceded the slop­pi­est of equalis­ers and then, deep in in­jury time when press­ing hard for the win­ner, switched off at the back to con­cede the match de­cider.

Ul­ti­mately, of course, this de­feat will not go down as a dis­as­ter and cer­tainly does not come close to be­ing sea­son defin­ing. The way it came about, though, was clearly a dis­ap­point­ment to Las­zlo and un­der­stand­ably so for it was a game United should not have lost.

Even with a com­pletely-changed start­ing line-up from the side that had so im­pres­sively top­pled divi­sion lead­ers St Mir­ren a week ear­lier, this was still a de­cent-look­ing team.

It was one that should have been too strong for an op­po­si­tion who them­selves had left five or six reg­u­lars out be­cause of a mas­sive clash with Belfast ri­vals Lin­field this week.

On top of that, the Cru­saders play­ers had been up at around five in the morn­ing to catch a flight from Belfast. They only ar­rived in Dundee around noon, an hour be­fore the sched­uled kick-off.

Hardly the best prepa­ra­tions for a game against a team per­ceived to be from a higher level. With the book­ies of­fer­ing evens on a home win, it looked one of the best bets of the week­end.

More of­ten than not, though, the turf ac­counts get things wrong and this was such an oc­ca­sion.

With the ex­cep­tion of Fyvie and goal­keeper Deniz, no one did enough for any­one to ex­pect to see them re­tain their place for Sun­day.

It should be said cen­tre-half Paul Quinn was see­ing ac­tion for the first time since a mid-Septem­ber heart scare, so he was al­ways un­likely to be in the frame for the next league out­ing.

Kids apart, for the rest it was a chance to im­press their new boss and show they were worth con­sid­er­a­tion. None of them did that.

It means they can ex­pect to be on the fringes of the team for a while longer and, af­ter Satur­day’s care­less­ness, they only have them­selves to blame.

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