By Ramsay Banks
Ross County left it late to beat Dundee 3-2 after twice going behind. Luke McCowan put the Dees in front before Dominic Samuel hit a scrappy equaliser. McCowan restored his side’s lead, but Jack Baldwin scored County’s second equaliser of the match in the second half. Finally, Regan Charles-Cook scored a winner with yet another close-range goal for the Staggies.
Dundee were largely on the front foot to begin with. They nearly made a breakthrough when Paul McMullan played a shrewd ball between the legs of Connor Randall. Cammy Kerr played an excellent flashed ball across the box, but there were no takers.
FT | ROS 3-2 DUN
GET RIGHT IN THERE💙 pic.twitter.com/9rOfqacjUt
— Ross County FC (@RossCounty) December 11, 2021
15 minutes in, the Dees had their breakthrough. McMullan swung in a free kick, which former Staggie Liam Fontaine nodded across goal. County initially dealt with it, but only as far as Luke McCowan, who fired past Maynard-Brewer despite the Aussie keeper getting a glove on it
Ross County weren’t to be dominated though. Harry Paton broke free of the Dundee press and found Regan Charles-Cook bursting down the left. His inch-perfect cross found Dominic Samuel, who bundled home at the second time of asking, having had his first attempt saved by Adam Legzdins.
It was an end to end game, and there was a flurry of corners for both sides. Ross County failed to make the most of theirs, but Dundee fashioned a chance, Fontaine heading over when he should have hit the target.
The Dark Blues were not a bit fazed by conceding an equaliser, and Jordan Marshall was roared down the left by the rampant Dundee support. His delivery found McCowan who drove his second goal of the afternoon into the same corner he did the first, this time giving Maynard-Brewer no chance.
The Staggies initially came flying out the blocks in the second half, and Joseph Hungbo worked a free-kick routine with Charles-Cook. The latter’s low, fizzing cross found Jordan White at point-blank range, but namesake Jordan McGhee denied County an equaliser with a last-ditch block.
Ross County vice-captain Jack Baldwin nearly assisted McCowan’s hat-trick, playing a ball inside with Keith Watson his intended target, instead finding the Dees’ scorer. Luckily for the County man, McCowan hesitated and his teammates tracked back in numbers to stifle this scare.
Baldwin made amends for his near catastrophe at the other end. Hungbo swung a corner high into the 6-yard box that looked to be the same as the rest of County’s sub-par set pieces. Legzdins inexplicably flapped at the delivery though, and Baldwin simply had to tap home for his second goal in three games.
McCowan continued his run as the main thorn in the side of Ross County, floating in a magnificent cross to Danny Mullen who side-footed this 6-yard sitter against the woodwork.
If the first half was end to end, the second half was twice as intense. Harry Clarke found himself in the Dundee box, and after an almighty scramble, his strike was cleared off the line by Ryan Sweeney to deny the Staggies their third. They wouldn’t be denied for long though. Substitute Blair Spittal fired a cross just beyond Jordan White, who was knocked over. The Staggies appealed for a penalty, but before Bobby Madden could consider their cries, Charles-Cook nipped in to tap home at the back post.
Another substitute in Leigh Griffiths should have put Dundee on level terms. McCowan had the beating of Harry Clarke, and sent a looping ball over everyone but the Celtic loanee, who could only nod into the grateful arms of Maynard-Brewer. Here are three things we learned.
Here are three things we learned from a thrilling clash between Ross County and Dundee
Dundee show proof of progress
Since the embarrassing 5-0 defeat Dundee were handed by Ross County in October that saw Dundee fans call for the head of James McPake, they’ve come on leaps and bounds. Despite this result, and twice throwing away the lead, they showed that they are a changed team from the one that got drubbed by the Staggies with the close nature of the match, and it seems that they’ve certainly learned their lessons.
It’s now four unbeaten for the Staggies, with two wins among those. It hasn’t always been pretty- far from it, but Malky Mackay’s side is looking more and more likely to avoid the relegation that at times this season has looked certain. They’re catching up with a game in hand on Dundee, and two on Livingston and St. Mirren.
Tough next encounters
These two sides next face two of Scotland’s traditional big clubs. Dundee travel to Easter Road to take on Hibs, while Ross County stay in Dingwall to vie for a result against Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic. Neither is expected to get a result, but even a draw would go a long way toward Premiership survival.
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