Terrors peg back Kilmarnock

The visitors opened the scoring after 22 minutes when Conor Sammon
latched onto Mehdi Taouil’s clever pass and smashed the ball low
past Dusan Pernis in the United goal. However Peter Houston’s men
got back on level terms within a minute when Johnny Russell prodded
the ball past Bell for his second goal for the club. The second
half failed to produce as much goalmouth action as the opening
period but some of Kilmarnock’s passing was a joy to watch, with
on-loan midfielder Alexei Eremenko at the heart of most that was
good for the Rugby Park outfit. United made two changes from the
side that slumped to a 2-1 home defeat to St Mirren on Wednesday
evening, with Barry Douglas and Russell preferred to midfielder
David Robertson and striker Danny Cadamarteri, who both dropped to
the bench. Unsurprisingly Killie, on the back of three consecutive
3-0 victories, were unchanged from the team that defeated Hamilton
in midweek, with defender Frazer Wright shrugging off a back injury
to take his place in the starting XI. After an impeccably well
observed minute’s silence in honour of Remembrance Day, the match
kicked off with David Goodwillie, full of confidence after
receiving his first call-up to the Scotland senior squad, trying an
audacious shot from the halfway line that Cameron Bell managed to
gather at the second attempt. United’s positive start continued as
Prince Buaben’s driven cross was headed just wide by his skipper
Garry Kenneth. The Scotland defender created the home side’s next
opening when he showed a terrific piece of skill to control an
awkward long pass before sending an enticing cross into the box for
Russell, who should have done better than head wide. The visitors
weathered the early storm and had a goal ruled out when Wright
headed home an Eremenko corner for a foul on Kenneth. And the
Ayrshire side opened the scoring after 22 minutes when striker
Sammon raced onto Taouil’s intelligent through-ball and the
Irishman drilled the ball past Slovakian stopper Pernis. But United
restored parity within 60 seconds when Russell was quickest to
react to Buaben’s cute pass into the area and prodded the ball past
the advancing Bell. Paul Dixon prevented the visitors restoring
their advantage when he slid in to prevent Craig Bryson tapping
into an unguarded net after Pernis had made a fine save to keep out
Sammon’s powerful left-foot drive. Eremenko’s curling free-kick
bounced back off the upright before United made an enforced change
on the half-hour mark when Scott Robertson limped off to be
replaced by Stuart Armstrong. United ended the half on top, with
Killie defender Mahamadou Sissoko making a last-ditch block to cut
out Morgaro Gomis’ goalbound effort before Douglas whipped a
free-kick inches past the post. Eremenko was cautioned within five
minutes of the restart for simulation after he fell to ground too
easily under pressure from Kenneth. The omnipresent Finnish
midfielder was then unfortunate to hit the side-netting after some
direct running from playmaker Taouil. United still looked dangerous
on the counter-attack with Russell using great control to dart away
from full-back Ben Gordon, but Bell was equal to his low shot. The
visitors continued to push for the winner with United keeper Pernis
relieved to watch an Eremenko effort take a wicked deflection of
Ghanaian midfielder Buaben and bounce out for a fruitless corner.
With 11 minutes remaining substitute Armstrong was replaced by
Danny Swanson, who was making his comeback from injury. Both sides
survived a few scares in the closing stages, with United substitute
Jon Daly guilty of spurning two excellent chances, to each take a
deserved point from an exciting 90 minutes.