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.