Paul McNicoll, Dode Fox Podcast, external
Frustration is defined as the feeling of being upset or annoyed as a result of being unable to change or achieve something.
That perfectly sums up how United fans were feeling at the end of the game on Saturday. To say the end of the game was a sucker punch, would be underselling it.
United went to Easter Road in relatively good form. We’d take to the pitch minus the extremely talented Dylan Levitt though, due to a hamstring injury, and if I’m honest I felt we’d possibly struggle to create much. I was wrong. Wildly wrong.
United got after it from the first whistle and were on top by the time that Middleton notched the first of the day. I felt incredibly comfortable watching that first half as I felt that United were the team in full control of the game. Then Kevin Nisbet happened. Out of nowhere, Hibs got themselves level.
There was no need to panic though, and United didn’t. They continued to play their football and were still in control of the game when Ian Harkes added a second. Was it helped by a slight deflection? Of course it was. But if you don’t shoot you don’t score. Outwith the Hibs goal, the first half couldn’t have gone much better.
Things still seemed to be fine at the start of the second half, but after about an hour, I started to feel that the team were getting tired. The team started to sit deeper and deeper, allowing Hibs to get the ball forward, relatively uncontested, and United were almost just trying to see the game out.
The team was crying out for a fresh impetus from the bench, but for whatever reason Liam Fox must have thought the status quo would see the game out.
Hibs then grew and grew into the match and it was 80 odd minutes in before we made a change.
We made another just before the end of the game but the footballing gods did not have United on their coupon, and Kevin Nisbet happened again. Liam Smith gave the striker a yard of space and that was all that he needed to drive a dagger into the hearts of the 1500 arabs behind the other goal.
A true sickener that, if truth be told, felt like it had been coming for about 25 mins.
As for Fox, he certainly appears to have steadied the Good Ship Dundee United and some improvements have clearly been made.
The first 60 minutes were the result of his game plan and credit is due for that. The last 30 minutes though are something that he needs to learn from and do better.
Everyone in that United end could see that the team were toiling in the second half and that changes were badly needed. It felt like the only man that didn’t see it was the gaffer himself, and his inactivity, in my opinion, contributed to two dropped points on the day. Frustrating.