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Dundee season will get a ‘huge lift’ from Dunfermline fightback says delighted boss James McPake

Dundee manager James McPake.
Dundee manager James McPake.

Dundee will “get a huge lift” from their dramatic comeback victory over Dunfermline says manager James McPake.

Early on against one of their main rivals for a play-off place it looked like the stuttering Dark Blues were in for another disappointing night in the Championship.

However, McPake’s men fought back from 2-0 down to take all three points and notch up a huge victory thanks to goals from Jason Cummings, Danny Mullen and Lee Ashcroft.

A win that takes Dundee three points ahead of Dunfermline and level with Raith Rovers in second spot with six matches remaining for the Dark Blues.

“It’s about building momentum and I’m actually pleased now that it panned out the way it did,” McPake said.

Jason Cummings nods in from close range to make it 2-1.

“Not many Dundee teams have been 2-0 and come back to win 3-2 in recent years so the players will get a huge lift from that.

“It was a real pressure game for both sides and I’m happy we showed the character and desire to get through it.

“With results earlier it was so important we got the win.

“Their keeper made some great saves and on another night we would have had a few more goals. We definitely deserved the win.”

‘Sloppy start’

McPake wasn’t happy with his side’s defending early on as they gifted up two goals for the visitors.

First a Christie Elliott tackle went straight to Pars striker Kevin O’Hara to bury within three minutes before both Liam Fontaine and Lee Ashcroft failed to clear, allowing Craig Wighton to score against his old side.

Craig Wighton celebrates scoring against his old side.

McPake added: “It was a really sloppy start losing two goals in the first six minutes but you have to credit the players for the character they showed.

“We knew getting a goal before half-time would be crucial and I thought we were excellent in the second half.

“It was fantastic for Danny Mullen to come on and do what he did, he only trained on Friday and I’m delighted he had such a positive impact on the game.”

Lee Ashcroft

The Dens boss was also full of praise for central defender Ashcroft, whose winning goal was his the third time he’d found the net in two games.

After two headers at Alloa, the big defender added another from a Paul McGowan corner and had the chances to add even more to his tally.

“Lee was excellent again – he got the goal again but it was also his header for Danny Mullen’s goal,” said McPake.

Lee Ashcroft heads in his third goal in two games.

“We challenge him to get more goals and he’s doing that now. He’s been really important.

“Set-plays are huge and it’s pleasing to come away with a win from two set-plays.

“Even late on when they are throwing everything at us, we dealt with them really well.”

‘Achilles heel’ for Dunfermline

Stevie Crawford, meanwhile, bemoaned Dunfermline’s defending as they struggled to deal with their former defender Ashcroft from set-pieces.

The defeat was their third in four Championship games during a run of just three wins in 11 matches.

“It’s frustrating because we got off to a terrific start but I was disappointed with the reaction to their first goal because we could have cleared it,” Crawford said.

Dunfermline manager Stevie Crawford.

“It was important we got to half-time ahead in the game but the 10 minutes after half-time we were on the back foot.

“We allowed Dundee to get balls into our box and a number of set-plays. The thing that we’ve been good at all season was our Achilles heel – we didn’t defend set-plays well enough.

“When we went 3-2 down we started to look creative again but that 10 minute spell cost us.”

 

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