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Dundee United 2-0 Airdrieonians: Kai Fotheringham strikes from 45 YARDS as Tangerines go top of the Championship

Mathew Cudjoe also curled home his third goal in four league games.

Kai Fotheringham celebrates scoring for Dundee United. Image: SNS
Fotheringham has scored seven times this season. Image: Shutterstock / Richard Wiseman

Kai Fotheringham scored from close to the half-way line as Dundee United claimed a 2-0 victory over Airdrieonians at Tannadice.

Mathew Cudjoe curled home the opener with just four minutes on the clock, while the hosts would go on to rattle the woodwork three times over the course of the contest.

However, United’s resolve was tested in the second period against a capable Diamonds outfit, with Declan Gallagher’s clearance off the line to thwart Calum Gallagher proving pivotal.

But nerves were settled four minutes into injury time when Kai Fotheringham took advantage of an error by Airdrie keeper Joshua Rae — giving away possession while well out of his box — to fire home from around 45 yards.

Skipper blow

United were dealt a pre-match blow when captain Ross Docherty — understood to have sat out training on Friday — was ruled out with a recurrence of a slight hamstring strain. Liam Grimshaw came into midfield, with Kieran Freeman deployed at right-back.

Ross Docherty, Dundee United captain, leaves the field after defeat against Spartans
Docherty missed out against the Diamonds. Image: SNS

Promising winger Bryan Mwangi and Scotland U17 international Scott Constable were on the Tangerines’ bench for the first time.

Cudjoe class

The hosts took just four minutes to break the deadlock. A Declan Glass cross was nicely cushioned back to Cudjoe and his curling finish from the edge of the box found the top-corner. Three goals in four Championship outings for the Ghanaian.

Mathew Cudjoe curls home a goal for Dundee United against Airdrie
Cudjoe shapes home another super strike. Image: SNS

Moult came agonisingly close to doubling United’s advantage when a Tony Watt effort drifted across the face of goal, only for the striker’s diving header to hit the post.

There was a 10-minute delay due to a health-related incident in the Eddie Thompson Stand, with paramedics and United’s club doctor attending to a young supporter, who appeared to be awake and alert upon being wheeled away.

As the action resumed, Moult struck the post for a second time, with his glancing header from a Grimshaw delivery kissing the woodwork.

Still posing a danger on the break, Airdrie winger Lewis McGregor flashed a drive wide of Walton’s left-hand post.

Declan Glass attempts to burst forward for Dundee United against Airdrieonians
Declan Glass was heavily involved. Image: SNS

Joshua Rae made a fine save from a Glass shot from distance, while Grimshaw’s scuffed half-volley was headed off the line by Cameron Ballantyne.

Woodwork deja vu

United were thwarted by the woodwork for a third time when Kevin Holt — seeking to add to his four goals for the club — met a Middleton corner-kick and powered a header against the outside of the post.

Scott McMann of Dundee United involved in a tussle
Scott McMann involved in a tussle. Image: SNS

Walton, underworked for the majority of the contest, produced a fine save to preserve United’s lead, tipping a Liam McStravick effort over the bar following an excellent surge forward and pass by Murray Aiken.

Airdrie succeeded in taking the sting out of the game with some slick passing — prompting some discontent among the home fans — before attempting to strike at the right time.

And only a wonderful goal-line clearance from Declan Gallagher denied Calum Gallagher a leveller.

However, United would grab their second deep into injury time through Fotheringham’s cool, clinical strike from distance.

Star man: Louis Moult (Dundee United)

There were few bona fide stand-outs for the Tangerines as they claimed a fairly low-key victory.

However, Moult led the line well, brought others into the game and was mightily unfortunate to hit the post with two separate headed efforts.

Louis Moult hits the post for Dundee United
Moult, No.9, sees a diving header hit the post. Image: Shutterstock / Richard Wiseman


Another former Motherwell man, Liam Grimshaw, impressed in the engine room.

Player ratings

Dundee United (4-2-3-1): Walton 7; Freeman 6, D Gallagher 7, Holt 6, McMann 6; Grimshaw 7, Glass 6 (Constable 90+2); Cudjoe 6 (Fotheringham 60), Watt 6 (Meekison 60), Middleton 6; Moult 7.

Subs not used: Newman, Denham, Graham, Duffy, MacLeod, Mwangi.

Tony Watt in action for Dundee United against Airdrie
Tony Watt gets stuck in against the club with whom he started his career. Image: SNS

Airdrieonians (4-1-4-1): Rae 6; Ballantyne 7, Fordyce 6, Taylor-Sinclair 6, Hancock 6; Aiken 7; McGregor 7, McMaster (G Gallagher 4, 6), McStravick 6 (Todorov 85), McGill 6 (O’Connor 67); C Gallagher 7.

Subs not used: Hutton, McCabe, Fellows, Dunlop, Cassidy, Spalding

Referee: Chris Graham
Att: 8,008