Dundee United 2 Cowdenbeath 0: Double for Patrick N’Koyi gets cup defence off to winning start

Patrick N'Koyi, right, celebrates his second goal.
Patrick N'Koyi, right, celebrates his second goal.

Two goals from striker Patrick N’Koyi got Dundee United’s defence of the Irn-Bru Cup off to a winning start at Tannadice.

The Tangerines took the lead against Cowdenbeath on 61 minutes when Scott Fraser squared the ball to N’Koyi and the frontman shot home from close range.

N’Koyi grabbed his double just six minutes later with a header off a James Keatings cross and 2-0 was how it finished.

As expected, United started with a mixture of development squad players and first-team men needing game time.

There was a familiar name wearing number 33 for United, with 18-year-old Harvey Dailly – son of famous father Christian – making his debut at left-back. Logan Chalmers (17) and Graham Taylor (19) got their first starts for the Tangerines.

There was also game time for familiar faces Fraser, Willo Flood, Jordie Briels, Scott Allardice and Keatings, while Deniz was in goal, N’Koyi started up front and there was a debut for new signing Paul Quinn.

In the Cowden line-up was recently-released United midfielder Brad Smith, who played for the Blue Brazil as a trialist against Edinburgh City on Saturday.

The visitors were first to threaten on four minutes with a chip-shot from Ryan Connelly that hit the post with Deniz beaten, while Keatings had a shot blocked at the other end.

Cowden were getting up the park and Robert Buchanan had a mazy run into the box before Deniz saved his low shot on 20 minutes.

A clever freekick from United’s Fraser sliced open the visitors’ defence as the game reached the half-hour mark. He played in Keatings but his shot was blocked by Cowden goalkeeper Joe McGovern at close quarters.

Ally Smith sent a strike flying past the post on 35 minutes as the Fifers kept battling away before a run from Briels created a chance for N’Koyi but he took way too long to sort out his feet and the opportunity was lost.

After a pretty poor first half, the hope was for better in the second.

On 47 minutes, Taylor won a freekick just outside the box for the Tangerines. Fraser took it and found N’Koyi, whose header was well saved by McGovern.

An Allardice pass then found Keatings in great space but the former Hibs man could only shoot straight at McGovern when he should have burst the net.

With 57 minutes on the clock, United missed again as Taylor pulled his shot wide of the far post.

The first goal wasn’t long delayed, though, as N’Koyi gave the Tannadice side the lead on 61 minutes. Fraser did most of the hard work, dribbling inside the area before laying it on a plate for the Congolese-Dutchman, who sidefooted high into the net from inside the six-yard box.

It was 2-0 just six minutes later when a Keatings ball from the left was nodded in N’Koyi for his second of the night, with McGovern letting the ball slip through his hands.

Keatings hit the bar for the Tangerines on 71 minutes with a curling shot before Buchanan sent the ball over the bar from outside the box at the other end.

United kept pressing for a third but the job was done and it was on to Thursday’s draw.

Attendance: 1,655.

Dundee United: Deniz, Quinn, N’Koyi, Fraser, Flood, Allardice, Keatings, Briels (Thomas 81), Taylor (Appere 75), Dailly, Chalmers (Reekie 70). Subs not used: Donaldson, Murdoch, Durnan, Robson.

Cowdenbeath: McGovern, McKinlay, Swann, Mullen, Rumsby, Pyper, Buchanan, A. Smith, Connelly (Miller 66), B. Smith (Denton 79), Muirhead. Subs not used: McGurn, Thomson, Turnbull, Ovenstone, Kellichan.

Referee: Mat Northcroft.