Leven strike

Last updated : 21 January 2007 By Team Talk
Killie produced a brave second-half performance to clinch their first win in six SPL matches, a 1-0 home victory over Dundee United The injury-hit Rugby Park side had on-loan Celtic midfielder Rocco Quinn in their starting line-up and recent signing Momo Sylla, who played in attack alongside Steven Naismith. But they rarely troubled the Dundee United defence in the first half and it was the visitors who created the most chances. They could have gone in at the interval a couple of goals ahead and were made to pay for wasteful finishing. In the 25th minute David Robertson found himself clear 20 yards from goal, but he hit his shot over the crossbar. A minute later Alan Combe's poor kick-out almost cost his side the lead. Jon Daly, the former Republic of Ireland Under-21 striker who signed from Hartlepool at the start of the month, seized on the ball. The kick was so poor that Daly had a clear run in on goal, but rather than demonstrate a clinical finish the big striker put the ball a foot wide of the target. Kilmarnock's best chance of the first half came after 35 minutes. The build-up play was decent enough but there was no-one in the middle to take advantage when the dangerous Naismith's shot flew across the face of the goal. If the first half was incident-free, the same could certainly not be said of the second 45 minutes. It started poorly for United. Kilmarnock were awarded a penalty after 47 minutes when Garry Kenneth pushed over new arrival Quinn in the area. The home side could not take advantage of their big chance however, as Stillie made a good save from Naismith's spot-kick. The penalty failure might have acted as a spur for United, but they remained flat. Kilmarnock took full advantage of their next chance which came in the 61st minute as Peter Leven broke the deadlock with a terrific goal. Garry Hay and veteran winger Allan Johnston combined on the left to good effect. Former Sunderland player Johnston's cut-back was driven into the net by Leven from 12 yards. Kilmarnock suffered a blow in the 70th minute when Simon Ford was taken off injured on a stretcher. The home side almost grabbed a second goal in the 88th minute but Johnston's shot was well saved by Stillie. In the end United were left rueing their missed chances from the first half, and had little left in the closing stages. But Kilmarnock, after their barren run, fully deserved all three points for their hard-working display in the second half.