Dundee United 2-2 Dundee: Billy McKay rescues a point for United
Last Updated: 25/03/16 11:24am
Billy McKay struck in added time to deny 10-man Dundee their first victory at Tannadice in 12 years and keep alive Dundee United's slim hopes of Premiership survival.
In a typically frantic affair, the predatory Kane Hemmings' first-half brace looked to have put Dundee in total control, but a rush of blood from Scott Bain in the 51st minute was to alter the course of the match.
The Dundee goalkeeper clattered McKay to earn a red card and present the United man with his first goal from the penalty spot and McKay pounced again late on to snatch a point.
The game began in helter-skelter fashion with Paul McGowan triying his luck from long range, while McKay did well to find space but his cutback was cleared from the danger area.
Gary Harkins blazed wildly over from 18 yards and it was to be 25 minutes before the first real chance of the match fell to Blair Spittal, who blazed over after a tidy build-up.
Play raged down the other end and Dundee's appeals for a penalty when Harkins' shot struck the arm of Callum Morris fell on deaf ears.
Hemmings' opening goal was in keeping with the rest of the game heretofore; Paul McGowan's miscue fell kindly for the unmarked Dundee striker (34), who poked the ball under Eiji Kawashima and watched it trundle over the line, despite Gavin Gunning's despairing lunge.
John Rankin and Henri Anier both failed to hit the target from 18 yards as the hosts looked for a response and they were made to pay for their profligacy as Hemmings struck again.
Greg Stewart was the architect this time, bending his run to perfection to get in behind down the left and his inch-perfect cross was bundled in by Hemmings (45) at the far post - his 22nd goal of an impressive campaign.
Bain's rush of blood (51) offered the hosts the route back they craved as he upended McKay, who scored the ensuing penalty past debutant replacement David Mitchell.
United huffed and puffed, a prone McKay taking an air shot six yards out, and threw Edward Ofere into the fray to add some extra muscle, the former Caley Thistle striker drawing a decent save from Mitchell.
The Dark Blues - who had lost Kostadin Gadzhalov and Thomas Konrad to injury - were camped in their own half for the final quarter, under siege from a constant barrage of high balls and corners.
They looked to have held out as the game moved into added time, when Ofere beat the heroic Mitchell to one final high punt forward and McKay (90) flung himself at the loose ball to nod in a close-range header.
Indeed, the hosts could have won it as Mitchell denied Gunning and Coll Donaldson hooked the loose ball over the top but defeat would have been harsh on the 10 men.
As for United, they are now seven points adrift of Kilmarnock with eight games remaining, with the prospect of one last Tayside derby after the split looming large.