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Byline: Murray McGREGOR reports

DENS trialist Sofiene Zaaboub was hooked before half time for starting a brawl as Dundee ended their Irish tour on a low note.

The French-Algerian impressed in a midweek win at Glentoran but could have blown his hopes of landing a move to Scotland.

Dundee were floored by a late Gordon Simms goal - but the first-half clash was the big talking point.

Zaaboub clashed with Ballymena's Rory Hamill as they chased a loose ball, sparking an ugly melee on the pitch. Gaffer Jim Duffy had a ringside view of the scrap and immediately hauled off his man.

Amidst all the confusion, Dundee played the last couple of minutes of the first half with 10 men.

Dark Blues keeper Eric Sittar was first in action, diving to parry a Hamill volley in the first minute.

Gareth Scates then Hamill again both went close for the home side as Dundee took time to settle.

Their first chance came midway through the first half when Steve McNally's cross was nodded just wide from 12 yards by Steven Robb.

In 30 minutes Zaaboub's free-kick caused havoc but Bobby Mann's effort was well saved by Dwayne Nelson.

But that was Zaaboub's last involvement and after the fracas died down furious Duffy was forced to abandon his experiment of playing three central defenders and revert to a normal back four.

Glenn Larsen replaced the sinning trialist at half time.

Iain Anderson and Dundee's other trialist, Argentinian keeper Alex Pompili, were brought on in 70 minutes.

Neil Jablonski saw his 16-yard drive cleared off the line by a defender - but Ballymena struck a late blow when Simms hit the winner with six minutes left.


Hooked: Trialist Zaaboub
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 25, 2004
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