Dundee United”s unbeaten start to the season hit the rocks at Dumbarton as they went down to Sons at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium.
They went into this match having not lost in six cup and league fixtures.
However, a Mark Docherty penalty gave the Sons the lead after 54 minutes of this Championship clash and, huff and puff all they did, the Tannadice men couldn’t drag themselves back into the match, much to their large travelling support’s frustration and dismay.
United were unchanged from the line-up that kicked off the Betfred Cup win over Partick Thistle.
That meant Dutchman Nick van der Velden’s return from suspension was as a substitute despite his wonder goal against Queen of the South last Saturday.
The Tangerines started the game really well and completely dominated possession for the first quarter-of-an-hour or so.
Stewart Murdoch, Scott Fraser and Blair Spittal all had attempts on goal in that time.
Indeed, it took the Sons 25 minutes to get up the park but the home team slowly began to get into the game.
Ten minutes before the break Dumbarton almost snatched the lead but defender Greg Buchanan’s snap-shot from inside the box just cleared the bar.
With half-time approaching, United’s Tope Obadeyi, who had switched to the left from a central position, caused havoc in the Dumbarton box with a low cross but the first half finished goalless.
If the Tangerines had been told to up their game after the break it didn’t show.
Indeed, on 53 minutes, they conceded a freekick at the edge of their box and Ryan Stevenson’s shot cracked off the United bar.
Then they fell behind just a minute later from the penalty spot.
Buchanan was the Sons player challenged by Mark Durnan, albeit keeper Cammy Bell thought there wasn’t a foul and was booked for protesting. Docherty stepped up to give Bell no chance with the kick.
United’s response was to bring on Simon Murray and Van der Velden for Obadeyi and Spittal respectively.
Murray had a chance to level almost immediately on 66 minutes but somehow screwed his shot wide when it looked easier to score.
Just a minute later, Van der Velden picked out Jamie Robson with a cross to the back post and the youngster’s volley was brilliantly saved by home keeper Alan Martin.
Fraser was fouled at the edge of the Dumbarton area and took the freekick only to fire the setpiece well over.
United kept fighting until the end and Coll Donaldson’s shot was well saved by Martin with three minutes to go.
Van der Velden also tried his luck from outside the box but the ball flew wide and many of the travelling fans headed to the exits.
Dumbarton: Martin, Pettigrew, Docherty, J. Thomson, Buchanan, Stevenson, Todd, Gallagher (Stirling 80), R. Thomson, Harvie, D. Smith. Subs not used: Barclay, McCallum, Clark, Kassarate.
Dundee United: Bell, Durnan, Donaldson, Toshney, Spittal (Van der Velden 63), Murdoch, Fraser (Murray 63), Obadeyi, C. Smith (Telfer 83), Flood, Robson. Subs not used: Zwick, Dillon, Coote, Souttar.
Referee: G. Duncan.