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Dumbarton 0 Dundee United 2: Men in black victorious thanks to Sam Stanton double

Sam Stanton makes it 2-0.
Sam Stanton makes it 2-0.

The men in black may not have saved the planet but they did secure a welcome win for managerless Dundee United.

In their first game since Ray McKinnon left the club, the Tangerines – dressed in their change kit of all black – were battling Dumbarton rather than aliens and they thoroughly deserved their victory for a bright, attacking display.

Sam Stanton got the ball rolling in under two minutes with an excellent strike from inside the D then the same player made it a double with a low shot on 16 minutes.

The visitors dominated the second half as well as the first but couldn’t add to their tally.

So they stay in fourth spot but, significantly, close the gap on Championship leaders St Mirren, who come to Tannadice next Saturday, to three points.

United caretaker coach Laurie Ellis made no fewer than five changes to the team that performed so poorly against Inverness a week earlier.

Out went injured duo Fraser Fyvie and Lewis Toshney, while down to the bench dropped William Edjenguele, Paul McMullan and James Keatings.

That meant places for Stewart Murdoch, Tam Scobbie, Billy King, Matty Smith and Scott Fraser.

The Tangerines took a spectacular early lead – after just one minute and 14 seconds, to be precise.

It was a smashing move, finished off by Stanton with a curling left-foot shot from 20 yards after he was teed up by King.

On 15 minutes, a freekick from Fraser caused havoc inside the Dumbarton box and, when it just missed the head of Mark Durnan, there was almost an own goal from Andy Dowie.

That was a let-off for the Sons but the resultant corner led to Stanton’s and United’s second goal of the game.

Fraser was the provider, sending the setpiece straight to Stanton, who shot low squeezed into the net despite home keeper Scott Gallacher getting a hand on the ball.

There was a penalty appeal from the home fans on 20 minutes for handball against Durnan but referee Craig Charleston wasn’t interested.

On the half-hour, the visitors came close to a third goal when King collected a Fraser pass and cut in from the left before blasting his shot over.

Up at the other end, Tannadice goalie Harry Lewis dived to smother a freekick hit by Dumbarton’s Dimitrios Froxylias.

Willo Flood then came to United’s rescue when he cut out a dangerous cross at the near post after Durnan had gifted the Sons possession.

On 38 minutes, though, it was the Tangerines’ turn to attack again and Murdoch poked the ball just wide after he was picked out by King.

Two minutes before the break, United striker Scott McDonald tried his luck with a striker from 20 yards but the strike flew just wide.

After the restart, Flood had a shot blocked then, on 54 minutes, Durnan was unlucky to see his header off a Fraser corner fly just past.

Three minutes later, the impressive Fraser sent McDonald away into the box and the wee Australian’s shot would have made it into the net were it not for the fingertips of keeper Gallacher.

The hosts were reduced to 10 men on 63 minutes when Barr was sent packing by ref Charleston.

The Dumbarton man, who had been booked 10 minutes earlier for a foul on Fraser, dived to try to win penalty and was rightly shown a second yellow then a red.

On 72 minutes, United made a switch, taking off Fraser and replacing him with Keatings, then McMullan came on for Smith with 10 minutes later.

United were bossing the second period just as they had done the first and all was missing was a third goal.

Sub McMullan beat goalie Gallacher with a cross on 86 minutes but there were no United players waiting to get a touch.

In stoppage-time, young Declan Glass came on in place of King for his debut.

Given the circumstces, this was a solid and professional display from United and a great day’s work from caretaker Ellis and his backroom team.


Dumbarton: Gallacher, McLaughlin, Dowie, Wilson (Roy 81), Stewart (Gallagher 87), Walsh (Morrison 46), Wardrop, Hutton, Hill, Froxylias, Barr. Subs not used: Carswell, Johnston, Prior, Ewings.

Dundee  United: Lewis, Murdoch, Scobbie, Durnan, McDonald, Fraser (Keatings 72), King (Glass 90+2), Stanton, Flood, Robson, Smith (McMullan 82). Subs not used: Deniz, N’Koyi, Edjenguele, Allardice.

Referee: Craig Charleston.