Dundee United failed to take a golden chance to go top of the Championship as they were beaten at home by Queen of the South.
On the day that league leaders Ross County lost away to bottom club Alloa, the Tangerines blew it at Tannadice as they were defeated 2-1 by the Doonhamers.
It was a terrible result with horrible timing.
A penalty from Stephen Dobbie put the visitors ahead after a goalless first half then Lyndon Dykes made it two. Nicky Clark grabbed one back but United couldn’t find an equaliser.
That means they stay two points behind having played a couple more matches than the Staggies.
The Tangerines made two changes to the team that kicked off their impressive victory at Dunfermline on Tuesday night.
Peter Pawlett was a surprise omission, given the quality of his goal and overall performance against the Pars. His place was taken by Clark. Also out went Ian Harkes, who was replaced by Sam Stanton.
The visitors had former Tannadice keeper Deniz on their bench and ex-United number two Laurie Ellis in their dugout.
It was the visitors who made the brighter start, with the Tangerines struggling to get out of their own half in the first five minutes.
However, it should have been 1-0 to United on 12 minutes. Sam Stanton played in Paul McMullan, who got the break of the ball before shooting at goalie Jack Leighfield.
He blocked the shot but spilled the ball in front of United striker Pavol Safranko, who could only fire it straight back at him when it looked easier to score.
Mark Reynolds then came close again for United on 23 minutes when his header from Stanton’s corner was nodded off the line by Scott Mercer.
Stanton then had a go himself four minutes later but his low drive was pushed away for a corner by Leighfield.
For all United’s dominance, though, they could have been behind on 31 minutes thanks to a moment of madness for goalie Benjamin Siegrist. The big Swiss raced from goal to attempt a clearance but couldn’t get it very far. With him stranded outside his box, the ball fell to Queens player Andy Stirling, who looked set to score but sent his shot wide.
Two minutes from the break, home full-back Charlie Seaman fired in a vicious volley from outside the area that was deflected past for a corner.
After the restart, the Tangerines had a decent chance when Clark stabbed the ball goalwards and Leighfield saved, only for Safranko to be ruled offside when the ball rebounded to him.
United had been the better team but fell behind on 53 minutes when they conceded a penalty. Dobbie played a one-two with Dykes and was poised to shoot before Stanton barged him in the back. Dobbie took the kick himself and sent Siegrist the wrong way.
It was nearly 1-1 within minutes when Jamie Robson’s cross from the left was headed on to the post by Safranko and the loose ball was turned behind for a corner.
Having seen that one get away, United fell 2-0 behind on 58 minutes. Dobbie was the architect this time as he played in Dykes with an acrobatic flick and his teammate finished well.
The home fans were stunned and United quickly brought on Pawlett for Stanton as they launched a salvage mission.
It then took a great save from Siegrist to deny Dykes as the Queens player got in behind on 63 minutes.
The Tangerines came within a whisker of a goal when Pawlett’s freekick sneaked under the wall and was almost bundled into his own goal by Leighfield.
United then gave themselves hope when Clark headed home a cross from the left on 71 minutes. It was no shock that the man with the assist was Pawlett.
The chances were coming thick and fast now and Safranko came close with a couple of headers.
The Slovakian should have burst the net with a point-blank header on 85 minutes but he nodded over the bar but that was that as far as United were concerned.