Dundee United secured their first win of the Betfred Cup campaign but they were made to work hard for the victory against League 2 Stenhousemuir at Ochilview.
After being held in the first-half by the plucky part-timers, United scored through Paul Watson and Calum Butcher early in the second 45.
The Warriors pulled one back through skipper Andrew Munro with 20 minutes still to play but the Tangerines comfortably saw the game out.
United boss Robbie Neilson made five changes from the team that lost on penalties to Hearts on Friday night at Tynecastle with Butcher, Logan Chalmers, Ian Harkes, Louis Appere and Watson being drafted in for Adrian Sporle, Nicky Clark, Sam Stanton, Liam Smith and Rachid Bouhenna.
The Tangerines made a brisk start, spraying passes around on the Ochilview artificial surface but without carving out an early chance against a committed home side.
United did have the ball in the net in the 14th minute through Lawrence Shankland but the assistant referee quickly had his flag up to give an offside decision.
Shortly after, Stenny also “scored” through Munro with a bullet header from a free-kick but again it was ruled out for offside.
Paul McMullan was looking lively for Neilson’s side and he came close to breaking through on goal following a great piece of skill and a one-two with Shankland but the ball just evaded him at the vital moment.
United continued to dominate possession and territory but Stenny keeper Kyle Marley had yet to make a save as the 25th minute passed.
On the half-hour mark, the Tangerines did have a great chance as Louis Appere ran in on goal however with Marley racing off his line, he unselfishly tried to square the ball but a defender mopped up the danger.
Stenny then had their first real shot of the game in the 37th minute when David Hopkirk tried his luck with a long-range effort but it flew low past Benjamin Siegrist’s right-hand post.
It was McMullan’s turn next with a fierce shot from all of 30 yards but it was straight at Marley who comfortably dealt with the attempt.
Shortly before half-time, the Warriors had their best chance of the game so far when Thomas Halleran played a great ball to Mark McGuigan down the left but the striker shot straight at Siegrist who easily gathered.
However, the home side would still have been the happier being level against their Championship opponents as the two teams headed down the tunnel at the break.
United were quickly out of the traps in the second 45 mounting some sustained early pressure, forcing a series of corners with Marley’s heart in his mouth as he dropped what looked a regulation catch at the third from Logan Chalmers but no-one in a Tangerine jersey could take advantage of the howler.
Another home player made a horrible mess of a decent chance shortly after when McGuigan had time and space in the United box but he sclaffed his effort on goal.
And he was made to rue that missed opportunity as the Tangerines took the lead in the 51st minute.
Chalmers swung another corner in from the right with Marley saving an initial header that looked like it had come off his own defender but Watson was on hand to nod home from close range at the back post.
Three minutes later, United doubled their advantage as Butcher hit a low drive from the edge of the Stenny box past the helpless Marley and into the corner of the net.
That looked to be that but the Warriors pulled one back in the 70th minute when a corner from the right from Halleran was played back across goal with Munro on hand to lash the ball home.
United came mighty close to restoring their two-goal advantage in the 78th minute when a corner from the left made its way through to Connolly who hit a thunderous drive off the crossbar with Marley well beaten.
However, right at the death, the keeper made a great stop to deny Shankland.
Attendance – 1,156.
Stenhousemuir – Marley, McIlduff, McKernon, Halleran, McGuigan (Anderson, 67), Hopkirk, Cook (Luke, 83), McLaughlin, M. Munro, Scullion (Daramola, 83), A. Munro.
Subs not used – Smith, Watters.
Dundee United – Siegrist, Connolly, Reynolds, McMullan (C. Smith), Robson, Butcher (King, 63), Chalmers, Harkes (Stanton, 52), Shankland, Appere, Watson.
Subs not used – Mehmet, Sporle, Clark, Banks.
Referee – Steven Kirkland.