Dundee United 2

SCOTT Fraser ran the show in Dundee as the Pars’ disappointing league form continued with a 2-1 defeat.

Dundee United comfortably sent Athletic back home to Fife empty-handed, despite a late rally.

Fraser’s brace before half-time put the Tangerines on easy street, but Declan McManus’ effort from the spot put pressure on the hosts in the late stages.

Allan Johnston abandoned his traditional 4-4-2 for the clash in Dundee with four changes being made to the side which scraped a 2-2 draw with Dumbarton last time out.

Fraser Aird, Nicky Clark, Dean Shiels and Callum Smith all dropped out for Lewis Martin, Michael Paton, Joe Cardle and Declan McManus.

Martin found himself in a surprising box-to-box role alongside Paton, with Nat Wedderburn at the base of the midfield five.

The Pars threatened early when McManus robbed Fraser Fyvie of possession and put Kallum Higginbotham through on the right side of the box. His low drive across the keeper went past his far post on 7 minutes, however.

The hosts responded with a dominant spell of possession and soon found themselves ahead in excellent fashion.

Jason Talbot fouled Fraser on the edge of the area and the United man quickly dusted himself off before curling home the resulting free-kick over the wall and low to Sean Murdoch’s left on 15 minutes.

A back-pass from Paul Quinn on 26 ended in Paton’s shot being blocked by the charging wall.

A superb Paton delivery from midfield found a diving Martin at the back post and his effort was well held by Lewis in the United goal from close range on 35 minutes.

An innocuous throw-in to the Pars byline on the left wing resulted in Fraser securing his second of the afternoon on 42 minutes.

After collecting the throw from Robson, Fraser fired across Sean Murdoch into the far corner to give the Tangerines a comfortable lead at the break.

Johnston’s men emerged from the tunnel to start the second-half unchanged and they continued to frustrate the travelling support with a lack of composure across the park.

Fraser was in fine form all game and nearly grabbed a hat-trick on 63 minutes.

He danced in from the left and stung the gloves of Murdoch after easing past a despairing defender.

The Pars were given a lifeline on 75 minutes when substitute Aird’s mazy run down the right culminated in Robson clipping the Canadian winger.

McManus stepped up confidently and fired high past Lewis into the top right corner.

Although briefly buoyed by the goal, the Pars could not find a leveller as they came away from Tannadice with nothing.

PARS: Murdoch, Williamson, Ashcroft, Morris, Talbot, Higginbotham (Aird 55), Martin, Wedderburn, Paton, Cardle, McManus.
Subs not used: Gill, M’Voto, Smith, Shiels.
Goal: McManus (75)
Booked: Higginbotham (51), Morris (73), Cardle (79), Paton (88)

Dundee United: Lewis, Murdoch, Quinn, Durnan, Robson, Flood (Edjenguele 90), Fyvie, Stanton (Keatings 70), Fraser (McMullan 90), King, McDonald.
Subs not used: Mehmet, Allardice, Smith, Chalmers.
Goals: Fraser (15, 42)
Booked: Quinn, Robson (75).

Referee: Euan Anderson.
Attendance: 5,790