PARS 2 Dundee United 0

ATHLETIC ended a 13-year wait for a home win over Dundee United after a hugely impressive display this afternoon.

Kevin Nisbet's 23rd goal of the season, followed by Jonathan Afolabi's first for the club, gave them a richly deserved success against the runaway league leaders.

In what was a terrific response to a midweek reverse against Inverness, Nisbet's looping header gave Stevie Crawford's men a first half lead.

Then, just after the hour mark, teenager Afolabi netted his maiden Dunfermline goal with a simple finish at the far post after brilliant work by Dom Thomas.

Although there was a slight downside in Nisbet being forced off with injury late on, and a knock sustained in the opening period by Aaron Comrie, nothing should detract from this Pars performance.

They were a threat in attack, they were full of energy and tenacity, defended superbly to keep United's opportunities to a minimum, and simply outplayed and outbattled their opponents.

Robbie Neilson's side remain red-hot favourites to go on and win the league, but this victory will undoubtedly give Athletic's play-off aspirations a major boost.

Pars boss Crawford was forced into one, enforced, alteration to his starting line-up after Tuesday's defeat to Inverness.

Ryan Dow missed out against his former club due to a hamstring problem and was replaced by Scotland under-19 cap Ethan Ross, making only his second start since joining on loan from Aberdeen in January.

The hosts were chasing a first home win in 11 attempts against the Taysiders, and to avenge two, 2-0 losses to them this season, and made a decent start.

They forced a few early corners and, in the ninth minute, top scorer Nisbet found himself with plenty of time and space to move into outside the area, but he scuffed his effort.

Minutes later, former United midfielder, Paul Paton, clipped a fine ball over the top for Afolabi to chase on to.

With the angle against the on-loan Celtic striker, he dragged his shot well wide - it went out for a throw-in - when he perhaps could have waited to find a team-mate.

In the 16th minute, though, Dunfermline suffered a blow when right back Comrie was forced off through injury, to be replaced by Lewis Martin, before Nisbet followed Afolabi in sending an attempt way wide after Paton once more picked out one of his striking team-mates.

United soon had their first sight of goal, with Rakish Bingham firing over after Liam Smith laid the ball into his feet, but they were behind in the 26th minute.

It was a terrific goal from the home team's viewpoint.

Athletic had caused United issues with balls over the top throughout the opening period, and Kyle Turner clipped a tremendous ball into the penalty area.

There, he found an unmarked Nisbet, who did tremendously well to loop his header over Benjamin Siegrist and into the back of the net.

Towards the end of the half, Ross was foiled by Siegrist before Nisbet hit the post, only to be flagged offside, before Lawrence Shankland had a sniff at goal.

Jamie Robson sent a terrific cross in from the left and the former Dunfermline loanee, unmarked, could only direct it towards goal with his thigh, allowing Owain Fon Williams to gather.

Soon after the break, Nisbet had another opportunity when he was freed down the right, and struck the near post with a powerful drive.

But, on the hour mark, a second goal did arrive - and what a moment it was for Afolabi.

Dunfermline broke down the right and Thomas, who lashed in a beauty on Tuesday night, produced a superb delivery to the far post, where the on-loan Celtic youngster had the simple task of tapping into the net.

It was a great moment for Afolabi, who was booked for his celebration, and he was soon away again after Turner released him with a wonderful pass down the right channel.

Afolabi elected not to shoot, but try to find Ross with a cut-back, but United's defence just about recovered to clear.

Turner then had a go from the resultant corner - which came after Ross limped off to be replaced by Joe Thomson - but shot wide of Siegrist's near post as Dunfermline went in search of a third goal.

There was a blow for the home side when Nisbet, with 13 minutes left, hobbled off in place of Tom Beadling after getting hurt in going up for a header, and the visitors had a chance as the clocked ticked into the final 10 minutes.

On as a substitute, former Par Paul McMullan picked out Shankland with a cross from the right, but his header landed on the roof of the net.

At the other end, Thomas sent a free-kick over as Dunfermline looked to see matters out, but McMullan was looking dangerous for United.

Lee Ashcroft defended superbly to concede a corner from an inviting ball to the near post, where Shankland was waiting, while Danny Devine was there to block another excellent centre from the winger.

But this was Dunfermline's day, and they saw the match out to finally burst their Tangerine hoodoo.

Pars: Fon Williams, Comrie, Devine, Ashcroft, Murray, Ross, Paton, Turner, Thomas, Nisbet, Afolabi.

Subs: Martin, Thomson, Beadling, Edwards, Todd, McCann, Gill.

United: Siegrist, Smith, Powers, Connolly, Pawlett, Bingham, Robson, Harkes, Shankland, Appere, Watson.

Subs: Sporle, Reynolds, McMullan, Glass, Freeman, Neilson, Mehmet.

Referee: Graham Beaton.