A SECOND half penalty from Mark Docherty sealed a fine 1-0 win for Dumbarton against promotion hopefuls Dundee United at the CID Stadium in the Scottish Championship.

The visitors dominated the opening stages but the Sons grew into the game as the half went on.

And the home side’s increasing pressure told early in the second half after Gregor Buchanan was fouled after 54 minutes, with stand in centre-back converting his third penalty in two games to give the Sons a vital win.

This was Dumbarton’s first win against the Tangerines in the league since 1995, and continues the Sons’ fine form at home last season, making it one loss in 11 games at home in the Scottish Championship.

Dundee dominated the possession stats in the first half, but did little with the ball to threaten Alan Martin in the Dumbarton goal.

The best chance of the first half fell to Gregor Buchanan after 35 minutes, Robert Thomson nodded down a Ryan Stevenson corner to the centre-back, but in a crowded box he fired just over the bar from eight yards out.

And the Sons were camped inside the United half for the opening 10 minutes of the second half, with Stevenson crashing a free kick off the crossbar, a fine save from Cammy Bell to tip the ball on to the upright, giving the hosts a corner.

But it was from that corner Ray Mackinnon’s men conceded a penalty, the referee not hesitating in pointing to the spot after Buchanan was pulled down in the box.

Docherty duly obliged, firing in from the spot to give the Sons the lead.

Dundee United began to control the game from then on, but were denied by a fine Martin save.

The first after 65 minutes, Jamie Robinson rifling a shot that look destined for the top corner of the goal from 10 yards out, but the former Hamilton man produced a brilliant reaction save to deny the visitors.

But the visitors were rarely able to threaten Martin in goal after that, the Sons defence able to clear most of the danger created by the away side.

In truth Dundee United looked disjointed and sloppy in their passing, although that was mainly down to Dumbarton’s tireless efforts in chasing down every ball, and putting pressure on the United players.

In particular David Smith, Stevenson and Robert Thomson worked endlessly in defence to frustrate the Dundee United players and their travelling supporters grew more and more angry by the minute.

And the back four dealt with almost everything that was thrown at them, and the return of Grant Gallagher to the side allowed players like Joe Thomson to have more freedom around the park.

Dumbarton played a 4-4-2 system, different from Aikten’s previously used formation during their Betfred Cup campaign, and with Stevenson given a role further up front, providing Robert Thomson more support it looks to have reaped its rewards instantly.

Dumbarton’s next game is away to Greenock Morton in the league next Saturday, kick-off 3pm.

Dumbarton: Martin, Pettigrew, Docherty, Thomson, Buchanan, Stevenson, Todd, Gallagher, Thomson, Harvie, Smith Substitutes: Barclay, McCallum, Clark, Kassarate, Stirling.

Dundee United: Bell, Durnan Donaldson, Toshney, Spittal, Murdoch, Fraser, Obadeyi, Smith, Flood, Robinson Substitutes: Zwick, Dillon, Murray, Telfer, Coote, Van der Velden, Souttar.