Dumbarton ended 2016 on a high, securing their second 1-0 win against promotion hopefuls Dundee United at the CID Stadium on Saturday.

In stormy conditions Mark Docherty’s freak goal fooled United goalkeeper Cammy Bell, his cross flying into the top corner after 27 minutes.

And despite late pressure from the visitors, in which they hit the post and had an attempt cleared off the line, the Sons held on.

Stevie Aitken’s side move up seventh place – Dunfermline’s game against Raith Rovers took place after The Reporter went to press.

The Sons manager made only one change to the side that drew 4-4 last week with Ayr, with the suspended Andy Stirling being replaced by Sam Stanton.

Dundee looked most threatening in the opening exchanges of the game, with some slick passing in the slippery conditions, looking most dangerous down the left-hand side.

But the first chance of the game fell to Stanton, with the Hibernian loanee trying to catch Bell off his line but his long-range effort went just wide.

After United’s bright start the game began to turn into a midfield battle, with much of the play happening in the middle of the park.

But the home side took the lead shortly before the half-hour mark when Docherty’s cross on the left was meant to pick out Josh Todd but instead the ball flew into the top corner of the net thanks to the strong wind for Docherty’s fourth goal of the season.

This spurred on Dumbarton, who went close to doubling their lead.

Garry Fleming, whose hold-up play was key to the Sons’ efforts all day, began a counter attack in the 38th minute. The ball went to Harvie on the left, who crossed to Joe Thomson. The on-loan Celtic midfielder smashed the ball on the half volley but it flew just over the bar.

The Tangerines picked themselves up towards the end of the first half and had their best chance after 41 minutes.

Willo Flood’s drilled shot forced Alan Martin into a good save, but the visitors were not at their best on Hogmanay.

Conditions deteriorated in the second half, making it difficult for both teams to pass the ball around.

The United boss threw on substitutes Tope Obadeyi and Cammy Smith midway through the second half to inject some life into his team.

And it seemed to work as Ray MacKinnon’s side began to dominate both territory and possession as they looked for an equaliser. They were almost level when a Scott Fraser corner took a wicked deflection and rebounded off the crossbar.

Then Docherty produced a vital last-ditch interception to prevent Fraser’s cross from reaching Nick Van der Velden.

And Fraser sent a 30-yard free-kick just over as United’s efforts to find an equaliser grew increasingly desperate.

There was an almighty goalmouth scramble four minutes from time but the away side couldn’t convert it and William Edjenguele blasted over when the ball eventually came loose.

And the Tangerines knew it wasn’t to be their day when a stoppage-time header from Mark Durnan rebounded from a post.

The club also confirmed after the game that Ryan Stevenson and Joe Thomson had left the club, with Christian Nade rejoining the Sons.