New US owner Ogren sees Tangerines close the gap at the top to just three points
FOR 80-plus minutes at Tannadice on Saturday, D u n de e Un ite d we r e providing a lesson in how not to make a good first impression on your new owner.
By the final whistle, though, for Minnesota millionaire Mark Ogren it was not too far from the perfect day as he watched the Terrors in person for the first time since buying the club almost a month ago.
Because, not only had his team managed to scrape a victory over Dunfermline, with top two Ross County and Ayr United both losing, the gap in the Championship title race had been reduced to just three points.
And if Ogren continues to dip his hand into his pocket between now and the end of the January transfer window to provide manager Robbie Neilson with funds for more new players, there is every reason for the fans to feel optimistic.
Without wishing to dampen the feelgood factor that erupted around the stadium between Nicky Clark getting the all-important winner and the final whistle, that the American needs to invest further in his team was again clear.
Because, as pleasing as this victory was, it could not disguise the fact United’s performance over the 90 minutes was again not great.
Going into this match with just one win from their previous six outings, the home side looked low on confidence.
They started tentatively and, for the second week running, fans had to suffer as a visiting team had the better of the first half.
At least this time United went in at the interval level and not behind as was the case against Partick Thistle.
New Pars boss Stevie Crawford, not so long ago expected to become No 2 at Tannadice, had set up his team to cancel out any threat posed by the opposition.
They did so pretty successfully and also did enough in those opening 45 minutes to feel they might have been ahead.
United, meanwhile, huffed and puffed without ever really getting going and, i n all honesty, although the pace was stepped up after the interval, for most of the second half they fared little better.
Lee Robinson in the Dunfermline goal did have one fine stop from Pavol Safranko but that came from the striker forcing a mistake from a defender and not a passage of decent build-up play.
At least when the vital goal did come, it involved good work and fine execution.
Aidan Nesbitt, one of the January arrivals, initially played the ball into fellow-new boy Cammy Smith and when he got it back, picked out Clark with a perfect chip for him to head home.
It was the one real moment of quality from either side in that second half and, thankfully, United were able to play out time without any mishap.
That put a smile on Ogren’s face but let there be no doubt about it – he needs to keep his cheque book out.
In a match that will be quickly forgotten, the stylish defender strolled it. Stewart Murdoch lies in a heap injured in the second half.