Chris Mochrie came back to haunt Dunfermline with a late winner as Dundee United stretched their lead at the top of the Scottish Championship.
The game burst to life shortly before half-time as Kai Fotheringham pounced on the rebound to head his seventh goal of the season when Deniz Mehmet could only parry Liam Grimshaw’s strike.
United – held by Inverness last weekend – were heading for more dropped points after Owen Moffat ran from halfway and capitalised on Declan Gallagher’s slip to slot the equaliser.
But Mochrie, who spent last season on loan at Dunfermline, delivered the decisive moment.
The midfielder swivelled and lashed a shot past fellow substitute Harrison Sharp, who had replaced the injured Mehmet at half-time.
Sharp ought to have done better but United’s momentum had been building, with Louis Moult twice denied and Glenn Middleton drilling narrowly wide.
The dramatic win moves United – still unbeaten in the league this season – seven points clear of second-place Raith Rovers, albeit having played two games more.
Dunfermline remain in the top four on goal difference but have now suffered four defeats in five.
Dundee United boss Jim Goodwin: “Delighted with the team and the performance. Not accepting the point away from home, pushing right to the end and getting maximum points.
“Chris Mochrie’s got that in his locker. He’s a really good young talent for us. It’s good that the two substitutes combined and got the points for us.”
- 1MehmetSubstituted forSharpat 45′minutesBooked at 82mins
- 5HamiltonBooked at 67mins
- 6OtooBooked at 65mins
- 2ComrieSubstituted forRitchie-Hoslerat 75′minutes
- 23O’HalloranSubstituted forMcCannat 22′minutesBooked at 83mins
- 17MoffatSubstituted forToddat 55′minutes
- 9WightonSubstituted forJakubiakat 60′minutes
- 31GallagherBooked at 90mins
- 16TillsonBooked at 70minsSubstituted forMochrieat 71′minutes
- 18FotheringhamSubstituted forGlassat 61′minutes
- 32WattSubstituted forAnim Cudjoeat 60′minutes
- 9MoultBooked at 87mins
- 28Anim Cudjoe
- Chris Graham
Match ends, Dunfermline Athletic 1, Dundee United 2.
Second Half ends, Dunfermline Athletic 1, Dundee United 2.
Attempt missed. Lewis McCann (Dunfermline Athletic) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high from a direct free kick.
Declan Gallagher (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Alex Jakubiak (Dunfermline Athletic) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Declan Gallagher (Dundee United).
Louis Moult (Dundee United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Sam Fisher (Dunfermline Athletic) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Louis Moult (Dundee United).
Goal! Dunfermline Athletic 1, Dundee United 2. Chris Mochrie (Dundee United) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Mathew Anim Cudjoe.
Lewis McCann (Dunfermline Athletic) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Lewis McCann (Dunfermline Athletic).
Declan Glass (Dundee United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Glenn Middleton (Dundee United) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Harrison Sharp (Dunfermline Athletic) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt missed. Glenn Middleton (Dundee United) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.
Attempt missed. Declan Glass (Dundee United) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left.
Josh Edwards (Dunfermline Athletic) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Liam Grimshaw (Dundee United).
Substitution, Dunfermline Athletic. Kane Ritchie-Hosler replaces Aaron Comrie.