There were two changes from the midweek game against Celtic. Coke and Saunders replaced Jutkiewicz and Lasley. Saunders started at Right back and Hateley moved up to right midfield.
We got off to the worse possible start in only three minutes when Fraser made a mess of a simple pass back. He took a touch at the edge of the box rather than the safer option of a first time clearance but he then lost his footing as Daly threatened. Under sever pressure he attempted to clear but the ball struck the forward and the rebound trundled into the empty net.
Reynolds heads high
Poor Fraser never regained his confidence and his nervousness cost us the second when his attempted return to Reynolds led to a needless corner. Daly thundered the flag kick home just before half time. In between Sutton had brought us back to equality with a fine far-post header from a Hateley corner.
Saunders had looked lively as an attacking right back and he supplied a few tempting crosses in the opening period. Reynolds pushed up and but could not find the target when presented with a straightforward chance inside the box.
Craigan hobbled off on 35 minutes and Humphrey was chosen as his replacement. Most Saunders moved to the centre but to the surprise of many of the home fans Hateley did not retreat to the defensive position. Humphrey was given the right back position and we paid the price three minutes after the restart.
Conway took possession just inside his own half on our right wing. Humphrey committed himself but did not make the stop. The United man swept goalwards and fire a low effort which dipped below the luckless Fraser. We were 3-1 down and the game was over.
The team battled away and had a good penalty shout turned down when Pernis seemed to impede Sutton but our striker gathered his second of the match when a perfectly weighted chip from Hateley offered an easy header.
We had ten minutes to scramble for an equaliser but United were able to see time out. It is clear that we are a much softer target without Ruddy and Craigan and Messers Brown and Knox will be aware that we will have to find another 'keeper if ruddy, as expected, leaves in the summer.
Fortunately Hearts lost at Ibrox, so we maintain the four point cushion in fifth place. Our hope of making fourth spot took a big blow today - all the more reason to get right behind united in the Cup final!