Dundee remained top of the table last night but saw their hopes of strengthening their grip at the top of the Championship foiled by Hamilton’s late show.
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Iain Davidson was the hero for Paul Hartley’s men who remain one point clear of nearest rivals Accies with just six games remaining in their quest for a top-flight return. Davidson struck with a textbook header just before the hour mark to sink spirited Queen of the South who had laid siege to Kyle Letheren’s goal for much of the game.
But Hamilton kept up the pressure with a last-gasp 3-2 win over Raith to stay a point behind the league leaders.
Jim McIntyre’s Queen of the South side were always a threat at Dens with Derek Lyle coming close towards the end of a nervy 90 minutes for the league leaders. But the night belonged to Dundee who held out to inch closer to their goal of securing a return to Scottish Football’s top tier.
On-loan Motherwell defender Adam Cummins came in for his Dundee debut for the suspended Kyle Benedictus. Peter MacDonald, who climbed off the bench to hit a late winner at Dumbarton the previous weekend, led the line up front while skipper Gavin Rae returned.
Dundee had a chance in eight minutes when Martin Boyle ran on to MacDonald’s defence- splitting pass. But with only visiting keeper Zander Clark to beat, Boyle saw his well-struck shot turned wide for a corner.
It was all Dundee and soon after Boyle had another chance from another MacDonald set-up. This time Boyle was running away from goal but still managed to unleash a decent effort, which went narrowly wide of the target.
Midway through the first-half, Letheren came to the rescue for the hosts again as he dived to parry wide Gavin Reilly’s long-distance drive.
That gave the Doonhamers a lift and 60 seconds later they threatened again as Burns fed ex-Dundee man Derek Lyle, only for Letheren to deny him with a point-blank save. As half-time approached, Reilly had another effort on goal which Letheren was again equal to, this time from 12 yards.
The visitors had the first chance after the break when skipper Chris Higgins let fly from outside the box, forcing Letheren to gather smartly.
At the other end, the home team caught Queens on the attack as Boyle burst clear down the right. His delicate cross into the box had the Dundee fans off their feet, but MacDonald was just yards away from making contact.
However, the Taysiders weren’t to be denied as they took the lead in 58 minutes.
Jim McAlister’s deep free-kick was met at the far post by Davidson whose looping header beat Clark from ten yards to bring a huge sense of relief for the league leaders.
Midway through the second-half, Rae had a chance to increase their lead and provide some breathing space but the Dundee midfielder dragged his effort well wide from 16 yards.
Queens weren’t out of it and Lyle had a chance to level inside the box but was thwarted by Letheren’s one-handed save as the hosts stayed strong from then on in to secure victory.
Dundee: Letheren, Irvine, Cummins, Gallacher, Dyer, Rae, Iain Davidson, Boyle, McAlister, Riley (Nade 73), MacDonald (Conroy 81). Subs not used: Lockwood, Doris, Reid, Twardzik, Beattie.
Queen of the South: Clark, Mitchell, Higgins, Durnan, Dowie, Burns, McShane (Russell 74), Kerr, Paton (Carmichael 74), Lyle, Reilly (McHugh 80). Subs not used: Kidd, Atkinson, Holt, McKenna.
Referee: E Anderson