Dods’ spirited part-timers upset the odds by claiming a share of the spoils after central defender Sean Crighton’s early second-half header cancelled out Scott McDonald’s 29th-minute opener for the Tangerines, who had Tam Scobbie sent off in the final minute.
The Angus outfit are still searching for their first league win this season, but former United defender Dods has told them they can survive – provided they can reproduce this standard of showing which left the Championship leaders on the ropes. “If we play with that spirit the wins will come – no doubt about it,” said Dods afterwards. “We gave United too much respect in the first-half. But I thought the guys gave a magnificent effort today.
“To play a quality team like United and to limit them to just one shot on target in the second-half speaks volumes for the players.
“I thought we could have won it in the end and we played the game like a cup tie in the second half.”
Brechin began brightly against league leaders United, who’d stuck by the same side which had swept aside Falkirk 3-0 the previous week at Tannadice.
McDonald tested home keeper Graeme Smith, who did well to parry his effort aside, and the former Celtic striker was unlucky again in the 16th minute when his cute flick was cleared off the line.
It was only a matter of time before United made the breakthrough and they struck in the 29th minute.
Stewart Murdoch switched the ball to Scott Fraser who knocked it on to McDonald and the Aussie finished smartly from six-yards.
United ought to have extended their lead but they were shocked two minutes after the interval when unmarked Crighton rose to plant a header in the corner of Harry Lewis’s net from eight yards.
From then on, Brechin took charge but McDonald scooped the ball over from point-blank range in the 88th minute, before Brechin substitute Jordan Sinclair could have snatched it in injury time when through on goal, only to be fouled by Scobbie who collected his second yellow and marching orders.
Just before the final whistle, Lewis spared United’s blushes with a wonderful save from Finn Graham.
United manager Csaba Laszlo, whose side remain one point ahead of second-top St Mirren, said: “It was a game of two different halves.
“In the first 45 minutes, we were dominant and should have had one or two goals more. But after the break it was a different story.
“We have to be honest and say that we could have lost the game.”