The Dark Blues extended their lead at the top of the Championship to four points with a narrow and hard fought 1-0 win over Queen of the South at Palmerston Park. Ryan Conroy scored the winning goal from the penalty spot at the end of the first half. Queens' keeper Jim Atkinson was sent off for fouling Martin Boyle in the incident that led to the penalty.
Paul Hartley sent out an unchanged line up, and made only one change on the bench. New signing Sean Bonnett-Johnson replaced Cameron Kerr on the bench.
Paul Hartley said that he wanted Dundee to play the same style home and away, and the tactical formation was exactly the same as last week. MacDonald was the lone striker, with Boyle and Conroy offering width. McAlister played in the hole behind the striker, while McBride and Rae were holding midfielders.
In the first game of the season Queens tore Dundee's defence apart with an aggressive 4-3-3 formation. Today they were playing a more conservative 4-4-2, with a narrow midfield diamond. The full backs Mitchell and Holt provided width and both put dangerous crosses into the box in the early stages.
Queens started the better side, but Dundee came back well and after the opening 10 minutes had slightly the better of an even first half.
There were few chances for either side before half time. A Gavin Rae volley was deflected over the Queens' crossbar and a fast break by McBride and Boyle ended with McAlister's shot being charged down. Dyer saw a cross shot flash wide after he worked a good move down the left with MacDonald.
Queens' best effort was a McShane snap shot from 18 yards that Letheren did well to clutch.
The game sprang into life a minute before half time. Martin Boyle raced onto MacDonald's through ball and nudged it past young keeper Jim Atkinson, who bowled Boyle over. It seemed more a matter of the goalie's momentum catching Boyle rather than a deliberate foul, but the Dee striker would have rolled the ball into the open goal. Goalkeepers rarely get the benefit of the doubt in that situation and Mr Cook pulled out his red card after pointing to the penalty spot.
Striker Bob McHugh was sacrificed to allow reserve keeper Calum Antell onto the pitch. The newcomer nearly managed to repeat Dan Twardzik's instant heroics from a few weeks ago. He got his fingertips to the ball, but couldn't stop Ryan CONROY's spot kick nestling in the corner of the net.
Martin Boyle should have given Dundee a crucial two goal lead early in the second half. First he blazed a MacDonald knockdown well over the bar. Next he ran clear onto a MacDonald pass and slipped the ball past the keeper only to see it roll just outside the post.
Boyle then sprinted down the left, skipped past Durnan and cut the ball back for McAlister who miskicked, allowing Queens to escape.
The Doonhamers threw on their remaining two substitutes early in the second half, Russell and Lyle replacing Reilly and McShane. They were struggling to get into the game against the Dark Blues who were dominating the midfield and making their extra man count. Queens repeatedly gave the ball away by rushing it forward too quickly.
Dundee nearly allowed Queens back into the game by gifting them a golden chance. Benedictus played a careless crossfield pass out of defence straight to Paton, who sent Lyle through on goal. Letheren saved what seemed a certain goal, rushing out to block. The Dark Blues failed to deal with the resulting corner and Russell lashed a shot against the underside of the crossbar.
It was Dundee's turn to rattle the woodwork next when substitute Christian Nadé smashed a great 30 yard shot off the post with keeper Antell spectating.
Boyle missed another good chance when Irvine sent him through, but Antell saved. Queens tried desperately to get back into the game towards the end, but couldn't open Dundee up in open play. Letheren had to tip over a Durnan header from a corner, but Dundee were able to close out the game relatively comfortably.
A win in Dumfries is always a tough task and three points today should be a massive boost for the players. It wasn't the thrilling spectacle that neutrals would have been hoping for, but it was certainly an enjoyable trip for the supporters.
The Dark Blues failed to repeat the fireworks of the opening first half last week, but they were solid and professional, doing just enough to deserve all the points. With a bit more composure in front of goal it would have been a more relaxing second half, but I doubt if many fans are complaining as they head up the road.
The new formation that the Dee tried out last week worked well again today, and the players looked comfortable operating it.
So two games into Paul Hartley's managerial career at Dens and the Dee have six invaluable points from tough fixtures. By anyone's standards that's a good start.
Queen of the South 4-1-2-1-2
Mitchell, Durnan, Dowie, Holt
McKenna, McShane (Russell 51)
McHugh (Antell, goalkeeper, 44), Reilly (Lyle 51)
Unused subs: Carmichael, Higgins, Dzierzawski, Young
Booked: Dow (foul on Boyle), Russell (dissent)
Sent off: Atkinson (denying goalscoring opportunity, foul on Boyle for penalty)
Dundee FC 4-2-3-1
Irvine, Gallagher, Benedictus, Dyer
Boyle, McAlister, Conroy (Monti 64)
MacDonald (Nadé 66)
Unused subs: Twardzik (gk), Lockwood, Cummins, Bonnett-Johnson, Wighton
Goal: Conroy (45 pen)
Booked: Irvine (foul on Russell)
Referee: Barry Cook
Report: James Christie