For United’s first league visit to Palmerston for 53 years, Manager Ray McKinnon made just the one change from the side that defeated Falkirk, Simon Murray coming in for Nick van der Velden who dropped to the bench.
By Peter Rundo
Queens, without a goal or a win in their last five league games, welcomed back former Dundee striker Derek Lyle after lengthy spell on the sidelines.
Queens threatened first with a penetrating run to the edge of the box by Lyndon Dykes after three minutes, but the United defence eventually cleared the danger.
Two minutes later, Scott Fraser fired just past after good work by Tony Andreu, although the referee awarded a corner despite no apparent deflection.
On seven minutes, Paul Dixon slipped allowing Grant Anderson in, but his shot from just outside the box fortunately drifted a yard or so wide of the far post.
Two successive corners brought the Terrors the opener after 14 minutes. Fraser’s first was headed away for another corner from which the unmarked Mark Durnan headed home.
That lead was doubled midway through the half when Dixon’s first time cross was cleverly nodded in at the near post from ten yards.
Tope Obadeyi then engineered an opening only to be crowded out.
The hosts had rarely threatened, but Fraser had to head away a dangerous Stephen Dobie cross and then Cammy Bell saved bravely at the feet of the dangerous Dykes.
However, there was a blow for United five minutes from the interval when Dixon went down in obvious pain had to be and stretchered off. Jamie Robson took over.
Just before the interval, a Jordan Marshall shot flashed narrowly past.
Then to the consternation of the healthy band of Arabs, the Doonhamers pulled one back when Dobie curled a free kick to the edge of the six-yard box which Anderson headed high into the net.
There was more bad news before the second period got underway with Luis Zwick coming on for skipper Cammy Bell.
Almost immediately after the restart, Fraser first timed a 20-yard volley just over.
And 12 minutes later, Fraser fired in United’s third. It followed fine play down the right and Frank van der Struik laying the ball into Fraser’s path and firing a fierce shot into the top right-hand corner.
Zwick’s touched the ball for the first time just after the hour break, comfortably saving from Dykes.
Shortly afterwards, a Chris Higgins header landed on the top of the bar and went over.
It was the visitors’ turn to hit the woodwork midway through the half, Simon Murray’s angled effort striking the outside of the post.
And a few minutes later, only a fine save by home keeper Lee Robinson denied Fraser after he had been played in by Murray.
But Robinson was beaten again 13 minutes from time when Andreu’s pass found Murray and the striker coolly steered the ball into the far corner from 12 yards.
Summing Up: A polished performance earned United a fourth straight win at a difficult venue to keep the pressure on Hibs who also won. But it came at a price with injuries to Paul Dixon who was stretchered off and Cammy Bell who was unable to resume after the interval.
Man of the Match: Several candidates, particularly Charlie Telfer and Tony Andreu, but as is becoming a habit, Scott Fraser was outstanding and gets the nod.
Queen of the South: Robinson, Marshall, Dowie, Brownlie, Higgins, Anderson (Brotherston 72), Millar, Lyle (Rigg 60), Dobbie, Jacobs (Hamill 74), Dykes.
Subs not used: Atkinson, Hooper, Pickard, Moxon.
United: Bell (Zwick 46) van der Struik, Durnan (Donaldson 76), Edjenguélé, Dixon, Flood, Telfer, Fraser, Andreu, C Smith, Murray.
Subs not used: Dillon, C Smith, Coote, van der Velden.
Queen of the South: Dowie
United: Fraser, Edjenguélé.
Attendance : 2316
Referee: S McLean