Make no mistake, United had to fight for the points against a well-organised and determined Paisley outfit.
As expected, United came out as if they were to take on the world. In a blistering opening, they almost grabbed the lead in the first minute after a superb run from Craig Conway.
Flying down the left, he curled in a low shot which Jon Daly narrowly missed. As the Tangerines piled forward, the winger put in another great shot before Darren Dods missed an easy header from Conway's corner.
As United pushed forward creating seven corners in the opening seven minutes, Dods had a great shot blocked on the line by the keeper. Then, from the resulting corner, the unlucky defender headed over from two yards when it seemed easier to score.
Despite all this, it was only a brilliant save by Lukasz Zaluska that prevented a Hugh Murray bullet from hitting the net in the 23rd minute - a truly excellent eight-yard volley that was matched by the save.
This seemed to knock the Tangerines out their stride and it was not until the final minute of the half that they came close with a Francisco Sandaza effort skimming over the bar from 16 yards.
The second period opened with a Sandaza appeal for a penalty but it was rightly waved away by the referee and was followed by a superb save from Zalusak from Billy Mehmet after the striker had easily turned Dods.
But it was a case of another corner, another chance for the Terrors as Dods, again, suffered misfortune with his header hitting the bar. And the hosts continued to miss chances with Scott Robertson slicing wide from 12 yards with the goal at his mercy.
The large home support had a big scare with a 72nd minute effort from Hugh Murray which was blocked on the line by Morgaro Gomis.
But the chances kept on coming for United and Lee Wilkie was the next sinner heading Paul Dixon's free-kick past the post with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Finally, in the 85th minute, the elusive goal came with a strike from substitute Roy O'Donovan.
The on-loan striker cut inside and scooped the ball in off the shoulder of Will Haining and the points were won in the final minute with a 45-yard run and super strike from Craig Conway.