Ladbrokes Championship: Queen of the South 2 Dunfermline 1: 20/04/19

Queen of the South recorded their fifth home win of this Championship season with a 2-1 win over Dunfermline on Easter Saturday.

The first trip to Palmerston Park this season was dominated by the weather with supporters warned about the risk of travelling in conditions that included freezing rain. This time the only weather warning was to apply plenty of sunscreen and keep hydrated as summer arrived in Scotland and 21C a stark contrast to the last time.

Stevie Crawford made three changes to his starting eleven. Tom Beadling, Danny Devine and James Vincent dropped out making way for Ryan Williamson, Mark Durnan and Louis Longridge.

Following their defeat at Alloa the previous week, Queen of the South made two changes, Connor Murray for Darren Brownlie and Deniz Mehmet preferred in goals instead of Jack Leighfield. The home side needed a win since victories for Partick Thistle and Falkirk elsewhere could send the Doonhamers to the bottom of the league.

The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the home end but it was their keeper Ryan Scully who was first to hold the ball after just 30 seconds. Within another Connor Murray sent a shot wide left.

Queens continued to press in the opening minutes with Jackson Longridge clearing crosses into the Pars box from the left in both third and fourth minutes. Dunfermline’s first shot on target came in eight minutes when James Craigen launched a good effort from 25 yards out, the Queens keeper held however.

Scully had to take care to catch a shot lobbed in from 40 yards out on the right touch line by Michael Doyle and next Williamson hooked away a tricky ball searching for Josh Todd at the far post.

Dunfermline still we’re not causing their hosts enough danger, a Ryan Blair free kick overhit and out beyond the right upright. The home support rose to welcome a goal in 26 minutes after Murray powered a header on target from a Jordan Marshall cross but Scully dived to his left to turn the ball around his post.

At the other end Mehmet pushed away a good ball on from L Longridge and Craigen blasted the follow up wide. The Pars put together a patient build up before Faissal El Bakhtaoui crashed a 20 yard attempt narrowly over the Queens crossbar.

Anderson tried one from 25 yards but his shot spun behind off Barry Maguire and Blair’s 33rd minute corner from the right did not alter things. The home manager Gary Naysmith could be heard shouting to his team ‘to lift it’ but when treatment was required to Scott Mercer, a water break resulted and the momentum had to be rediscovered.

It was the Fifers who would create the next chance eight minutes from the break, Anderson picked out El Bakhtaoui on the right and he in turn passed for Matty Todd to drive a shot on target from the edge of the box but that was blocked by the defence.

An Anderson cross was flicked away by Mercer before it could reach L Longridge and then Todd went on a soaring run up the right but ran out of ground before he could get in the cross. Stirling won a 44th minute corner off Lee Ashcroft. Murray’s delivery in from the right was never fully cleared, he got a second bite at it and then Stirling. WILSON latched on to the chance and drove in the opener beating Scully down to his right. 1-0

It had not been Dunfermline’s best first half, Queen of the South had shown more urgency and their fans would feel that they deserved their half time lead.

Half time: Queen of the South 1 Dunfermline 0

When the second half resumed Scully had to drop forward to gather a Lyndon Dykes cross from the left side of the penalty box. Next Dykes got the better of his marker and slipped the ball to Todd on his right and he whistled a shot narrowly wide off a Pars man.

Darren Brownlie replaced Scott Mercer in 49 minutes and play continued to be in the Fifers half. Queens possession paid off when three minutes later, TODD broke into the left side of the Pars box to drive a low shot in at the far post. 2-0

LaceMyles Hippolyte was introduced in place of a Faissal El Bakhtaoui in 54 minutes but Queens were dominating at this stage and J Longridge was yellow carded for a rather desperate stop on Stirling on the edge of the Pars penalty box. From the free kick a corner followed where J Longridge cleared the danger.

A second Pars substitution saw Kallum Higginbotham replace Matthew Todd in 62 minutes. The home side then created a great opportunity at the midpoint of the second half, Todd feeding Marshall the ball for the left back to cut back across the Pars box but there was no connection and only Dykes ended up in the net.

An Andy Stirling run in 72 minutes ended up with a shot from 20 yards that Scully held. It seemed a long time since the Pars had got in a shot but two minutes later L Longridge swung a ball in from the left that gave Anderson two bites at a chance but Mehmet forced the ball behind. Queens defended the corner and in next to no time Todd hit a shot that deflected for a corner off Higginbotham.

In 77 minutes Lewis McCann came on for Louis Longridge but immediately Scully was called upon to take the ball from Dykes feet on the edge of the box. At the other end Anderson sent a header over the crossbar.

McCann forced a useful ball to Williamson on the top of the Queens box and his lay off to Hippolyte was switched on for Anderson but the touch was too strong.

The Pars were to get a consolation goal in the fifth minute of added time when J LONGRIDGE headed in from a Ryan Blair corner from the right. Hippolyte flicked the ball to the back post where the full back was on hand to head home. 2-1

The result was a huge relief to everyone in Dumfries, it lifted Queens to seventh place, four ahead of Falkirk at the foot and three behind the Pars. There are two fixtures remaining and although the Pars in fifth have 41 points a win over sixth placed Morton in the next match would go a long way to ensuring they finish fifth.

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Deniz Dogan Mehmet: Scott Mercer (Darren Brownlie 49), Michael Doyle, Barry Maguire (Callum Fordyce 81), Jordan Marshall: Andy Stirling, Kyle Jacobs (c), Iain Wilson, Josh Todd: Connor Murray (Nicky Low 83), Lyndon Dykes.
SUBS NOT USED: Ian McGrath, Ross Irving, Jack Leighfield (GK).
SCORERS: Wilson (45), Todd (52)
YELLOW CARD: Murray (45+1)

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Ryan Williamson, Mark Durnan, Lee Ashcroft (c), Jackson Longridge: Matthew Todd (Kallum Higginbotham 62), Louis Longridge (Lewis McCann 77) James Craigen, Ryan Blair: Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Myles Hippolyte 54), Bruce Anderson.
SUBS NOT USED: Paul Allan, Aidan Connolly, Stuart Morrison, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: J Longridge (90+5)
YELLOW CARD: J Longridge (60), Williamson (71)

REFEREE: Steven Reid
WEATHER: Sunny 21C

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (home) v Morton, Saturday 27th April 2019, kick off 3.00pm at East End Park

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