Ladbrokes Championship: Queen of the South 1 Dunfermline 1: 10/08/19
The verdict was two points dropped after Dunfermline failed to take a multitude of first half chances that should have seen them out of sight by the interval.
Allan Johnston welcomed his previous club to Palmerston Park for Queen of the South’s first home league match of the season. He made two changes from the side that started the goalless draw at Arbroath the previous Saturday with Lewis Kidd and Jack Hamilton making way for Lee Kilday and freshly signed Faissal El Bakhtaoui. Scott Mercer and Michael Paton completed the former Pars connections.
Pars boss Stevie Crawford also made two changes from the side he fielded against Dundee. Into the visitors’ starting eleven came Kyle Turner and Andy Ryan. Lewis McCann and Josh Coley found themselves on the bench.
The home side kicked off defending the goal in front of their own supporters and Connor Murray tested Ryan Scully with a strong low shot on target after just 50 seconds. It was El Bakhtaoui who sent the ball left to Murray and he got in the shot despite Aaron Comrie tracking him back.
Tom Beadling had the first Dunfermline shot, his fifth minute attempt from the edge of the box being held by the young on loan Rangers keeper, Robby McCrorie. Two minutes later the keeper held a Ryan header from a Comrie free kick but on the next attack the Pars took the lead.
Kyle TURNER dipped his shoulder and waltzed past defenders before striking the ball into the right side of the Queens goal from 20 yards out. Kyle’s third goal of the competitive season made it 0-1.
Kevin Nisbet came very close to adding a second in eleventh minute. He skinned Darren Brownlie out on the left wing and as McCrorie came out almost succeeded in finding the net through him but the man in orange held after his block.
At the other end the bounce of the ball created difficulties for the Pars defence in 15 minutes and El Bakhtaoui collided with Scully in his efforts to challenge. Physio Kevin Bain came on to mend the keeper and play continued 90 seconds later.
When Ryan teed him up, Nisbet fired a 19th minute shot narrowly wide left and then Ryan broke through down the left channel only to lose his footing under challenge from Brownlie as the rain came on.
Brownlie made a poor clearance on Andy Dow’s cross, setting up Ryan for a clear shot at goal but from the edge of the box the Pars no.10 sent the ball wide right.
With 34 minutes on the clock the rain briefly got very heavy and thunder could be heard in the vicinity. Two corners from the right delivered by Ryan did nothing to change things although McCrorie was not convincing as he squeezed behind the first at his near post.
Pressure continued to be exerted in front of the Queens goal but they cleared Dow’s 38th minute corner from the right. Paton next launched a high ball into the Queens box that caused bedlam with Dow emerging to attack the goal but the cut to Beadling was blocked and then Mercer cleared Dow’s acute angle effort off the line. By this time the linesman’s flag was raised and Queens survived.
Gary Oliver glanced a corner wide left but the offside flag was already up. Kevin Holt crashed a 45th minute effort over Scully’s bar as his strikers appeared to be shot shy. Last chance of the half saw Brownlie power a header on to the crossbar from a Michael Paton free kick on the right side.
The stats showed 53% possession for the home side but only three shots to the Fifers eight. It was the 361 Dunfermline supporters who were the happier at the break.
Half time: Queen of the South 0 Dunfermline 1
Before the second half got underway Allan Johnston replaced Callum Semple with Lewis Kidd meaning Lee Kilday moved into a central defensive role. It was Queens who threatened first in the second 45 with Murray firing a 49th minute free kick wide left from 28 yards out.
In 55 minutes Nisbet burst down the right and when he prodded the ball right for Beadling McCrorie came out after him. The former Sunderland man cut back for Ryan and he did the right thing in trying the shot but with the keeper struggling for position a defender headed away the net bound shot.
Michael Paton flighted in a corner from the left that Scully pushes behind at the far post to deny El Bakhtaoui. The next corner from the right this time picked out Holt but Scully easily held the defender’s header.
Then in 62 minutes it was Holt who collected a headed clearance to slip OLIVER in on the left side of the Dunfermline box. The former Hearts youth rounded Ashcroft and delicately slipped the ball past the advancing Scully. 1-1
First Dunfermline sub was then deployed with Josh Coley replacing Andy Ryan. Urgency was immediately shown with Nisbet breaking, Dow battling for a cross and the travelling support doing their very best to encourage their side on. Turner’s pass for Nisbet was just too strong.
Having just collected a yellow card Michael Paton was subbed by Jack Hamilton. Nisbet curled a 72nd minute free kick from 20 yards out over the five man wall and over the crossbar. Back at the other end a Murray free kick from the right was met by Brownlie and Scully pushed the header on to his crossbar and behind for a corner.
The corner created more trouble and Scully eventually fisted away the ball. But the pressure was not off and Queens almost notched a second as Paton’s clearance came back off his right goalpost.
On 80 minutes the home side had a penalty claim when Connor Murray went over in the box. Referee Steven Reid pointed but goal kick was his decision much to the relief of the visitors.
Dow and Coley combined on the left but after their interchanges the former’s cross couldn’t find Nisbet inside the Queens box. Lewis McCann replaced Kyle Turner in 88 minutes and the Fifers had the final chance from a 91st minute corner but Euan Murray headed it wide. The Pars defender was injured when he fell nastily and was stretchered off after a delay of seven minutes. Fortunately that turn out not to be the serious neck injury that was initially feared.
Two points dropped however since the Fifers should probably been further ahead at half time and uncatchable.
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Robby McCrorie: Scott Mercer, Callum Semple (Lewis Kidd HT), Lee Kilday, Darren Brownlie, Kevin Holt: Daniel Pybus, Connor Murray, Michael Paton (Jack Hamilton 70), Gary Oliver, Faissal El Bakhtaoui
SUBS NOT USED: Andrew McCarthy, Ross Irving, Ewan Gourlay, Craig Burns (GK).
SCORERS: Oliver (62)
YELLOW CARD: Semple (40), Paton (69), Murray (75), Pybus (79), Johnston (81), Kidd (82)
DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Aaron Comrie, Lee Ashcroft, Euan Murray (Stuart Morrison 90+8), Lewis Martin: Ryan Dow, Paul Paton (c), Tom Beadling, Kyle Turner (Lewis McCann 88): Kevin Nisbet, Andy Ryan (Josh Coley 65).
SUBS NOT USED: Josh Edwards, Matthew Todd, Paul Allan, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Turner (8)
REFEREE: Steven Reid
WEATHER: Sunny 19C
NEXT MATCH: Betfred Cup (away) v Celtic, Saturday 17th August 2019, kick off 3.00pm at Celtic Park
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