Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 1 Queen of the South 1: 07/03/20

Having taken ten points from their last five games Dunfermline Athletic were back in action against a Queen of the South team seeking their first win in nine outings.

There were three changes from the Dunfermline side that drew at Arbroath on Wednesday night. Lee Ashcroft was out injured and both Joe Thomson and Gabby McGill found themselves on the subs’ bench to make way for Ethan Ross and Lewis McCann.

For the visitors, Allan Johnston named a side unchanged from that which drew 0-0 away to Partick Thistle on Tuesday night. The teams changed ends before Jonathan Afolabi got the game underway with the Pars kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end. Within 25 seconds Euan Murray received a pass from Ross that allowed him to fire a dangerous cross into the Queens box that Lewis McCann just failed to head home.

Queen of the South however were to score with their first attack in the third minute. Michael Ledger won possession midway into the Dunfermline half and the ball was played right to Gary OLIVER who with a low shot from a 45 degree angle found the net just inside the left goalpost. 0-1

It could easily have been 2-0 just three minutes later when Lewis Kidd thrashed a cut back from the right narrowly outside the near post.

Strong running earned a Dom Thomas an 11th minute corner and when he sent that over from the right Murray looked to have headed the ball home. The ball did not cross the line in the opinion of the match officials but the North West Stand to a man thought otherwise!

A foul by Iain Wilson on McCann provided Thomas the chance to send another difficult ball into the Queens box from the 18th minute free kick but this time Murray was penalised for his challenge in trying to get on the end of it.

Kidd completed several neat passes before laying the ball off for Darren Lyon four minutes later but his shot was defended away by Kyle Turner. There was more anticipation from the home support when play immediately switched to the other end but despite having possession in the box Afolabi could only win a corner.

From the Thomas corner again from the right keeper Ross Stewart could not first clear and it took a desperate goalline clearance by Lee Kilday to keep the Pars out. Murray sent the ball back in from the left but that was defended.

Played stayed in the final third towards the opposition goal. Turner’s shot earned a 28th minute corner but the over enthusiastic Pars attack were blown up by the referee.

An Afolabi pass then allowed McCann to send Thomas up the right. Overlapping Comrie broke into the box but his blocked cross broke off him a goal kick followed. Turner sent a 31st minute shot over the crossbar from 20 yards out and three minutes later an Afolabi cut back was intercepted.

McCann had his effort deflected behind off Wilson but Thomas corner saw Stewart punch clear. After a sustained period of Dunfermline pressure it could have been Queens to score next however. Oliver broke down the left and sending the ball across the park picked out Kidd whose shot from the edge of the box was blocked by Murray.

The Fifers pushed for an equaliser before the interval. McCann sent Afolabi away down the left and he skilfully kept the ball in play before succumbing to a Kilday tackle as he closed in on goal. Thomas forced yet another corner but in the last action of the half Murray glanced that wildly wide right.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Queen of the South 1

The Pars were to be handed a penalty and convert it within a minute of the restart. Ledger slid in to topple Ross on the left byeline and referee Greg Aitken pointed to the spot. Jon AFOLABI assumed the responsibility and smacked a left footed shot into the left side of the net. 1-1

Next chance came from a 52nd minute Thomas corner from the left but neither Martin or Devine could control and the defence cleared. Turner tried a shot from 25 yards out that cleared the crossbar before in 61 minutes the Doonhamers forced their first corner of the afternoon. When it came over low from the left the freshly introduced sub, Michael Paton met it but stabbed his shot wide left.

Thomas beat off the challenge of Kevin Holt twice as he twisted and turned his way down the right but Kilday hammered away the resultant cross. Dobbie got a rare chance on 66 minutes from a Pybus cross but Owain Fôn Williams got down low to save at his left hand post. Play was swiftly back at the other end with Williams kick out flicked on by Afolabi for McCann to break into the box and poke the ball towards goal from 15 yards out but a slight deflection off the keeper`s left leg took the ball agonisingly narrowly wide to deny the 18 year old his first senior goal.

That was Lewis McCann’s final involvement as he was duly replaced by Matthew Todd, an 18 year old for an 18 year old. At the same time Allan Johnston brought on Diemantas Petravicius for Lewis Kidd.

The next attempt to break the deadlock came in 80th minute when after a patient controlled build up Thomas drilled a shot on target from the right side of the Queen of the South box that Stewart held despite the ball taking a deflection.

At the other end an Oliver shot was headed away by Murray before a Comrie run and cut inside set the full back but his shot end over the top. A double substitution followed in 85th minute Gabby McGill and Joe Thomson replacing Jon Afolabi and Ethan Ross.

McGill was unlucky in his first touch, the ball being stolen away from him as Comrie cut the ball back to the near post. Thomas had an effort that went over the bar and Turner was shown the yellow card after he was adjudged to have gone down too easily in the box.

All square at the end, Stevie Crawford would claim post match that it was not two pints dropped and with Arbroath losing a 93rd minute goal at Morton to draw 1-1 the Pars stay fifth in the league. The away Mach at Dundee the following Saturday looking very important for both sides in terms of their play off hopes.

DUNFERMLINE: Owain Fôn Williams: Aaron Comrie, Lewis Martin, Danny Devine, Euan Murray: Dom Thomas, Paul Paton (c), Kyle Turner, Ethan Ross (Joe Thomson 85): Lewis McCann (Matthew Todd 67), Jonathan Afolabi (Gabby McGill 85).
SUBS NOT USED: Josh Edwards, Tom Beadling, Miller Fenton, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Afolabi (46 pen)
YELLOW CARD: Turner (89)

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Ross Stewart: Michael Ledger (Michael Paton 60), Lee Kilday, Callum Semple, Kevin Holt: Darren Lyon, Lewis Kidd (Diemantas Petravicius 67), Iain Wilson, Daniel Pybus, Gary Oliver, Stephen Dobbie.
SUBS NOT USED: David Devine, Jack Hamilton, Ewan Gourlay, Jack Leighfield (GK).
SCORERS: Oliver (3)
YELLOW CARD: Ledger (39)

REFEREE: Greg Aitken
WEATHER: Cloudy 11C

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (away) v Partick Thistle, Tuesday 10th March 2020, kick off 7.45pm at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill

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