SPFL Championship: QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 2 DUNFERMLINE 2: 17/12/16
Wedderburn and Martin in, Herron and Duthie out. Own goal (40) 1-0: Jason Talbot (61) 1-1: Kallum Higginbotham (73) 1-2: Stephen Dobbie (78) 2-2:
A late Stephen Dobbie goal earned Queen of the South a point. The home side had gone ahead thanks to an own goal but a better second half performance in which Jason Talbot and Kallum Higginbotham got the Pars ahead only to be pegged back 12 minutes from time.
Dunfermline travelled to Dumfries to take on Queen of the South, their first visit there since February 2011. Allan Johnston brought back Lewis Martin following his suspension taking the place of his stand in Conner Duthie and Nat Wedderburn replaced the injured John Herron. Welcome sights on the Pars bench were the returning Andy Geggan and David Hopkirk.
Queen of the South manager Gary Naismith went with the same starting eleven and same bench as turned out at Falkirk the previous Saturday. The home side kicked off attacking the goal at the closed terracing end. They forced a corner within ninety seconds but when that was sent in from the right Jason Talbot belted the delivery away.
The first attack from the visitors came in four minutes when Paul McMullan surged up the left channel but former Cowdenbeath defender Darren Brownlee eased the Pars Man off the ball to clear. Immediately there was danger at the other end when Derek Lyle got a couple of attempts from 16 yards out but both were blocked.
There were neat interchanges between Mark Millar and Stephen Dobbie as Millar attempted to find a way through the Pars defence. Eventually he laid the ball off for Jamie Hamill but his effort from 30 yards screamed wide left.
Brownlee blocked out McMullan again but the Pars man crossed the second ball and Kallum Higginbotham was unlucky not to get a better connection on the ball on the edge of the six yard box and a goal kick followed.
QOS were forced into a 13th minute substitution Danny Carmichael taking the place of Kyle Jacobs who had gone off a few minutes earlier with a cut. Lee Ashcroft made a very necessary block on a Dobbie effort before at the other end Michael Moffat fired over the bar from the edge of the box.
A Martin throw in was directed back from Nicky Clark to Moffat whose header in turn set up Clark for a shot at goal but Lee Robinson dropped to his right to hold. Three minutes later the keeper only needed to watch a McCabe shot from 25 yards travel outside his left hand post.
While QOS chances were in the opportunist category Dunfermline worked hard at building up play. Robinson was forced out of his goal to punch the ball behind off the head of Moffat and when the 30th minute corner was sent in from the left by Higginbotham, Callum Fordyce`s glancing header went outside the right goalpost.
The home side`s frustrations were demonstrated when Dobbie shot from 40 yards out but he was well wide of the target. In 33rd minute Anderson picked out Carmichael on the top of the Pars box and his quick flick on to Dobbie on the right required a very fine block from Ashcroft who slid in to concede a corner. That was duly defended and play got bogged down a bit with too many high balls and overstruck passes.
The match was in need of a much needed spark and a touch of flair from Lyle almost ignited it for the Doonhamers. The strikers back flick set up Dobbie for a crack at goal but his 16 yard shot went just wide right with Sean Murdoch at full stretch.
Five minutes before the interval QOS took the lead. Anderson`s shot was deselected behind for a corner on the left and when that was sent over by Millar the ball ended up in the net. Brownlee was credited with heading the ball home from close range but it is more likely the ball went in off Lee Ashcroft. 1-0
The attempts to get quickly back were led by McCabe whose shot from outside the box was saved. Moffat too had a chance from close range but that got blocked and in the dying minutes of the half Murdoch pulled off two great saves, one was at full stretch to deny Lyle and then Talbot made a telling clearance as well.
Half time: Queen of the South 1 Dunfermline 0
The early second half opportunities came from two extremely long McCabe throw ins that the home defence managed well. Fordyce robbed Dobbie as he looked like bursting through into the Pars box.
Two more McCabe throw ins, one from either side then sent the ball into the centre of the Queens box but it was his cross from the left that created a fine chance for Moffat at the far post but the keeper saved his well struck effort.
A 55th minute ball in from Higginbotham drew Robinson off his line to grasp the ball before it reached Clark. Next Higginbotham centred from the left after his corner had been beaten out to him but despite some desperate and at times lucky defending the Pars just couldn`t penetrate the Dumfries side`s defences.
That was until 61 minutes when another McCabe launch in from the right was defended out only as far as TALBOT who crashed the ball home from 20 yards out into the bottom left. 1-1
Having equalised the Fifers then had a fantastic chance to go ahead. Clark`s touch on the edge of the box set himself up for a shot but Robinson made a fine block, Higginbotham followed up but his effort met the same fate and then having defied the offside trap Moffat smashed his shot over the bar from even closer range.
Joe Cardle replaced Paul McMullan with twenty minutes remaining but it was Higginbotham, two times in a minute who crossed to provide chances for Moffat. The striker at least got close to success on the second occasion but sent the ball wide left. The striker then became provider controlling on the left to send in the perfect ball for HIGGINBOTHAM to head home just inside the right upright. 1-2
The lead lasted for only five minutes. Carmichael made the break away from his marker to cross onto the Pars box, Lyle hooked the ball on forcing Murdoch to parry the ball that then landed nicely for DOBBIE to tap home. 2-2
Dobbie won an 84th minute corner off McCabe and when that came over it dropped fortunately at the feet of Moffat who cleared. Queens kept up the pressure. Dobbie hit a 35 yard free kick into the Pars wall, Murdoch punched a Millar cross behind, the corner was defended and then Dobbie was caught offside much to the annoyance of the disputing Dumfries fans.
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Lee Robinson: Darren Brownlie, Andy Dowie, Chris Higgins (c), Jordan Marshall: Grant Anderson (Owen Moxon 74), Jamie Hamill, Mark Millar, Kyle Jacobs (Daniel Carmichael 13): Derek Lyle (Ross Fergusson 90), Stephen Dobbie.
SUBS NOT USED: Scott Hooper, Ryan Nelson, Dean Brotherston, Jim Atkinson (GK)
SCORERS: Ashcroft (og 40), Dobbie (78)
YELLOW CARD: Hamill (18), Anderson (50), Dowie (87)
DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Lewis Martin, Callum Fordyce (c), Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham, Nat Wedderburn, Rhys McCabe, Paul McMullan (Joe Cardle 70): Nicky Clark, Michael Moffat.
SUBS NOT USED: Ryan Williamson, Farid El Alagui, Andy Geggan, David Hopkirk, Gavin Reilly, David Hutton (GK)
SCORERS: Talbot (61), Higginbotham (73)
REFEREE: John McKendrick
WEATHER: Sunny 7C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (home) v Falkirk, Monday 26th December 2016, 3.00pm kick off at East End Park