Ladbrokes Championship: QOS 2 Dunfermline 3: 01/02/20
Three points and three places separated Dunfermline in fifth and Queens in eighth but the Dumfries side have two games in hand so an away win was necessary for the Pars to keep clear of any challenge from their opponents.
Stevie Crawford had signed Welsh keeper Owain Fôn Williams, Englishman Dylan Duncan and Irishman Jonathan Afolabi during the last week of the January transfer window. The starting eleven included the new keeper and striker Afolabi. That at the expense of Cammy Gill and Kevin Nisbet.
For Queens Allan Johnston had signed Iain Wilson on loan from Kilmarnock, Lithuanian internationalist Deimantas Petravicius and Michael Ledger from from Norwegian OBOS-Liga side, Notodden FK. Ledger stepped forward to take the place of Darren Brownlie who had departed for Partick Thistle. The new signings from abroad had not received international clearance so Wilson was the only new face in the Queens team.
Scott Mercer, Darren Brownlie, Abdul Osman, Connor Murray were missing from the side defeated by Alloa Athletic. Into the home starting eleven came Michael Paton, Lewis Kidd, Jack Hamilton and Iain Wilson.
It was Michael Paton who kicked off with Queens defending the goal at the home end but it was the Fifers who were all over them in the opening ninety seconds. Gabby McGill fought to get in the first shot of the match, forcing a corner on the right. When Dom Thomas sent that to the far side of the six yard box Euan Murray lobbed that back in front of goal, Jonathan Afolabi had a fierce drive blocked. He retrieved the ball sent a low pass along the six yard line only to be defended again and then after Paul Paton lobbed over a return, the Celtic loanee blasted a good chance over the bar. Quite a start!
Paton and Lyon combined to force a seventh minute corner out of Aaron Comrie but the Pars defence came out on top. A minute later Stephen Dobbie sent another corner in from the left. Overstruck it was returned by Paton and Dobbie drilled his shot into the sidenetting.
The opening goal came in just the tenth minute. Dunfermline lost possession in the Queens half, Daniel Pybus hoofed the ball up the right wing where Dobbie latched on to it, wrong footed Lee Ashcroft and then allowed Gary OLIVER to pounce on the chance on edge of the box. Taking the ball right his low angled shot found the net just inside the left upright. 1-0
The travelling support only had to wait four minutes for an equaliser. Thomas took a corner on the right short to Ryan Dow. Afolabi met the cross heading the ball on to the crossbar and Gabby McGILL followed up to head the ball over the line. The first senior goal for the nineteen year old made it 1-1.
A weak free kick decision when Daniel Pybus went to ground under pressure from Paul Paton handed Queens an opportunity from a 21st minute free kick 25 yards out but Dobbie drove that into the Pars wall.
Three minutes later Williams caused Queens to get another corner on the left. Two more followed but Williams held Dobbie’s cross after the second was taken short to Paton. In 33 minutes Dow delivered a Pars corner from the left that Ashcroft headed over the Queens bar. Thomas had a shot from 15 yards that keeper Ross Stewart gathered comfortably and at the other end after Darren Lyon had pushed up, Dobbie had a blast that sailed over the bar.
On the stroke of half time Lyon headed the ball behind for a Dunfermline corner on the left. Thomas quickly lined up his delivery as the centre backs and Euan Murray went up. When the ball was whipped over Danny DEVINE met the cross and glanced his header in at the near post. Super finish 1-2.
It had been a half in which the home side had recorded the greater possession but the visitors had taken their chances and hoped that they could build on that in the second half.
Half time: Queen of the South 1 Dunfermline 2
As in the first half Dunfermline started the better and McGill got close to a 49th minute free kick lobbed in from the left touchline. The game continued incident free until Murray’s challenge on Lyon gave QOS a 56th minute free kick on the right. Paton crossed and Wilson drove on target but Williams did well to turn the ball away. Kevin Nisbet replaced Gabby McGill in the first substitution of the match.
Next attack however Dobbie went over Ashcroft as he tried to defend the ball on the right side of the Pars box. Referee Craig Napier pointed to the spot and DOBBIE tucked the penalty. 60 minutes and 2-2.
Thomas sent a 73rd minute shot high and wide as both teams were finding it hard to get into positions to test the keepers. A Thomas corner was held by Stewart before the home fans rued a missed chance from a Pybus cross from the left that just evaded Oliver and Hamilton at the far post.
Nisbet forced a 79th minute corner that Thomas played short to Dow and got the return that he curled in towards the Queens goal but Stewart beat that away. The home fans were growing anxious as Turner surged forward but when he laid the ball off for Comrie his cross failed to find his team mates on the far side of the box.
Thomas had an effort from the left corner of the Queens box deflected behind for an 82nd minute corner on the right. This time when Thomas delivered ASHCROFT fought off Holt to meet the ball with a forceful header that bulged the net. 2-3
The 280 strong travelling support were in full song as the minutes ran down. Thomas and Nisbet burned up some when successfully getting play bogged down at the left corner flag.
The Pars defended an added time corner that Hamilton headed over before referee Craig Napier brought proceedings to a close. Three vital points for the Fifers that took them into fourth.
QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Ross Stewart: Darren Lyon, Iain Wilson, David Devine, Kevin Holt: Daniel Pybus, Michael Paton, Lewis Kidd, Gary Oliver, Jack Hamilton, Stephen Dobbie (c)
SUBS NOT USED: Callum Semple, Ewan Gourlay, Benjamin Luissant, Ross Irving, Jack Leighfield (GK).
SCORERS: Oliver (10), Dobbie (60 pen.)
DUNFERMLINE: Owain Fôn Williams: Aaron Comrie, Lee Ashcroft, Danny Devine, Euan Murray: Ryan Dow, Paul Paton (c), Kyle Turner, Dom Thomas: Jonathan Afolabi (Tom Beadling 87): Gabby McGill (Kevin Nisbet 58).
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Martin, Ethan Ross, Lewis McCann, Josh Edwards, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: McGill (14), Devine (45), Ashcroft (82)
YELLOW CARD: Ashcroft (60), Dow (63)
REFEREE: Craig Napier
WEATHER: Cloudy 8C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (away) v Partick Thistle, Saturday 22 February 2020, kick off 3.00pm at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.