The Doonhamers tasted defeat for the first time season as a last gasp Steven Lawless winner helped Partick Thistle squeeze past Queens 2-1 in an entertaining game at Firhill Stadium.
Dale Hilson forced home a goal to give the visitors the lead three minutes into the second half but Chris Erskine levelled with ten minutes to go. It was final minute agony for Queens as Lawless smashed home from close range to give the Premiership outfit a vital win.
Queens manager Gavin Skelton made two changes to the team who won in midweek against Airdrieonians. Mark Millar returned form suspension replacing Jake Pickard. Versatile Kyle Jacobs made his first start of the season, coming in for Lyndon Dykes, who dropped to the bench. The Doonhamers changed to 4-5-1 formation, Dale Hilson moving across to left midfield with Miller and Jacobs joining Callum Tapping in centre midfield.
The visitors started the game strongly and were nearly ahead with four minutes on the clock. Right-back Ziggy Gordon gave the ball away cheaply to Derek Lyle, Del took a touch and curled a shot onto David Crawford`s right-hand post.
Lyle sees this effort beat the keeper but crash off the post
Queens continued to look dangerous early on and had another chance to open the scoring. Jamie Hamill floated in a delightful corner-kick which was knocked on by Lyle into the path of Grant Anderson, but the winger couldn`t make any contact.
The home side had a series of chances in the space of ten minutes to get the opener. A wonderful chipped cross from David Amoo found Ade Azeez but the striker could only fire his shot onto the side netting. Azeez had another chance to give the hosts the advantage two minutes later. Left-back Callum Booth swung in an inviting cross, finding Azeez but his powerful header struck the bar and Lee Robinson gathered the loose ball.
Alan Archibald`s side were piling on the pressure and new signing Chris Erskine was beginning to pull the strings for the hosts. The striker picked the ball up in the middle of the park, danced past Tapping and Chris Higgins and pulled the trigger but the reliable Andy Dowie blocked his effort just inside the box. Thistle continued to attack and when Queens failed to clear their lines the ball fell to Azeez. His effort looked destined to hit the back of the net but Jamie Hamill blocked the striker`s effort.
Queens suffered a setback in the 34th minute as Grant Anderson was forced off and replaced by the lively Lyndon Dykes. Six minutes later, the visitors could have went into half-time ahead. Hilson passed to Millar in the Jags half and his powerful 25-yard shot rattled Crawford`s bar. That would be the last chance of an entertaining first-half,all that was missing was a goal and it didn`t take the visitors long to get it.
Half Time Partick 0-0 Queens
Queens came firing out of the blocks after the restart and were rewarded three minutes into the second period. Millar sprayed the ball to Dykes, who flicked it to Lyle on the right-hand side. Lyle drilled in an excellent cross into the six-yard box, trying to find Hilson who was flanked by two defenders. The ball ended up in the bottom corner of the net and while it looked at the time like it came off one of those defenders, the referee awarded Hilson the goal.
Hilson turns away after the ball ends up in the net
The Doonhamers could have doubled their lead three minutes later, Millar collected the ball from another defensive mistake made a brilliant run into the box but was forced wide and his effort looked to have been tipped wide by Crawford but referee Alan Muir thought otherwise and gave a goal-kick.
Callum Tapping became the first man Alan Muir`s book for bringing down Amoo, who was breaking away into Queens` half with half an hour to go.
Both sides used their remaining subs in quick succession. Thistle bringing on Kris Doolan, Ryan Edwards and Mathias Pogba and The Doonhamers taking off Derek Lyle and Callum Tapping for Steven Rigg and youngster Owen Moxon.
After the changes it was the visitors who created the first big chance to double their lead. Dale Hilson hit the post from six-yards out. The rebound fell to Rigg but his effort was blocked by sub Edwards.
Two minutes later, the hosts had a string of chances to equalise. First Edwards header flew over the bar and Erskine`s shot was deflected wide. Partick were upping the pace and were finding spaces in the through the tired looking Queens side.
The Premiership outfit were rewarded for their play with ten minutes to go. Robinson palmed away a header from Pogba and after a scramble in the box, Pogba stabbed the ball back to Chris Erskine who calmly slotted home.
After the Jags got level, Queen of the South struggled to get out of their own half as Thistle piled bodies forward in search of a winner. Captain Sean Welsh had an opportunity from 25-yards but he sliced the shot wide.
It looked like the game was heading to a penalty shootout but Queens` hearts were broken in the dying seconds of the ninety minutes.
Gordon fired in a cross which was met by Pogba who headed down towards Steven Lawless. The midfielder volleyed high into the net from close range.
Lawless fires home the last minute winner for Thistle
Queens pushed for an equaliser and when Moxon won a corner, sent everyone forward, including goalkeeper Lee Robinson, but the corner was half cleared to Millar. His shot was comfortably caught by Crawford and referee Alan Muir blew for full-time.
Opponents Partick Thistle join Queens on six points in Group E of the Betfred Cup. Queens play their last League Cup game next week at Palmerston against League One side Stenhousemuir.