Queens ended a run of 7 successive League defeats at Falkirk today with a performance which showed great commitment and attitude under new manager Gary Naysmith. The former Scotland international was working without assistant Dougie Anderson today as Anderson took charge of East Fife`s 1-0 win at Brechin City before joining us full time from Monday but after just 3 days working with the squad Naysmith had obviously managed to get some of his ideas across. The team showed plenty of quality at times and both took the lead and got themselves back into the game after going behind, the first time we`ve managed to get anything from a game after going behind since Hibs away in the League cup!
There weren`t a lot of options for the manager in team selection with Lyndon Dykes and Jake Pickard joining the seemingly ever growing injury list following Tuesday night`s loss to St Mirren. With Derek Lyle also nursing a knock, it was at least fortunate we were able to welcome Kyle Jacobs back into the squad after missing the last three through injury. He returned in place of Dykes in the only change of personnel from the team that faced St Mirren but that meant a reshuffle in formation with Mark Millar being asked to fill in on the left side. Fair play to him, it may not be his natural position but he put in a disciplined shift on his old stiomping ground. The home side fielded a side that included former Queens players Mark Kerr and John Baird, with Bob McHugh coming off the bench and former youth player Aaron Muirhead also starting. Lewis Kidd though had to make do with a seat in the stand.
Both teams starting slowly, getting a feel for one another, and the only incident of note in the opening 20 minutes saw Craig Sibbald need physio treatment after catching a full blooded Stephen Dobbie clearance square in the face! Lee Robinson was the first keeper called into serious action though when he blocked well from Baird`s low drive following good work on the left by Hippolyte. A few minutes later the Queens keeper had to jump to pick an attempted lob from Baird out of the air when the striker might have been better advised to square the ball to Lee Miller to shoot.
Falkirk may have been first to come out of their shell but it was Queens who dew first blood just after the half hour mark and it was a goal of real quality. Chris Higgins brought the ball out from the back and played a nice ball into midfield where Stephen Dobbie gained possession. He turned and ran away from two opponents before exchanging a smart 1-2 with Derek Lyle and bursting on into the box from where he planted the ball beyond Danny Rogers and into the net. It looked like that would be enough for a half time lead as Falkirk offered little in the next 10 minutes. However, as the half moved into injury time Queens were maybe a little harshly punished with a soft free kick on the edge of the box. Robinson will perhaps wonder if he got his angles right as Miles Hippolyte drove the ball low into the bottom left corner round the left side of the wall. It was a terrific strike though from the wide man who had probably been Falkirk`s best player to that point.
Lyle celebrates Dobbies strike before it beats the keeper
Dobbie celebrates his strike
Hippolyte curls the ball around the wall and into the net to equalise
The second half began much more openly than the first. Lyle should have given us the lead again but appeared to lose the flight of a deep hanging cross and skied his header despite being all alone 6 yards from goal. At the other end Robinson was smartly off his line to save at the feet of Gasparotto at a set piece. The home side however did take the lead shortly after in farcical style as that man Hippolyte got the better of Brownlie and Anderson out by the corner flag and swung in a deep cross to the back post. Incredibly the ball was missed by everybody from both sides and as Robinson desperately tried to get back along his line it nestled directly into the top corner of the net.
Hippolyte gives the home side the lead
It would have been easy at this point for Queens to fold given the run we were on and the manner of the second goal but to their credit they didn`t. Indeed they were back in the game soon after as Darren Brownlie of all people found himself cantering forward in space on the right side and swung in a perfect cross for Derek Lyle to meet at close range with his head. This time there was no mistake from the veteran as the 105th goal of his Queens career ended in the net behind Rogers.
Lyle looks to the Queens fans to celebrate
A wee thanks to Brownlie for a perfect cross
Peter Houston made his changes relatively early in a bid to freshen things up as Scott Shepherd and Bob McHugh replaced Baird and Craigen, and soon after Taiwo replaced Kerr. Lyle`s opportunistic looping header was then tipped away from his goal by Rogers and from the resulting corner Queens had two penalty claims in a few seconds. First a Falkirk defender appeared to slip to ground int he box and play the ball with his hand and then Chris Higgins went down whilst trying to get on the end of a loose ball. Referee Nick Walsh was unimpressed and instead booked the Queens skipper for diving.
The not yet fully fit Danny Carmichael replaced Grant Anderson for the final ten minutes, with Mark Millar initially swapping wings. Young Ross Fergusson got 5 minutes or so in relief of Derek Lyle before Millar himself was taken off with a minute to go and replaced with Owen Moxon in a move probably intended to use up some time. Neither side however seriously threatened a goal after our penalty claim and there can be little doubt Queens were far happier with the point on the end of a long losing run than Falkirk were. Next up it`s a visit from Dunfermline Athletic and some familiar faces back on their old stomping ground as Allan Johnston, Sandy Clark, Nicky Clark, Michael Paton and Gavin Reilly all return to Palmerston.