Queens travelled to Dunfermline on Tuesday to play the game in hand caused by the Irn Bru Cup semi final against Dundee United and emerged with a creditable 1-1 draw which ultimately though does little for either side`s playoff chances.
Gary Naysmith made three changes to the side well beaten by Falkirk on Saturday. On a heavy pitch, veterans Andy Dowie and Derek Lyle were rested on the bench whilst young left back Jordan Marshall was unavailable through injury. Scott Mercer switched over to left back from the right with Jamie Hamill coming in on that side and Chris Higgins and Lyndon Dykes came in to replace Dowie and Lyle. There was a familiar look about much of the home squad with Allan Johnston and Sandy Clark in the dugout, Nicky Clark in the team and Michael Paton and Gavin Reilly on the bench. Although not making the match squad, both David Hutton and David Hopkirk are at East End Park too. In the other direction, Scott Mercer, Chris Higgins and Andy Dowie are all former Dunfermline players.
It was the home side who settled into the game much the quicker, dominating the early exchanges and they took the lead on 17 minutes when Jason Talbot`s long punt forward was misjudged by Brownlie and Michael Moffat ran on to it to slot the ball beyond Robinson. However, Queens then took over control of the game and had much the better of things for the next hour or so. Captain John Rankin was one of those gradually beginning to exert his influence but the home fans were convinced he was a lucky man only to get a yellow card after sliding across Paul Talbot from distance as the full back cleared a ball midway inside his own half. There didn`t appear to be great contact but it was certainly an aggressive challenge and he was routinely booed for the rest of the half. Two minutes later though Queens were level and Rankin was at the heart of it. From a left sided throw, the ball was worked into Rankin on the edge of the box and he stepped away from a challenge before firing a low cross shot across the face of goal from 18 yards. At the back post the first player to react to it was Joe Thomson and the on loan Celtic midfielder took a touch to control before he grabbed his 4th goal already with a confidently placed finish across Sean Murdoch.
Thomson fires past Murdoch
Before the interval Stephen Dobbie twice forced saves out of Murdoch whilst Thomson should probably have doubled his tally, shooting wide right from about 10 yards out when played through on Murdoch five minutes before the break.
The pitch was continuing to cause problems and when Dom Thomas lashed a shot so wide and high that it went out for a throw in early in the second period he was left looking at his footing in frustration. Queens continued to dominate the middle part of the game and both Rankin and Thomas had further chances at goal before Dunfermline introduced the dangerous Joe Cardle in place of Higginbotham just after the hour mark. He began to have a major influence and it was in fact the home team who came closest to a winner with quarter of an hour to go when Nicky Clark struck the post with a curling effort from outside the box, the ball rebounding across the face of goal and away to safety. This began a final quarter hour in which the home team took control of things again as Paton and Reilly replaced McMullan and Moffat. With seven minutes to go Lyle and Hilson came on for Dobbie and Dykes and the game was becoming stretched but Dunfermline still looked the likelier winner. A poor challenge from behind by Brownlie on Cardle was perhaps fortunate only to see yellow before John Herron should have done much better than place a close range header directly into the hands of Robinson. With two minutes to go young Owen Bell replaced the workhorse, Joe Thomson and almost nicked the win with a chance from the edge of the box created by Thomas, His shot though lacked the power to trouble Murdoch much. The contest ended with Dunfermline wasting a free kick given away when Wedderburn caught Bell in possession about 30 yards from goal deep into injury time.
Clark beats Robinson late on but his effort struck the post
Late sub Bell has a shot from the edge of the box
In the end a draw was probably a fair result with both teams dominating portions of the game although the Pars will no doubt feel they should have won having created all the late chances and striking the post. It leaves both clubs still well adrift of Morton though and if there is to be any hope of catching the Greenock side then breaking Morton`s season long unbeaten home record on Saturday is surely a necessity now. For thos going, and indeed those unable to go, remember kick off is a 5:15pm on Saturday and it is live on BBC Alba.