Match Report

A spirited second half performance saw Queens recover from going behind early on to claim a well merited point as our first home Championship game of the season against visitors Dunfermline, ended all square.

After picking up a point in last weekends opener at Arbroath, the team showed two changes to the one that started at Gayfield as Lee Kilday began ahead of Lewis Kidd, and although new signing Faissal El Bakhtaoui only joined the club yesterday, the Frenchman went straight into the starting eleven in place of Jack Hamilton as we lined up in a 4-1-3-2 formation with Kilday sitting just in front of the back four.


Match photo gallery here.


We very nearly got off to the best possible start when El Bakhtaoui slipped a neat pass through to Connor Murray but, although on target, Murray`s left foot drive was well saved by Dunfermline `keeper Scully.


The visitors then responded with two half chances of their own, first Beadling tested the handling of Robby McCrorie, and then a header from Ryan was comfortably saved by our on-loan Rangers `keeper.


After creating that chance inside the opening minute, Queens had been pegged back by the visitors, and their attacking play produced the opening goal on 8 minutes. Robby McCrorie`s thrown clearance looked to send El Bahktaoui clear, but the Queens striker was beaten in an aerial challenge and as the ball fell to Beadling in an instant he found Turner who was able to skip past two defenders before drilling a low shot into the bottom right corner.


Dunfermline take the lead


The situation might have got worse for Queens minutes later when Darren Brownlie lost possession under pressure from Nisbet, but from a tight angle he was unable to force the ball beyond McCrorie who did well to make the save.


The introduction of El Bakhtaoui to the Queens forward line certainly gave us more pace in the final third of the pitch, and the striker was clearly relishing the challenge of coming up against one of his former clubs, although he was perhaps a bit fortunate not to be cautioned as after chasing a long clearance he followed through and caught `keeper Scully`s right ankle, fortunately referee Reid gave him the benefit of the doubt and after some treatment, Scully was able to continue.


On 20 minutes Ryan created a chance for Nisbet, but his shot from 16-yards out failed to trouble McCrorie. We were struggling to get any real movement in the middle of the park, and with Kilday playing in an unfamiliar position, the visitors were starting to dominate that area with Paton, and Turner at the heart of most of Dunfermline`s forward play, and as they continued to push forward, just past the half an hour mark they were presented with a glorious chance to double their advantage when Brownlie`s poor clearance fell to Ryan 10-yards out, but with the goal at his mercy, Ryan could only drive the ball wide of the target much to the relief of all those in blue, especially Darren Brownlie. The away side continued to search for a second goal, and after winning three corners in quick succession, a shot from Beadling was comfortably saved by McCrorie. A foul on Dow by Callum Semple saw the first yellow card of the game, and having survived that mini scare, we ended the half as we had started it and came closest of all to finding an equaliser. A neat move down the left involving Gary Oliver and Connor Murray created a chance for a shot from the left by Kevin Holt that didn`t miss by too much, and then with virtually the last piece of action of the half a free kick on the right was floated in by Scott Mercer and Darren Brownlie climbed above the defence to power a header against the bar. Those two chances at the start, and then at the end of the first period could easily have seen Queens go in ahead at the break, but as it was it was the away side who would have been the happier at the interval.


Brownlie heads against the bar




We made a change at the break as Lewis Kidd replaced Callum Semple with Lee Kilday slotting back into the centre of defence and Kidd taking over Kilday`s midfield role.Having made a decent start to the first half that petered out, at the start of the second period we again began well but this time it lasted a good bit longer. Oliver and El Bakhtaoui combined well before a foul on the Frenchman set up a chance from a set-piece. Without the injured Stephen Dobbie to call upon, up stepped Connor Murray to hit the ball over the wall beyond `keeper Scully, but also a yard or so wide of the near post.


This was certainly our most sustained spell of pressure in the game with much of our better play coming down the left hand side where Kevin Holt was at last finding some space to advance into . A fine run and cross to the back post caused problems in the Pars defence which eventually led to us winning two quick corners, and although nothing came from either set -play -  a header from Holt being comfortably saved - Queens were well on top and it did seem that a goal was coming, and on 62 minutes, we did indeed draw level. Holt was quickly on to a loose clearance and threaded a pass through to Gary Oliver who skipped past Ashcroft and from a very tight angle squeezed the ball beyond Scully to give us a well deserved leveller.


Oliver places it perfectly to level the score

Oliver celebrates his strike


The game began to get very stretched as both teams searched for the next goal and one or two over zealous challenges began to surface. Michael Paton became the second Queens player to be booked for an attempted poor challenge in midfield, and moments later was replaced by Jack Hamilton.


The away side had an opportunity to re-take the lead from a set-piece on 73 minutes but the opportunity was wasted when Nisbet was wildly off target with his effort. A third yellow card for Queens came when Murray was booked for kicking the ball away after being harshly penalised for handball, and we then responded with a set-piece of our own and from Murray`s right wing delivery Darren Brownlie was first to the ball again this time his well directed header was instinctively turned over the bar by the Pars `keeper. We very nearly scored from the resultant corner when Scully could only punch the ball into the air and from the melee that followed Dunfermline`s Paton saw his attempted clearance come off the right hand upright.


There was no disputing the fourth yellow card handed out by referee Reid as a cynical challenge by Dan Pybus on Dow clearly warranted the decision, and just two minutes later manager Allan Johnston also found his way into the referee`s notebook as he questioned a decision concerning a possible penalty as Murray went down under a challenge inside the penalty area. Substitute Lewis Kidd joined his manager and team-mates in the book as he became the 6th Queens person to be cautioned.


Murray goes down as Scully looks on anxiously, no penalty was awarded


The last action of the game was a bitter sweet moment for the visitors as they had a chance to grab all three points as they were awarded a late corner, but having connected with the ball to send a header wide of the target, defender Euan Murray lay prostate on the ground for several minutes before eventually being stretchered from the pitch,and all of us connected with Queen of the South wish the player a very speedy recovery.


So it was goals and points shared with both teams still searching for their opening wins, but also both continuing to remain unbeaten. Connor Murray was named as Queens man-of-the-match, and although not really having a goalscoring opportunity, new striker Faissal El Bakhtaoui showed up well and will certainly cause problems for opposition defences as the season ahead progresses.

  • McCrorie

  • Mercer

  • Brownlie

  • Semple

  • Holt

  • Kilday

  • Paton


  • Pybus

  • Murray

  • El Bakhtaoui

  • Oliver


  • Burns

  • Kidd


  • Hamilton


  • Irving

  • Gourlay

  • McCarthy

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