Match Report

Queens welcomed Dundee United to Palmerston for their opening league fixture of the new decade, and despite putting in a spirited performance, they were unable to prevent the runaway leaders from leaving with all three points as the visitors claimed the win when Mark Connolly scored the game`s only goal early in the second half.

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For the first game of 2020 Queens included Darren Brownlie - fit again after injury, and Jack Hamilton - starting for the first time since the home win over Ayr - with Callum Semple dropping to the bench and the suspended Dan Pybus not available. With Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Gary Oliver, and Lewis Kidd also missing, our options were limited and as the game began we lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with Stephen Dobbie and Connor Murray providing the width, and Jack Hamilton playing through the middle.


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The runaway league leaders - backed by an exceptional travelling support - started well and forced two early corners with the first being punched clear by Robby McCrorie, and then after the second was only half cleared former Queens striker Clark was well off target with his attempt from distance. Our first foray forward saw us win a free-kick on the right midway inside the United half, and when Michael Paton`s deep delivery picked out Holt at the far post the defender climbed well to guide a header back across goal but the ball was scrambled to safety before either Hamilton or Dobbie could react.


Hands everyhwere


Scott Mercer - rather harshly - became the first recipient of a yellow card when his challenge on Robson was deemed to be a foul as the visitors began to have a more prolonged spell of possession. A foul by Darren Brownlie on Clark led to another half chance for the away team when Clark`s delivery from the set-piece picked out Connolly, but the big defender - making his first start since August - couldn`t keep his header on target.


On 25 minutes the league`s top striker, Lawrence Shankland, saw his low shot comfortably saved by McCrorie, and minutes later the Queens `keeper was called into the action once more as this time he was well placed to make a routine stop to deny Glass.


Just past the half an hour mark Queens had a chance to break the deadlock when a foul on Hamilton by Watson 30-yards from goal created a shooting chance, but Stephen Dobbie could only strike the ball into the assembled Dundee United defensive wall. A late challenge on Abdul Osman by Butcher saw the United midfielder enter referee Steven`s notebook, and on 38 minutes Shankland - who had been well restrained by Lee Kilday - worked a half chance for himself but his half-volley shot on the turn went well over the bar.



A first half that saw very little flowing football should certainly have at least seen a goal, when five minutes before the interval, Queens had a glorious opportunity to take the lead. A flowing move down the right led to Dobbie finding himself in behind the visitors defence and when his perfectly placed low cross was met by Hamilton just 4-yards out it seemed certain that the opening goal would arrive, but somehow although Hamilton made good contact with the ball his effort was blocked by a combination of `keeper Siegrist and defender Smith and the game remained goalless.


Hamilton denied on the line


Right on the stroke of half-time a foul by Michael Paton on Robson saw the Queens man pick up a caution, and from the resultant free-kick, Shankland escaped from his marker but could only send a header well over as a pretty even opening 45 minutes ended with Queens having had the best opportunity to open the scoring.




Having managed to restrict the away team to very few chances the first half, just 3 minutes into the second period we fell behind and there was an element of controversy about the goal. With the ball seemingly on it`s way out for a Queens goal kick, Lee Kilday appeared to receive a push in the back as he attempted to see the ball out but both referee and his assistant agreed on a corner, and from Clark`s delivery Connolly rose unchallenged to send a powerful header beyond McCrorie much to the delight of the 694 travelling fans.


Connolly has the ball in the net to win the game


Liam Smith went close to extending the lead for the visitors but McCrorie got down well to deny him. With just over 20 minutes to go, we made our first change when Hamilton was replaced by Ross Irving. It had been a decent enough effort from Hamilton who led the line well, and on several occasions was able to put Connolly and Robson under pressure, although in fairness the support play in and around him was at times slow to appear.


The away side went close again when a low shot from Glass didn`t miss the target by too much, but for the final 15 minutes or so, it was Queens who were the better team although Dundee United `keeper Siegrist wasn`t called upon to make a save.Frustration began to creep in as the visitors resorted to taking as much time over everything that they could, and Siegrist was booked for time wasting, and as Connolly went down, got up, and then went down again, before finally being substituted, Stephen Dobbie`s dissent saw him join team-mates Paton and Mercer in the referee`s notebook. We really should have levelled the game after 85 minutes when Kevin Holt - making his 150th start for the club - found himself all alone inside the penalty box, and when Murray`s cross from the right picked him out he could only flick a header past the onrushing `keeper and sadly, just wide of the far post.


Just sit down to kill the pressure


Callum Semple was thrown on at the end in the hope of trying to salvage something from the game, but we were unable to create anything that could have used his aerial abilities and subsequently we were not able to prevent Dundee United from claiming a fifth successive away win as we fell to a very narrow defeat as ultimately our spirited efforts yielded no reward.

  • McCrorie

  • Mercer

  • Brownlie

  • Kilday

  • Holt

  • Osman

  • Paton


  • Lyon

  • Murray

  • Hamilton


  • Dobbie


  • Leighfield

  • Semple


  • Irving


  • Gourlay

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