Match Report

A stunning second half strike from on loan Andy Murdoch was enough to give Queens a vital win in their Ladbrokes Championship clash against Hibs at Palmerston tonight, as the hosts single goal victory inflicted yet more misery on Alan Stubbs side who crashed to a third consecutive league defeat.There was little between the sides for most of the game, although to be fair to the visitors, they did have more of the possession, however their goal attempts were mainly off target and when required the returning Robbie Thomson and his defence coped well with everything that the team from the capital through at them. 

 

Saturday`s reverse at Falkirk saw striker Dale Hilson make a welcome return to the first team squad, and after his 8 minute appearance at the Falkirk Stadium, the striker was once again included in matchday squad. Robbie Thomson returned in goal, and there was a first start for fit again, Callum Tapping who replaced Alex Harris who was unable to play against his parent club. Lewis Kidd, and Darren Brownlie also returned as Queens made four changes to the one that started at the Falkirk Stadium.

Queens lined up in a 3-5-2 formation with Jordan Marshall and Lewis Kidd operating as wing-backs.The visitors were first to threaten, and perhaps they should really have opened the scoring as early as the second minute. Henderson`s free-kick was floated into the area, and all alone and with plenty of time, Fontaine could only guide his header wide of the target. With such a crowded midfield in the early stages, both sides made good use of the space down the wings with most of the attacking play taking place in these areas. For Queens it was Lewis Kidd on the right who showed up well in the early phase of the contest, and when Kyle Hutton, and Darren Brownlie combined well to find Kidd, his cross almost onto the penalty spot fell invitingly for Brownlie, but his attempted shot was blocked away by Bartley. The first of 5 yellow cards arrived as early as the 14th minute when a late challenge on John McGinn by Jake Pickard saw the Queens youngster make his way into referee Dallas` notebook, and after taking exception to the challenge, Bartley followed him seconds later as a spate of pushing and shoving broke out.

 

Pickard and Bartley had a fine tussle all night

The pace of Cummings, Boyle, and Stokes threatened to cause problems early on and shots from both Cummings, and then Stokes drew comfortable saves from Robbie Thomson. Henderson became the next player to be booked when - rather harshly - he was shown yellow for simulation. He was clearly blocked by Kidd and had no option but to go to ground. The same player was involved in the action moments later when his powerful run set up a shooting chance for Cummings, but Hibs` top scorer couldn`t keep his shot low enough to trouble Thomson.

The visitors went even closer after 27 minutes. A mis-placed header from Andy Dowie - who it seemed was being fouled - put Marshall under pressure and in trying to clear the ball, he was penalised for pulling back Cummings. Up stepped McGinn and his cracking drive from the free-kick only just cleared the crossbar.

With so many players in the middle of the park it was hard to find any time or room, but Callum Tapping slotted in well into the Queens midfield and on several occasions was able to find some very telling passes, although obviously he was at times a bit off the pace.As the interval approached, Hibs had two really good chances to break the deadlock. Firstly Boyle got onto the end of a glorious pass from Stokes, but Thomson had his angles right and Boyle`s low drive was straight at the Queens `keeper. Then right on the stroke of half-time, the Queens `keeper got down well to pull off a fine save to push away a shot from McGinn, and luck was with him as Stokes dragged the follow up shot wide. Having just about got through the opening half, Callum Tapping took a knock to his knee, and for the remaining few minutes of the half, limped around rather gingerly, which of course bearing in mind the lad`s unfortunate injury history, was somewhat concerning to all of a Queens persuasion. The whistle blew for the interval to end a half that was largely void of any real goalmouth action, but it was probably the home side who were far happier with the scoreline.

HALF-TIME  QUEENS 0-0 HIBS

Possibly boosted by a `pep`talk at the break, Hibs began the second period well, although to be fair, Queens were defending well and the expected onslaught never really materialised. They had a half chance when following a throw-in, McGinn escaped his marker but volleyed his attempt wide. A similar chance that fell to Kenny Miller in the last home game, but thankfully, not with the same outcome. Having struggled to get going in the second half, Tapping was forced to leave the field and he was replaced by on-loan Rangers midfielder, Andy Murdoch on 52 minutes. It wasn`t only Tapping that hadn`t got started as Queens, being pushed back deeper and deeper, struggled to break into their opponents half, and they almost found themselves behind just passed the hour mark Stokes danced his way into the penalty area and his low drive beat the dive of Thomson, but skipper Chris Higgins reacted superbly to clear the ball off the line. It was a big chance for the visitors, but fortunately for Queens they held out. Kyle Hutton was next to be booked by referee Dallas, and he was shortly followed by Andy Dowie as the card count continued to rise.The home side were defending superbly and Higgins and Brownlie in quick succession were both able to clear the ball from danger as Hibs looked to find a way through the stubborn and hugely effective Queens rearguard.

Captain Higgins clears off the line

Queens made their second change when Mark Millar replaced Ryan Conroy with just over half of the second period left. The away side soon made a change of their own with leading scorer Cummings being replaced by Keatings. The game was finally becoming stretched, and after all of their valiant defending, Queens slowly but surely began to have more of a foothold in the game in an attacking sense, and although it wasn`t `all guns blazing` they certainly had the better of the game as it moved towards its conclusion.

Andy Murdoch`s introduction had given the Queens midfield a bit more pace and vision and he began a move that saw Pickard,and Russell create a shooting opportunity for Millar, but the substitute dragged his shot wide. Queens final change saw Dale Hilson replace Iain Russell after 77 minutes and the striker might have been celebrating with a returning goal minutes later as he almost got on the end of Millar`s low cross into the box following a Queens corner. As time ticked by the thought of witnessing Queens first goalless game at home this season was well within everyone`s thoughts, but with just 12 minutes left, Queens found the breakthrough with a stunning goal. Initial approach play down the right wing seemed to have petered out, but excellent work from Lewis Kidd saw him slip the ball into the path of Andy Murdoch, and the young midfielder drove a thunderbolt across Oxley that flew into the net - probably the best home goal of the season so far- and certainly a vital one for Queens in the context of both this game and the season as a whole. The home support in the crowd of  2017 went wild with delight as their counterparts in the section of the East Stand reflected on a third straight league defeat.

Murdoch watches as his strike beats Oxley

Celebration time

Although Hibs pushed forward looking for an equaliser, there were few, if any real scares for the home side as they held on to claim a valuable 3 points to move to within a point of fourth placed Raith Rovers.

 


  • Thomson





  • Brownlie



  • Dowie



  • Higgins





  • Kidd



  • Hutton



  • Conroy

    Sub2



  • Tapping

    Sub1



  • Marshall





  • Pickard



  • Russell

    Sub3




    Subs


  • Atkinson



  • Murdoch
    1
    Sub1-52



  • Millar

    Sub2-66



  • Hilson

    Sub3-77



  • Smith



  • Jacobs



  • Oliver


 
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