Dunfermline Athletic 0
Author: Alistair Campbell Date: Saturday, 31st Jan 2009
Queen of the South 2
The Pars at home against a struggling side? Few would have expected a resounding victory but I think most would have expected a better performance - instead the Pars slump two places to a perhaps more representative 4th.
After the unscheduled break last week, Thomson retained his place in the side, there was a debut for new signing David Graham and Austin McCann came in at left back for Scott Muirhead who dropped out completely.
The Pars line up was therefore Gallacher in goals, an experienced back line of Thomson, Shields, Wilson and McCann; Graham started on the left wing, with Burke and Bell in the middle and Phinn right, and Loy and Bayne were given the nod to continue their pairing up front. Dropping to the bench were Kirk and Woods, and they were joined by the returning Holmes, Williamson and Reidford.
The Pars were defending the Norrie, but the first action was at the other end; Scott Thomson nipped between two defenders by the corner flag, and as his cross was delivered there was a shout for hand ball, albeit from Paul Gallacher at the other end, but only a corner was awarded.
Wilson and Shields in particular started shakily as Dobbie and O’Connor, linked well, and Gallacher completely missed his attempted punch in 6 minutes from a long throw. Heading the other way Graham had started with promise but Loy couldn’t time his runs and was easily trapped off-side on several occasions by the Queens’ rearguard.
The Pars created a double chance in 11 minutes. After Phinn’s incisive pass to Graham was defended at the cost of a throw in, Loy picked up the shy, wheeled in the area and struck a low shot which Robinson in the Queens goal got down to well. Phinn kept the ball alive, and from Bell’s knockback Bayne had a header cleared off the line.
Phinn was tackled in the act of shooting in 16 minutes, and after Gallacher comfortably dealt with a Barr back-header in 19 minutes, Bayne finally got the better of the off-side trap, but without the pace to do damage; instead the ball was switched to Loy whose early shot from the edge of the area was beaten away by Robinson.
Queens had more possession however, and when Dobbie got past Wilson in 26 minutes he seemed certain to score, but his shot from 12 yards curled just past the outside of Gallacher’s left hand post. The Doonhamers did take the lead 3 minutes later, a late run from Scally into the box surprised the home defence, and when he turned the ball back to McFarlane, he picked out the unmarked Burns who hooked it over Gallacher and in at the far post. A classy finish and 1-0 Queens.
O’Connor was nearly onto a deflected shot in 32 minutes but pressure from Shields kept him out, and Wilson had to use his strength to clear up when a promising move at the other end broke down when Burke was robbed in possession.
Thomson had 2 goes at a freekick in 37 minutes, but hit the wall each time, McFarlane being booked for encroachment, but it was the visitors who should have scored in 38 minutes, Barry Wilson skinning his namesake before blasting over the bar from 8 yards, pulling his hamstring in the process. McQuilken came on in his stead, and the Pars left the pitch at the interval to predictable booing.
Half time: Pars 0 Doonhamers 1
Last time out against Airdrie, the manager made 2 changes at half-time and there was half an expectation that similar corrective surgery would be applied at the break this time, but Macca contented himself with a positional change, swapping Bell and Phinn. The homesters started brightly, Bayne and Bell linking to feed Loy, but the youngster couldn’t dig the ball out from under his feet, Burke had a dig from 20 yards that was deflected behind for a corner, which was delivered deep to Wilson who tried, but failed, to pick out Thomson at the other post. Burke’s attempted chip from distance after Robinson’s poor punch clear gave the keeper no trouble before Graham spurned the Pars’ best chance of the match, tamely hitting too close to Robinson after being found free 10 yards out. Perhaps a touch of debut anxiety, or maybe lack of match fitness catching up with him.