Queen of the South 1- 3 Dunfermline AthleticAuthor: Alistair Campbell Date: Saturday, 26th Feb 2011
Two trips to Palmertson this season and two comical own goals. This time the unfortunate boot was on the other foot when Harris scored one of the best(worst) own goals you’ll ever see, to add to Buchanan’s close range header. After McMenamin pulled one back Cardle eased the nerves with a late finish after Graham had done all the hard work.
From having a seeming over-abundance of central defenders, the Pars were close to an injury crisis, with Rutkiewicz, McGregor and Dowie all injured (although the last was able to participate in the warm-up). This meant the untried pairing of Higgins and Keddie took the field with Keddie switching to the right central berth. The rest of the defence was unchanged – Woods and McCann as the full backs, and goalkeeper Smith got the opportunity to put his nightmare visit of October behind him. Having gained match fitness Martin Hardie joined up with Mason in a two-man central midfield, David Graham started on the left and Steven McDougall was to reacquaint himself with his old wide-right role, with Kirk and Buchanan completing the eleven. There were no defenders on the bench (other than Kyle Allison) and Jordan White got a call up to sit alongside Thomson, Cardle and Burke.
Queens on the other hand had genuine selection problems, naming Colin McMenamin in midfield alongside Quinn and McGuffie, and featured the inexperienced Dan Orsi at right wing-back in a 3-5-2 line-up.
The Pars took kick-off attacking the Portland Drive end which houses the standing home support, but early play was scrappy with both sides scoping each other out. An early Kirk header tested Hutton, although the linesman was flagging, before McMenamin had a shot quickly blocked In 8 minutes. Then McLaren nearly got past Woods down the Queens’ left but Calum stuck out a boot to give away the game’s first corner. The Pars soon levelled the corner count when Keddie slipped playing the ball forward and inadvertently found Buchanan with a good pass, but he was closed out by Reid.
McDougall and Woods were seeing a lot of the ball down the right, putting pressure on Harris and the covering McLaren, and this pressure was intensified when Harris was yellow carded in 14 minutes for a blatant obstruction on McDougall who had taken advantage of McMenamin losing his footing. Hardie took the free-kick, but from 35 yards out he gave Hutton an easy save.
McDougall nearly got free in 18 minutes but over-elaborated and lost the ball to Harris’s trailing leg. Meanwhile Holmes was winning almost everything in the air, and just before the half-hour his flick rebounded off the retreating Higgins to Weatherston who set up his strike partner. However the former Hearts target-man side-footed past the upright from the edge of the box. Another Holmes flick from a throw-in in 35 minutes nearly found McMenaman, but Woods was able to get his body in the way to allow Smith to collect.
The game was still pretty level and although the Pars had the better of possession, they couldn’t trouble Hutton. Hardie got the break of the ball in 36 minutes, and was fouled as he shaped to shoot, but again his free-kick only gave the Queens keeper some gentle catching practice.
The closest things though were at the Terregles Street end. Two minutes from the break some hesitation between Keddie and Smith allowed Weatherston to nip in but with Smith virtually out of his box, the keeper got enough glove on the attempted lob to slow the ball enough for Higgins to be able to get back and knee the ball back to his recovering keeper.
There was still time for two incidents of arguable significance. First Quinn picked up a bad injury in front of the main stand, and had to be replaced by another youngster, McShane, and Harris appeared to be close to a red card when he tripped McDougall just on half time, but got away with a lecture. However, we were scoreless after the first 45.
Half-time: Doonhamers 0 Pars 0.
David Graham had been pretty anonymous in the first half, but he soon featured more as the second half got under way. First Lilley went straight through the back of him to see the game’s second yellow card, then in 50 minutes he hit a long cross-field ball to McDougall, who got past his man and laid the ball back to Woods whose shot was deflected behind for a corner when perhaps he might have done better.
No matter, McDougall trotted across the park to take his first corner from the left, and this allowed him to hit an inswinger to the near post where Buchanan stooped to head home from 3 yards. 1-0 Pars.
Four minutes later and the Pars doubled their lead in extraordinary circumstances. Orsi was attacking down the right, and Graham had tracked back deep to help out McCann. Between them they won the ball and McCann came away with it. With no Graham to pass to (he was behind him) Ozzie chose to send an optimistic ball down the line for Kirk. Harris got there first, shaped to put the ball into touch then checked inside and attempted to hit a firm pass along the edge of the box to Reid. Only he didn’t connect properly, and instead, from 25 yards hit a swerving, dipping shot over the keeper and into the net. A brilliant finish, had it been at the other end, and 2-0 Pars.