Dunfermline 1 - 2 Queen of the SouthAuthor: Alistair Campbell Date: Tuesday, 18th Aug 2009
The Pars have a slightly ambivalent relationship with the Challenge Cup - never quite sure whether to take it entirely seriously or not - so the most disappointing thing about this defeat is the extension to the appalling home record. Cardle scored another good goal, but substitute Tosh won it in the 91st minute, after Kean had given the visitors an early lead.
Not the first team, but not a second eleven either - no McGregor (suspended) or Higgins, Burke, Bayne or Graham (presumably injured) and Bell dropped to the bench. So we had Fleming in goal, a back four of Woods, Dowie and McCann (at centre back) and Muirhead; a midfield of Gibson, Phinn, Holmes and Cardle, with McDougall partnering Kirk up front. The bench had a youthful look to it (if you ignore the management team) - Paterson, Willis and Jordan White alongside Bell and Greg Ross.
All the spectators were in the main stand, and they nearly saw Queens get off to the perfect start when Burns evaded Phinn to set up a shooting chance within the first 20 seconds, but shot well wide. The game was slow to get going, possibly because both sides had made several changes since Saturday, and the Pars old friend Ludovic Roy in the visitors goal was nearly caught out when a seventh minute McDougall effort was blocked and looped over his head, but managed to turn the ball over the bar.
The Pars had a more conventional attack a couple of minutes later when neat play from Gibson and Phinn found Cardle on the left - his low cross was dummied by McDougall but the ball fell behind Phinn and the ball was cleared easily. However, the visitors soon took the lead, breaking quickly and spreading the ball to Derek Holmes in the inside left position - he controlled well and sent in an early cross to Kean who had lost his marker and headed home off the underside of the bar - 1-0 Queen of the South. A bad goal defensively, but well created and well finished.
Gibson tried to lead the fightback despite getting the ball in the face - picking up the loose ball and sending McDougall free down the right. Steven skinned McAusland but couldn’t pick out the pass once in the area. Meanwhile Gibson had to leave the field to change his bloodied shirt - and couldn’t be waved back on (in a number less jersey) until his injury was inspected - as play raged on neither referee Allan nor his linesman had the time to check and a good couple of minutes elapsed before the Pars were back at full strength.
Good chances were few and far between - Kean shot over after McLaren had created some space and in 32 minutes Cardle went on a mazy run but his attempt was woeful. With McDougall and Kirk winning almost nothing in the air against McAusland and Lilley, the Pars were attempting to pass the ball wide with Holmes filling the Burke role in trying to keep possession. In 35 minutes one of his more ambitious passes seemed to be heading out of play but Harris kept it in, only to be robbed by Gibson who sent a quick pass into the channel for Kirk, whose fierce shot was beaten out at his near post by Roy.
Roy again seemed to be caught on his heels but tipped over a wicked inswinging cross from Gibson just
before the break but the Pars trailed at the interval.
Half Time: Pars 0 Doonhamers 1
With the Pars now shooting towards the empty Norrie stand, they started on the offensive, but a dreadful Kirk pass soon conceded possession and Muirhead had to clear from under his bar as Queens again broke quickly. One problem with playing 2 wide men is you become particularly vulnerable in the middle of the park if the ball is lost, particularly if Phinn or Bell is supplementing the attack. However the Pars were back seeking the equaliser as Gibson, Kirk and Woods all combined to set up Graeme Holmes but he was fouled 30 yards out. With no Nipper, and Burke and Glass in the stand, there was a vacancy for a dead ball “expert”. Kirk had had a (poor) bash in the first half, and this time Cardle rolled the ball to Muirhead, who at least forced a good low save from Roy.