Queen of the South 0 - 3 Dunfermline AthleticAuthor: Alistair Campbell Date: Saturday, 2nd May 2009
The Pars travelled to Dumfries with their squad ravaged by injuries and suspensions, and deflated after losing at Hampden. With Queen of the South brimming with confidence after thumping of Clyde 7-1 last week, there could only be one result, right? Wrong - with the pressure off both teams the Pars produced one of their better performances of the season and could even have scored more.
Changes were inevitable with Glass suspended, Thomson injured and other players carrying knocks. As it happened, there were fewer than might have been expected. Gallacher was there, of course, and Woods joined Wilson in the heart of defence, flanked by Ross at right back with Austin McCann on the left. In mid-field Bell was a late withdrawal and so Phinn started in the middle of the park with ex-Doonhamer Burke, David Graham was on the right and Scott Muirhead on the left. Kirk and Bayne were back together up front as the Pars went with a 4-4-2, matched by their hosts. Lee Graham stepped up to the bench, joining Loy, Mole, Willis and Paterson.
The Pars made a bright start - inside 40 seconds Graham swept the ball from one side of the park to the other, over the right back Reid’s head to find Muirhead, who elected to pass inside to Bayne but the big number 9 delayed and his shot was blocked. Andy Kirk did better four minutes later with a spin and shot, but Robinson in the home goal was untroubled.
Queens seemed composed on the ball, and Gallacher was off his line quickly and bravely in the 10th minute to dive at Dobbie’s feet, after Tosh’s shot deflected into the space in front of him.
The Pars were varying their play - passing the ball to feet but also trying to use Muirhead’s pace and Bayne’s aerial ability (although the latter kept a move going in the 18th minute by heading to Phinn despite being flat out on the ground at the time) and took the lead in the 21st minute with a clever goal. Burke started the move in the middle and found Ross on the right - he cut inside, fed Phinn who played a one-two with Bayne at the edge of the area. With the defence coming out to block the shot, Phinn chipped into the space between the back 4 and the keeper, and Kirk got there a nano-second before Robertson and his header fell into the empty net. 1-0 Pars.
Dobbie had a shot from distance in 24 minutes that whistled past the right hand post, although Gallacher looked like he pulled his hands away at the last second, before the Pars doubled their lead in 26 minutes. Slack play by the home team ceded possession on the right of their own half, and Harris needlessly headed Muirhead’s deep cross behind for what was the Pars’ fourth corner. Graham’s delivery was too deep and fell beyond everyone, being picked up by Burke at the far corner of the box. He had time to pick out Woods with a perfect cross, the tyro centre-back’s text book header beating Robinson high to his right. 2-0 Pars.
Queens had a couple of chances to get one back - Wilson didn’t clear properly and Tosh was through with time to pick his spot, although the spot he picked was 6 inches beyond Gallacher’s right hand post, then Woods seemed to be defending a little too deep, conceding a corner from which Scally got a header in, but that was past the post as well.
Back came the Pars and a deep Graham cross was flicked on by Bayne whereupon Muirhead thrashed a half-volley which Robinson beat away - a Muirhead goal and it really would have been fantasy football from the Pars - but the third was delayed only by a few seconds. Kirk chased what seemed a lost cause, and hooked the ball into the area from the bye-line. Robinson seemed to be clear favourite to collect the looping ball, but flapped at it under pressure from Bayne, the ball was cleared to Muirhead, who found Phinn, and with the keeper back in his goal, Nick created a yard of space before slamming the ball in the net - Robinson got a hand to it, but couldn’t keep it out. 3-0 Pars.
There was still plenty time for more, but after McCann got to the bye-line his cross was disappointing, Scally tried the spectacular with an overhead kick but again couldn’t force a save, and the match drifted to the interval.
Half Time: Doonhamers 0 Pars 3
The second half started slowly, but the Pars were first to find their feet, with Muirhead twice getting clear down the left, the first time Phinn was just too late with his late arrival at the back post and the second time the home skipper chested out for a corner under pressure.