Match Report

This was always likely to be a pivotal game in our season as Falkirk and ourselves battle it out for one likely place in the playoffs. The build up to this one though was given added interest by the defections of Mark Kerr and John Baird to join Falkirk whilst Mark Millar, who ran the midfield for Falkirk last season, had joined Queens. Millar though needs a bit of work on his fitness since joining from Peterhead and had to make do with starting on the bench today as Lewis Kidd kept his place in central midfield. It was the side that beat Livingston a fortnight ago other than the change of goalkeeper where Jim Atkinson played ahead of Zander Clark who had picked up a sprained ankle in that game. Clark in fact made it to the bench for this one but wasn`t risked. The game arrived a little too early for Chris Mitchell and Paul Burns who failed to make the bench. Both Kerr and Baird started for the Bairns who also included another former Queens player in goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.

Queens started the match very poorly and indeed were a long way from their best throughout a first half full of misplaced passing and poor decision making. In retrospect it looked like the weekend off last week had done us no favours. Baird had already missed one decent chance before the deadlock was broken on 16 minutes. It actually came from a Queens corner from the right. As the kick came in Derek Lyle appeared to be clattered in the penalty area but referee Crawford Allan waved play on and the home side broke clear. More than one chance was missed to get the ball clear before Rory Loy`s sharp dart past Durnan appeared set to get him in behind our back line on the left side of the penalty box. Rather than let him go Durnan elected to pull him back before he got into the penalty box and then turned to get his expected booking only to find to his shock that Crawford Allan was pointing to the penalty spot. As cynical as the foul was it looked a harsh decision and later tv views suggested the incident did indeed take place outside the box. Rory Loy wasn`t complaining though. The Dumfries born forward picked himself up and fired the penalty low down the middle to open the scoring. Surprisingly, Durnan wasn`t booked for the original foul but Derek Lyle collected a yellow card in the aftermath of the goal for complaining about the perceived foul on him in the other box.

Lyle nurses a painful jaw just before Falkirk are awarded a penalty

Loy nets his first penalty

Falkirk almost doubled the lead two minutes later but Loy`s shot in the box was blocked by Dowie. Queens offered little of note in the first half other than a shot narrowly over the top from Lyle and Ian McShane`s free kick which floated wide of target. Captain Chris Higgins also picked up a booking for another cynical foul on a breaking opponent.

Carmichael is foiled

The second half proved to be a different story though. Mark Kerr picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on Lewis Kidd which fortunately caused no real damage. John Baird then fired narrowly wide before almost doubling Falkirk`s advantage when he raced clear and beat Atkinson to the ball, chipping it towards goal, only for Durnan to get back to the ball just as it reached the goal-line and slide it against his own post and back out to safety. It would turn out to be a crucial piece of defending. Three minutes later Derek Lyle beat the offside trap at the other end to burst clear. he should have scored but delayed his shot too long allowing Luke Leahy to get back to him with a desparate block out for a corner. It was a fine challenge by the young defender who was already on a booking but it proved to be in vain. From the resulting corner the ball was half cleared, played back in and fell perfectly for Iain Russell to fire in from 18 yards. Gavin Reilly was on hand in front of MacDonald and flicked it past the goalkeeper. To Russell`s disappointment though he was immediately substituted before play restarted. Paton and Millar had been waiting to replace Kidd and Russell even before the goal was scored and James Fowler elected to go ahead with the changes anyway despite the equaliser.

Premature celebrations from the Falkirk fans as Durnan clears off the line

McDonald takes his frustration out on the post as Queens score

Russell celebrates the goal

Queens then had a spell in charge of the game during which time Peter Grant picked up Falkirk`s third booking of the game for a foul on Lyle. However, the game turned on its head again on 64 minutes as Loy`s goalbound shot struck the hand of Mark Durnan standing on his own goal-line before being cleared. Mr Allan appeared unsighted but his assistant was quick to award a penalty kick and that inevitably meant Durnan also saw a red card. It looked like the hard work was undone for Queens but in a remarkable let off Loy fired his second spot kick firmly against the cross bar and the rebound bounced right out of the penalty area. Fowler immediately threw on Scott Hooper, who turned 20 this week, in place of Lyle and reverted to a back four again with Dowie tucking in at centre back alongside Higgins. The home side followed this with a couple of changes of their own as Alex Cooper replaced Will Vaulks and Taylor Morgan replaced John Baird. Queens then had another fine spell when, despite being short handed they created several openings. Paton had a goal-bound curling shot blocked by a defender before McShane`s 20 yard drive was deflected just wide of target. On another break Carmichael`s shot was deflected over MacDonald but cleared away from the line.

The long walk for Durnan

Delight for Queens as Loy hits the bar with his second penalty

However, with 10 minutes remaining it was Falkirk who thought they had won it with Alex Cooper`s close range strike only for him to be denied by a simply magnificent reaction block from Atkinson. One for the career highlight reel many years from now Jim! The remaining game was played out with the home side having most of the possession inevitably but they never again looked much like scoring. In the circumstances this felt like a very good point indeed and the team can be proud of their second half efforts but it`s Hibernian at Palmerston next so the challenges don`t get any easier and this one will presumably be faced without Durnan who will be suspended.

A wonder save from Atkinson gains a point for Queens

Remember your first Queens game? well this was Callums - hope you enjoyed it


  • Atkinson



  • Dowie



  • Durnan



  • Higgins



  • Holt



  • Carmichael



  • McShane



  • Kidd

    Sub1



  • Russell

    Sub2





  • Reilly
    1


  • Lyle

    Sub3




    Subs


  • Clark



  • Millar

    Sub1-57



  • Paton

    Sub2-57



  • Dzierzawski


 
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14:10 Huge apologies but there will be no live updates today. We`ll bring you the final score later on
16:49 FULL TIME - Falkirk 1:1 QOS