Match Report

 Queens rounded off what has been a superb week for the club by defeating play-off rivals Falkirk, by a single goal to nil in this afternoon`s crucial Championship clash at Palmerston. After the tremendous effort that the team put in against Rangers on Thursday, Queens struggled for large parts of today`s game, but inspired by a stunning goal from Derek Lyle, they dug deep and showed great determination to hang on to gain a vital 3 points which has now made them strong favourites to make the play-offs. 

     The side showed just one change to the one that began against Rangers, with Michael Paton, stepping in to replace the injured Mark Durnan, and with Lewis Kidd moving to right back, Queens returned to a 4-4-2 line -up. Visitors Falkirk included both Mark Kerr, and John Baird - who were returning to Palmerston for the first time since their moves - although there was still no place in their squad for the injured Dumfries born, Rory Loy.
   After a morning of mixed weather conditions in Dumfries, at kick-off everything had settled and there was plenty of bright sun and blue skies as referee, Alan Muir, got proceedings underway with Queens attacking the Terregles Street end of the ground. The opening stages were a bit scrappy with neither team able to gain any early dominance, and the most notable excitement came from the Portland Drive terracing as Police and Stewards moved in on mass to try and apprehend the culprit responsible for setting off a `mini explosion` behind the goal. As the game continued, it was the visitors who began to take control, and the first effort on target came from Alston, although his shot from just inside the penalty box was straight at Zander Clark. There was a coming together between former colleagues Stephen McKenna, and John Baird on 11 minutes, and although there was nothing much in it, referee Muir decided that he had to intervene, offering a stern warning to both players. Needless to say, this created another opportunity for certain members of the home support to show their feelings towards Baird, with most of his early touches being greeted by a chorus of boos.
   Most of the early running was being made by Falkirk, and after they won the game`s first corner and Duffie`s header was cleared, Baird had a great chance to silence the boos, but his well struck volley saw Zander Clark produce a top class save to deny the visitors an opening goal. As Falkirk continued in the ascendancy they created a couple of decent half chances, but both attempts from Grant and then Sibbald were wide of the target.
 
Clark pulls off a fine save to deny Baird
 
   Queens had hardly been in the Falkirk half, let alone threaten their goal, but on 22 minutes and completely out of nothing, they made the breakthrough. A long clearance from the Falkirk defence looking for the run of Baird put Zander Clark under some pressure, but his long clearance upfield did exactly the same to the visitors and Vaulks` header back towards `keeper MacDonald was seized upon by Derek Lyle and the in-form striker smashed an unstoppable volley over the stranded `keeper to give Queens what at that stage, was an unlikely lead.
 
Lyle volleys home.....
 
....giving MacDonald no chance.......
 
....and celebrates with the crowd
 
   Having got their noses in front, Queens really should have increased their lead after 25 minutes. McKenna did well to win possession and he lifted the ball into the path of Ian McShane breaking into the box on the left, and after getting in behind Duffie he fizzed the ball across to the near post at such a pace that Gavin Reilly was unable to adjust quickly enough to guide his effort goalwards and the ball ended up going wide of the target. That was about as good as it got for Queens in the first period, as the visitors re-grouped and went on to dominate the remainder of the half. Following a spell of corners that had the Queens defence at full stretch, Falkirk almost drew level when Vaulks met Sibbald`s well flighted corner, but thankfully from a Queens perspective his header flew wide of the far upright.
 
McShane sets up Reilly
 
Reilly cant believe that his chance went wide
 
   The hosts were forced into making an early change after 35 minutes as Lewis Kidd was replaced by Scott Hooper - not sure if Kidd was injured or unwell - but minutes earlier he was a little sloppy in giving the ball away, maybe at that point something was wrong. However, Hooper slotted in at right back as Queens continued with their 4-4-2 formation. As the game moved towards the break, Falkirk continued to ask questions of the Queens defence, and once again, both Andy Dowie, and Chris Higgins were superb in keeping the opposition at bay, although the `Bairns` went very close to drawing level when the lively Smith almost found the net from an acute angle, trying to curl the ball in from the right. It was Smith again minutes later who had the visitors next attempt on goal, following neat and tidy build up play by Alston, the striker`s fierce drive was well gathered in by Zander Clark. The game`s first yellow card was shown to Falkirk`s Mark Kerr following a late tackle on scorer Lyle, but unfortunately the set-piece delivery was a huge let down and the Falkirk defence were not tested by the poor free-kick. That was the last noteworthy action of the first half, a half mostly dominated by the visitors, but ending with Queens having the all important opening goal in their favour.
 
Determination from Captain Higgins
 
HALF-TIME  QUEENS 1-0  FALKIRK
The second period began much the same way as the first half had ended with Falkirk being the more threatening as Alston, Sibbald, and Kerr continued to pull the strings in the middle of the park. It was pretty clear that the efforts the players put in against Rangers on Thursday was starting to take it`s toll on a good few of the Queens players, and as such they started to defend from very deep, on several occasions every Queens man was behind the ball. Obviously this played into the hands of the visitors and although their pressure was relentless, they just could not find a way past the resolute home rearguard. Michael Paton became the first Queens player to be booked after getting caught in possession, his attempt to regain the ball saw him mis-time his challenge. From the set-piece Sibbald, having spotted Clark slightly out of his goal, tried to find the corner of the unguarded goal, but his effort lacked both direction and pace and Clark saved very easily.
    Just short of the hour mark, Queens had their first attempt on goal of the half, but Lyle`s drive was wide. The striker was then shown a yellow card moments later after kicking the ball away at a Falkirk throw-in, and five minutes later the scorer of the game`s only goal was replaced by former Falkirk man, Mark Millar. With the pressure building all the time, Queens were having difficulty in having some meaningful possession, and balls pumped long to either Reilly or Carmichael were invariably sent straight back as Falkirk had the hosts pinned in. The introduction of Miller helped to a certain degree as his ability to do the `simple` thing effectively finally saw Queens have some more meaningful possession of the ball, without it has to be said, doing much with it especially in the final third.
   Falkirk substitute and debutant O`Hara almost made himself an instant hero when a cross from the left fell to him, and although the ball arrived at him at pace, he probably should have done better than scoop his shot high over the bar. The home fans in the crowd of 2057 were urging their favourites to attack more, and on 77 minutes they had their best chance of the half to extend their lead. A quick break by Danny Carmichael saw him make good headway to the edge of the area and with a supporting run made by McShane, the winger was only inches away from slipping the ball into McShane`s path for what could have been a real opportunity. Following this break, Queens won what was only their second corner of the contest minutes later, but when the ball broke out to Dowie, the centre-back produced a centre-back`s finish when he blazed his shot high over MacDonald`s crossbar. Those two moments were rarerities for Queens, and they had `keeper Zander Clark to thank for keeping them ahead when the Queens number one reacted brilliantly to turn away a close range header from Sibbald following a flowing Falkirk move. Alston was next to go close, his shot on the turn being comfortbaly held by Clark.
 
Carmichael wins a free kick
 
   Iain Russell replaced Reilly for the final few minutes, and although the game moved into 6 minutes of added time, only a Sibbald effort caused a bit of concern for those of a Queens persuasion as Queens stood firm to gain a valuable win. Not a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but for effort, determination, and a willingness not to be beaten, Queens deserved the win and now know that another win away at Alloa next weekend will seal a play-off place for the second season running. Sponsors man of the match was Andy Dowie, and with crucial saves at vital times, Zander Clark must have been a strong contender.
  So the week ends for Queens as it began, with a hard fought win, and who would have thought that games against Hibs, Rangers, and Falkirk would have yielded 9 points with no goals conceded. Well done lads, have a good rest and be ready for next week. You have certainly earned it.

  • Clark



  • Kidd

    Sub1



  • Dowie



  • Higgins



  • Holt



  • Carmichael



  • McKenna



  • McShane



  • Paton





  • Lyle
    1
    Sub2



  • Reilly

    Sub3




    Subs


  • Atkinson



  • Durnan



  • Russell

    Sub3-88


 
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14:14 Good afternoon and welcome to Palmerston for today`s SPFL Championship game against Falkirk. Teams to follow
14:15 Qos Team : 1.Clark 3.Holt 4.Dowie 6.Higgins 10.Reilly 12.Kidd 14.McKenna 15.Paton 17.Carmichael 18.McShane 19.Lyle
14:15 Qos Subs : 5.Durnan 8.Millar 11.Russell 20.Atkinson 22.Hooper 24.Smith 28.Pickard
14:17 Falkirk : 1. Macdonald 2. Duffie 6. Vaulks 7. Taiwo 8. Alston 9. Smith 10. Sibbald 11. Kerr 14. Grant 19. Leahy 35. Baird
14:18 Falkirk subs : 12. Bowman 15. Dick 20. Cooper 5. Mccracken 3. Muirhead 30. OHara 36. Morgan
14:19 Just one change from Thursday night, Durnan not recovered sufficiently to start. Paton takes his place
14:20 For Falkirk, still no Rory Loy but ex Queens players Kerr and Baird both start for the Bairns
14:20 Today`s officials : referee, Alan Muir and his assistants Gavin Harris and Calum Scott
14:22 Remember a win today and two points from the final three games will secure a play off spot.
14:22 Of course a Falkirk win puts them right back in it. All to play for in about 40 minutes. We`ll keep you updated with all the goals
0 min THE GAME KICKS OFF
2 min Back to 4-4-2 today with Durnan on the bench.
22 min GOAL QUEENS. Lyle the scorer - QOS 1:0 Falkirk
23 min Long clearance from Clark looks to be easy enough for Vaulks but his header back falls to lyle who smashes home
35 min Substitution : Hooper on for Kidd
36 min Kidd didn`t look in too much trouble but can only assume he`s picked up a knock
Half Time HALF TIME - QOS 1:0 Falkirk
Half Time Pretty even first half. Both teams have had periods if possession and chances but it`s Queens who hold the lead
45 min SECOND HALF UNDERWAY
16:51 FULL TIME - QOS 1:0 Falkirk
16:51 It`s been a nervy second half. Not much incident but all Falkirk. Queens held on though