Match Report

Its Tuesday night, its ALBA Cup Round 2 day then surely we must be at East End Park Dunfermline for our yearly visit? Indeed we are as Scotland`s version of groundhog day sees Queens Bill Murray visit Dunfermline`s Andie McDowell, although without the romantic interest part obviously. This is the third year in a row we`ve visited East End Park at this stage and the fourth time the clubs have met in the competition with the overall tally standing at two wins for us against a win for the Pars. All of them away wins too so lets hope the sequence can be continued. 

This is the first of at least seven visits to the Kingdom of Fife this season for us but at least a visit to East End Park is notable for 2 things that make the trip worthwhile. The teams run out to ``Into the Valley`` by The Skids featuring the late lamented Stewart Adamson (although not died on this day so not counting as star No.6, more to come on that one though) and it`s the chance to tuck into an excellent Stephens Steak Bridie. After a visit to Dens on Saturday it`s a relief to find that they are priced at a much more fan friendly price - frankly for the price you pay at Dundee its not unreasonable to expect a lap dance to be thrown in with it, although judging by the servers at Dens not an experience to relish I`d guess. Anyway take note Dundee that 2 of us got a drink and food for only slightly more than you charge for a burger!

Both sides experienced very different fortunes last week at the hands of two of the pre season favourites. We lost out to Dundee failing to press home a two man advantage for the last quarter of an hour although before that it wasnt the worst performance ever. The Pars though had an excellent 1-0 away win at newly relegated Falkirk to cement their position as one of the early favourites for the league.

The ALBA Cup is often the perfect time for managers to experiment and play the fringe players, all very well if you have any but these days we struggle to get 11 players on the park at any one time. Dunfermline being the flash sorts they are actually have reserves, cant see the idea catching on myself, and can make some changes to their line up if they so wish. Given our limited options we see the return of Willie McLaren in place of the ineligible Darren Young whilst on the bench its a welcome return to David Lilley and Allan Johnstone. Manager Kenny Brannigan resists the temptation to throw youth players in and goes looking for a certain ratio of youth to experience. A Certain Ratio brings me to Anthony H Wilson music and media mogul, manager, owner, founder of Joy Division, New Order, A Certain Ratio, Factory Records and the legendary Hacienda Club who died this day 2007. Apart from the above Wilson also hosted the highly influential So it Goes for Granada TV that gave the Sex Pistols as well as Joy Division their first airing on national TV so Wilson becomes No.6 in this seasons list.

The game kicks off in a down pour and first in to action tonight is Lee Robinson who races from goal to complete a diving header clearance for an early Pars throw. Pars have an early upper hand as winger David Graham cuts inside Paul Burns but sends his shot high and wide.

Its 10 minutes before we create a chance as a neat 1-2 between Burns and Weatherston sees David send in a cross that Holmes just fails to get on the end of. At the other end McDougall latches on to a pass and cuts back to Willie Gibson whose shot is well saved by Robinson before Burns blocks the rebound. Theres a scare then for Queens as McGuffie is short with his headed back pass forcing Robinson to race from goal and Lee can only crash his clearance into Pat Clarke and the ball rebounds back towards goal but thankfully wide. 

On the quarter hour a Quinn free kick is just past the post as the game settles into a period of midfield possession and some it has to be said fairly attractive stuff is played by both sides without making any clear cut chances. On the half hour theres a bit of flare up as Willie Gibson is booked for a foul on Quinn minutes later Quinn is booked for a foul when it actually looked like Harris may have been the real culprit. With five minutes left on the clock A Gibson cross to the back post is collected by Graham whose shot is deflected off Burns and Robinson has to be sharp to scramble a save at his near post. Queens end the first half with McLaren just failing to take a Quinn pass in his stride and so we go into the break goalless. 

The second half sees us start on the back foot as an early Pars corner sees Quinn charge down a shot before a Gibson free kick is easily dealt with by Robinson, Somewhat against the run of play its Queens though who take the lead. A break by Quinn sees him try to thread a pass down the right to Burns, the Pars defender gets in a block on the pass but succeeds only in knocking it into the path of David Weatherston who is now clear in on goal, David races into the box and calmly fires it past Smith to put us 1 up, a cracking finish. 

Minutes later though the Pars nearly draw level as Graham cuts in from the wing and sees his shot come back off the bar but from this Queens go close themselves as Burns breaks clear to set up Weatherston who plays in Quinn whose fires it just wide. Minutes later a Carmichael cross causes a bit of confusion as the defender leaves it and Paul Burns is just unable to get up high enough to get his head to it and Smith is grateful to gather the loose ball.

With half an hour to go the turning point of the game comes as Cardle replaces Gibson. Queens had kept Gibson under control for the first hour but we struggled to contain Cardle for the remainder of the game and he would go on to have a fine game. The Pars also bring on Andy Kirk for Pat Clarke and again Kirk will have a bearing on the game too.

With a quarter of an hour left a cross is whipped in from the Pars left and Andy Kirk is clear in front of goal as he heads it just wide, the `goal` is celebrated wildly by the Pars fans until they realise it`s a goal kick - now honestly you wouldnt see Queens fans making that mistake would you? Well not after last weeks visit to Dens you wont. The Pars are now well on top and we are restricted to the occasional foray on the break but we look to be hanging on for a third win in a row here on ALBA cup business. However we cant hang on long enough as with 10 or so minutes left Kirk is alone on the end of a cross and he isnt going to miss a second chance and duly gets the tie level again.

Moments later McGuffie misjudges a long ball and the Pars forward is clear on goal but he reckons with a superb last ditch Craig Reid challenge to concede a corner. Cardle who has been a real handful then whips in a cross that sees a last ditch header from Harris save the day and from that corner a shot is fired in that Robinson saves well for another corner. Paul Burns sees yellow for a foul on Cardle as the Pars continue to batter away at us. Thankfully though we do hold out and ref McKendrick signals the end of normal time with the scores level at 1-1.

To be honest its not looking too good at this point and the betting man would be looking to lump on the Pars at this point, we are in a bit of a hole here and needing to dig in and see our way to finding an escape shaft so to speak. And speaking of `Shaft` would lead to you to think of Isaac Hayes who was responsible for the Oscar winning sound track to the blaxploitation film of the same name. Isaac came to fame as a writer, producer and performer with Stax Records most notably as a writer for Sam & Dave with his most famous song arguably ``Soul Man``. Isaac to you youngsters out there though will be more recognisable as Chef from South Park with his UK number 1, Chocolate Salty Balls, I can confidently predict that that`s the first time those words will have featured in a report on an ALBA cup tie. Anyway Isaac sadly passed this day 2008 to become dead star No.7 for the season. There you go 3 dead stars for today, although only 2 died this day in history. 

Anyway back to the game and Extra time kicks off and surprisingly its Queens who pass up a great chance to knick the lead as Weatherston breaks and sends in a perfect back post cross to the on rushing Rocco Quinn who seems to miss it all together. A minute later though we have Lee Robinson to thank for keeping us level as he pulls off a fabulous save. A shot is fired in and takes a looping deflection towards the top corner only for Lee to acrobatically palm it away. After dominating the end of normal time the Pars whilst still in the ascendancy arent as dominant and Queens are looking a bit more comfortable. With the first half of extra time coming to an end young Gavin Reilly comes on for Weatherston

The second half begins with Neil Scally replacing Derek Holmes and both sides have shots that go wide from Woods and Carmichael. A slip by McGuffie allows the Pars to force a late corner but its dealt with easily by Queens whilst up at the other end Carmichael is eased off a cross into the box leading to half hearted appeals for a penalty that would have been soft if given. The game looks more and more destined for penalties as both sides look to have settled for it and they get their wish as the ref whistles it over at 1-1. Not a bad game really with both sides looking to play attractive passing football to be honest The Pars were the better side for long periods of the second half after an even first half and had the better of extra time but Queens had their chances and some resolute defending gets them a chance in the penalty shoot out.

So on to penalties and its Queens first to go so up steps,

Bob Harris - Bob smashes it in off the underside of the bar, a bit of a heart in the mouth moment at first but in it went 1-0.

Andy Kirk - and first of all Lee Robinson manages to get himself booked for delaying the kick. All to no avail as though he guessed right its still 1-1

Paul Burns - the PB Fan club is overjoyed as he confidently makes it 2-1

Nick Phinn - no problems 2-2

Rocco Quinn - confidently 3-2

Callum Woods - again no problems 3-3

Willie McLaren - calm as you like 4-3

David Graham - Robinson guesses right and saves low to his left, decent penalty great save still 4-3

Neil Scally - to win it for Queens! Smith guesses right and like Robinson saves to his left, decent penalty but great save still 4-3 have we blown it?

Gary Mason - to keep the Pars in it, come on Lee! No mistake 4-4 so its sudden death now.

Craig Reid - a shimmy and then smashed right in the top corner 5-4

Paul Willis - to keep the Pars in it, come on Lee this time! Lee guesses right but cant stop it 5-5

Gavin Reilly - the youngster steps up but sees Smith guess right and save low to his right, fine save but tragedy for the youngster still 5-5

Chris Higgins - this time to win it for the Pars, come on Lee we need this saved. No doubting the man Lee dives to his right and saves the day still 5-5

Ryan McGuffie - you`ve scored one in a cup final this should be easy then. It is 6-5

Andy Dowie - to keep the Pars in it, come on Lee again! Dowie smashes it off the underside of the bar and out. 6-5 We win, I thank you!

 

So an epic and wildly exciting penalty shoot out sees 16 penalties taken and 5 missed as we get through. Youd have to say that even the missed ones werent bad efforts more good saves by the keepers and the final one was the only one to not need saving Football is a cruel game, Bobs first pen hits the bar and goes in their last hits the bar and goes out. But out it stayed and so we get through to the Quarter Finals of the ALBA cup.

 

News that Dundee have been well and truly humbled at Stenhousemuir, stop sniggering at the back there, coupled with the previous exit of Falkirk leaves ourselves, Ross County and Partick Thistle as the only remaining first division sides and we now have a great chance of doing very well in this cup, its not such a diddy cup now that we can begin to think of a good day out and a wee pay day for the club too.

 

Queens can though count themselves a little fortunate to be still in it as over the piece Dunfermline were the better side. Certainly this early in the season Dunfermline look a far better side than Dundee did on Saturday but again we matched them and that augurs well for our first division prospects. Stand outs today for Queens? Reid was again the best of the defenders, Quinn had a far better game than last week, McKenna put himself about in midfield and does the dirty work so well, Holmes will always divide opinion of the support but to me he wins so much ball and lays it off to others so well that i`ll forgive the frustrating side of his game. Robinson in goal was excellent all night he commands his box well and when called upon made a couple of fine saves one of which was superb and of course he made 2 crucial penalty saves too. So for that hed be my man of the match

 

Saturday sees the visit of early pace setters Raith Rovers lets see if we cant complete a Fife double and get our league points tally moving.=


  • Robinson(10/11)





  • McGuffie



  • Reid



  • Harris





  • Burns



  • McLaren



  • McKenna



  • Quinn



  • Carmichael





  • Weatherston
    1
    Sub1



  • Holmes

    Sub2




    Subs

 
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Dramatic Penalty Win at Dunfermline
Its Tuesday night, its ALBA Cup Round 2 day then surely we must be at East End Park Dunfermline for our yearly visit? Indeed we are as Scotland`s vers ... Read Full Report ...

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