Match Report

A goal in each half was enough to give Queens a comfortable victory as they eased to a 2-0 win in their 2nd division clash with Ayr United. The win, their 5th in succession, extended their unbeaten league run to 13 games, and it was only due to some fine goalkeeping from the visitors No 1, that prevented the winning margin being greater than it was.



Following three successive away games, all of which resulted in victories, Queens returned to Palmerston for the first time since their win over East Fife at the end of October, and after 2 games in 4 days last week, manager Allan Johnston decided to make just a single change to the team that started in Tuesday`s 5 star performance at Forfar as Paul Burns returned in place of Willie Gibson. Visitors Ayr, who arrived in Dumfries on a recent good run of just one defeat in their last 8 games began the day in fourth place, albeit some 15 points behind their table topping hosts.


Given the fact that the pitch had been subjected to a fair amount of rain over the past few days, as well as an overnight ground frost, the surface looked pretty decent at the start of the game, and it was Queens, lining up in a 4-4-2 formation who got the game underway.


The opening period saw Queens have plenty of possession, and an early attack down the right might have produced an opening goal, but after Paul Burns and Ryan McGuffie combined well to set up a shooting chance for Burns, `keeper Brown made the first of several saves by pushing the ball over for the games first corner. The delivery from Chris Mitchell was aimed at the far post where Burns smashed in a half-volley that produced an even better diving save from Brown. The visitors first venture forward saw them create a half chance but striker Moffat was unable to bring a spinning ball under control, and Lee Robinson was able to collect under no pressure. The trickery of Danny Carmichael created another chance for Burns on 14 minutes, but his effort did not have the power or direction to trouble Brown. The best chance that the visitors had in the early stages fell to Moffat, but Robinson was down quickly to make a smart save to preserve his clean sheet, and as play quickly switched to the other end, on 16 minutes, Queens took the lead. A foul on Clark midway inside the Ayr half down the right led to a free-kick, and Chris Mitchell-not for the first time this season-delivered a perfectly flighted cross into the box where Ryan MCguffie got ahead of his marker to guide a flicked header past the stranded Brown to score for the second game in a row.


McGuffie puts the ball into the bottoom corner to open the scoring


The goal was certainly merited, and Queens were playing some good football which was very pleasing on the eye, and it was clear that the players were continuing to play the way they had done in their recent games at both Arbroath and Forfar. They might well have extended their advantage after 25 minutes when Carmichael found Derek Young, his cross being headed narrowly over by Clark as Queens pressed for a second goal. Minutes later Brown produced a brilliant reflex stop reacting well to keep out a close range header from Young. The Ayr No1 almost went from hero to villain moments later when he miscued a clearance straight to Carmichael 30 yards from goal, but fortunately for the `keeper, Carmichael returned the ball straight into his arms.


Danny wins the race to the byeline and gets the cross in


Ayr player boss, Mark Roberts, forced Robinson to make a good save 5 minutes before the break, but it was Queens who had the best opportunity to add to the score. McGuffie and Lyle exchanged passes down the right wing, and after eluding the last defender McGuffie`s pull back from the bye-line fell nicely for Carmichael on the angle of the 6 yard box, but the winger missed his kick and the danger had gone. As the half came to an end, Queens were quite clearly on top and would have been further in front but for a fine first 45 from visiting `keeper Brown.




Neither side made any changes at the break and as the half settled down, it was the visitors who had the better of the play for the first few minutes, forcing an early corner, and then a shot from distance by Crawford that flew high and wide. To be honest that was really the only time that Queens came under any real pressure in the game for any length of time, and it wasn`t long before Queens regained the grip they had on the game as on 55 minutes they doubled their lead.


A sweeping move from left to right that went through Mitchell, McKenna and Burns allowed Burns the chance to break down the right wing before driving in a perfectly weighted cross to the back of the penalty area where Nicky Clark was on hand to knock home his 5th goal in 4 games, and his 16th in all competitions so far this season. Queens were in complete control at this point, and Burns should have made it 3-0 following more good play from Carmichael, but he shot wide when well placed at the back post. It was almost one way traffic towards the Ayr goal, and Lyle was next to go very close after Mitchell`s cross was headed inches over by the Queens striker. The attacks were coming thick and fast and Carmichael produced another good run and cross that was gathered by Brown just ahead of the onrushing Clark.


Clark adjusts his body to get a foot on the ball and steer it home 


Although they were being outplayed for the most part, Ayr created a decent chance to reduce the arrears when a burst forward from Moffat set up a chance for Sinclair but with his shot seemingly going in, the ball was deflected wide by a very good block from Chris Higgins. On 70 minutes Carmichael did well to win the ball and send Clark racing through on the angle of the 6 yard box but once again `keeper Brown was equal to the in form striker`s effort, diving to his left to prevent a certain goal. Some of Queens play was superb, with neat , crisp passing at the forefront of many of their moves, and most of the 1935 fans in the biggest league crowd of the season to date, certainly enjoyed the football that their team delivered.


Stephen McKenna-who celebrates his 27th birthday tomorrow-went looking for an early present, probably remembering his `wonder` strike he got against Ayr almost a year ago, but his shot was hit straight at the `keeper. With just 8 minutes left, Ayr were awarded a free-kick just outside the area after Derek Young was penalised for a foul, but what could have turned into a dangerous situation was wasted when Sinclair`s effort was well off target. Queens then made all 3 changes as Lyle, Carmichael and Clark were replaced by Orsi, Reilly and Hopkirk-the latter making his first appearance at Palmerston. With the game moving into it`s final moments, Gavin Reilly had the opportunity to add a third goal deep into stoppage time, but from a narrow angle he was unable to get the better of Brown who once again did well to make the save.


McGuffie chases down


The sponsors named Ryan McGuffie as man of the match, and once again it was another solid performance from him and the rest of the back four as they notched up clean sheet number 9 from the 13 league games Queens have played. The gap at the top of the table remains at a very healthy 9 points and with a very exciting looking cup tie coming up against Kilmarnock next weekend, Queens will go into that game full of confidence and with every hope of giving their SPL opponents a challenging game.

  • Robinson

  • McGuffie

  • Durnan

  • Higgins

  • Mitchell

  • Burns

  • McKenna

  • Young

  • Carmichael


  • Lyle


  • Clark


  • Atkinson

  • Reilly


  • Black

  • Orsi


  • Hopkirk


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14:39 Howdy folks and welcome to a chilly Palmerston as the Doonhamers host Ayr United.
14:40 Today`s teams:
14:41 Queens: 1 Robinson 2 Mitchell 3 McGuffie 4 Durnan 5 Higgins 6 Young 7 Carmichael 8 McKenna 9 Lyle 10 Clark 11 Burns
14:43 Subs: 14 Reilly 15 Black 16 Orsi 17 Hopkirk 12 Atkinson (gk)
14:44 Ayr: 1 Brown 2 Hunter 3 Twaddle 4 McAusland 5 McCann 6 Sinclair 7 Crawford 8 Wylie 9 Moffat 10 Roberts 11 MacKinnon
14:44 Subs: 12 Robertson 14 Winters 15 Brownlie 16 Shankland 20 Muir (gk)
14:46 And today`s whistler is Euan Anderson assisted by flagwavers Graham McNeillie and David Roome.
14:51 One change to the Queens line-up from Tuesday`s thumping of Forfar with Willie Gibson making way for Paul Burns on the right wing.
14:56 Allan Johnston`s men will be aiming to continue their impressive unbeaten start this season but will find it tough against todays opponents.
14:58 Ayr have been on a good run since Queens beat them 4-2 at Somerset Park, winning 6 of their last 8 games with just one loss to Alloa.
15:00 The teams are out and we`re ready to go...
7 min Queens have lined up in a 4-4-2 formation whilst Ayr in their red and black hoops have a bit of a diamond formation.
8 min First chances as Burns brings 2 saves from Brown in the Ayr goal. One from distance and the second from a nice run at a corner.
9 min Ayr`s first real attack sees Moffat miscontrol and the ball bobble to Robinson. If he`d managed to control the ball there he was in on goal
14 min Queens are starting to take control of the match without really opening Ayr up. The visitors look content to try and hit Queens on the break
16 min Real chance for Ayr! Moffat skins Higgins and holds off the defender but can`t beat Robinson before Mitchell clears the danger. Good save.
16 min GOAL QUEENS! McGuffie the scorer
19 min Straight from the Ayr attack Clark wins a freekick on the right. Once again Mitchell`s delivery is excellent and McGuffie heads in low.
20 min Queens threaten again as Mitchell fires a long-range freekick a few yards over and Burns puts in a dangerous cross but no takers.
28 min So close Nicky Clark! A strong run from Young down the left wing picks out Nicky Clark in the centre but his header is inches over the bar.
31 min Great save Brown! Good pressure on the Ayr box by Queens sees Mitchell pick out Young in the middle but his header is acrobatically saved.
35 min Almost an embarrassing moment for the Ayr keeper as his miscued clearance goes straight to Carmichael.Brown gets back in time though to save
40 min Queens have lost their passing in the last few minutes and have been gifting possession to Ayr a bit too easily.
42 min Yellow Card : Ayr`s right-back Adam Hunter is late on Mitchell and earns a booking.
45 min Ayr threaten as Mark Roberts fires a shot from inside the area but Robinson is equal to it and holds well.
45+1 min Chance for Queens! Really good work from McGuffie as he storms to the byline and cuts it back but the ball bobbles over Carmichael`s foot.
Half Time HALF TIME - QOS 1:0 Ayr
Half Time A decent first half from Queens but a couple of late attacks from Ayr should be warning that the game isn`t over.
Half Time Queens have a had a problem with not finishing teams off at home so another goal is required to prevent a nervy finish.
Half Time Today`s attendance is 1935.
46 min Ayr kick off and punt the ball straight out for a goal-kick. Scottish football at its finest.
52 min Queens defending at the start of the half as Ayr win a freekick in the Queens half and then a succession of corners.They cope and clear well
54 min Sleepy start from the home side as they have struggled to keep any meaningful possession since the restart.
54 min GOAL QUEENS! Clark the scorer
56 min Would you believe it?! As soon as I finish typing they put five passes together and the ball finds Clark at the back post to tap home.
58 min What a miss! Nice play from Carmichael on the left as he crosses to Burns at the back post. He opts to place it but sends it miles over.
61 min Almost Lyle. Queens get in down the left again and this time Mitchell crosses to Lyle whose header drops onto the roof of the net.
62 min Queens have really settled after that goal and Carmichael is starting to torment Hunter at right-back.
66 min At the other end and Ayr almost get one back as Moffat turns nicely and plays in Wylie but his goalbound shot is blocked by Higgins.
66 min Ayr make the first change as David Winters replaces Darian MacKinnon on the left wing.
67 min Chance Clark.Nicky Clark sprints beyond the Ayr defence and hits his shot with power towards the far post but Brown gets down and saves well
75 min Queens are really playing the ball around nicely and after a number of passes in the middle Burns has a go but its straight at the keeper.
82 min Derek Young gives away a dangerous free-kick on the edge of the D but David Sinclair sends it well over.
82 min Substitution : Reilly on for Lyle
83 min Substitution : Orsi on for Carmichael
83 min Substitution : Hopkirk on for Clark
84 min A flurry of activity on the Queens bench as they make all three substitutions at once.
90+1 min Chance for Reilly. Burns tackles the fullback and Reilly sprints onto it but his effort from an angle is deflected wide by the keeper.
16:48 FULL TIME - QOS 2:0 Ayr
16:51 Queens go marching on and it`s a deserved victory as they were the better side for much of the game and keep their 9-point lead at the top.