An equalising goal late in the game from defender Andy Dowie was enough to give Queens a share of the points in this afternoon`s Championship clash against Cowdenbeath at Palmerston, as once again, Queens looked anything but comfortable on their own pitch.
After naming an unchanged starting line-up in the previous 4 games, Queens boss, Jim McIntyre, decided upon making one change for today`s game, as Danny Carmichael was recalled, in place of Kevin Dzierzawski, who dropped to the bench. Visitors Cowdenbeath, who started the game having either won or lost their previous 8 league games this season,were looking to end a run of three successive defeats as they made their first visit to Palmerston since April 2011, a game that ended in a 2-2 draw.
Kicking towards the Terregles Street end of the ground, Queens started in a 4-4-2 formation with Derek Lyle, and Iain Russell leading the line up front. The early play indicated that Queens were not going to have things all their own way as the away side began the game on the front foot, and the lively front pairing of Hemmings and Stewart looked particularly good at holding the ball up and bringing their team mates into the game. However, it was Queens who created the first half chance of the game just 4 minutes in. Following a foul on Derek Lyle by defender O`Brien, whose clumsy challenge saw him cautioned, Ian McShane delivered what was almost a perfect set-piece, but his kick just eluded both Ryan McGuffie, and Iain Russell as they looked to work a position inside the six-yard box. Almost immediately, Cowdenbeath won a free-kick of their own after Derek Young was penalised, but after lining up his strike,Morton saw his effort bounce off the wall straight back into his path, but he fared no better with his second attempt as he hit the ball well wide of the target. The visitors went close again minutes later when Hemmings seized upon poor defending by Queens and fired an effort goalwards, but his effort bounced into the ground giving Calum Antell the chance to tip the ball over the bar.
Lyle heads onto the bar
With Queens making some terrible errors especially in defence, the visitors were able to grow in confidence and Stewart went close again, this time Antell rather awkwardly parried his shot clear, and Dowie swept the ball to safety. The next attack also came from the visitors, as a very nervy Queens contrived once again to surrender possession very cheaply, and when Wedderburn found Hemmings in plenty of space just outside the area, it seemed as though he would open the scoring, but he sliced his shot wide much to the annoyance of his manager on the touchline. However, the visitors and their supporters did not have much longer to wait for their side to go ahead, as once again the goal came from poor play from Queens. A poor ball out from defence was collected by Stevenson who in turn found Stewart on the right. After controlling the ball just inside the area on the angle, his shot, although firm enough did not seem as though it would trouble Antell, but unfortunately for the young Queens `keeper, the ball slipped from his grasp and trickled over the line to give Cowdenbeath a well deserved lead.
After falling behind, Queens finally managed to string together a few passes, and a neat move involving Lyle and McGuffie almost set Carmichael free, but the final pass was a fraction over hit and Cowdenbeath were able to clear the danger. The first 20 minutes had come and gone and Queens had offered very little going forward, but they went extremely close to drawing level after wining their first corner of the game on 23 minutes. Ian McShane`s perfectly flighted delivery was met at the far post by the head of Lyle, but his looping effort back across goal bounced off the crossbar. At last Queens were starting to make the game a contest, and Carmichael`s trickery won the hosts another corner and once again McShane`s delivery from the set-piece should have produced an equaliser but Ryan McGuffie couldn`t get enough on the ball as it sliced off his foot with the goal at his mercy. Although Queens were enjoying their best spell of the half, the visitors were still playing well, and after dispossessing Young in midfield, Wedderburn`s shot from distance, although well wide, showed that they were certainly capable of scoring again. The former England under 19 star then produced a piece of sublime skill that took him past 2 Queens players and ended with an audacious flick to set his team on the attack, the action drawing warm applause from the Queens support in the main stand.
Five minutes from the break Queens created a half chance when a good run and cross from McGuffie was cleared out as far as Iain Russell, but the striker`s shot on the turn was always rising. An excellent move that started with McShane finding Paton in space on the left and ended with Paton`s cross picking out Lyle came to an end when the Queens striker was flagged offside, but at last the home support in the crowd of 1514 had something to encourage them, and then minutes before the interval, another excellent delivery from McShane was only inches away from finding the head of Chris Higgins as Queens continued to have the better of the play. The half almost ended perfectly for Queens as a free kick from Andy Dowie deep in his own half was headed clear by the Cowdenbeath defence, but only as far as Michael Paton who after controlling the ball well, fired his shot from 20 yards out just the wrong side of the target.
HALF-TIME QUEENS 0-1 COWDENBEATH
Having probably been given a `severe talking to` at the break, Queens began the 2nd period much brighter, and an early cross from Russell forced `keeper Flynn into his first action of the half, as he punched the cross away, and although the ball fell straight to Kevin Holt, the full-back was unable to generate enough power into his header, and Flynn claimed comfortably. As they continued to press forward in search of the equaliser, Queens were in danger of being exposed at the back, and the visitors almost set up a counter attack, but Chris Higgins` rather crude challenge on half way prevented the break, and also saw him collect a yellow card for his trouble. The free-kick from distance by Stevenson was comfortably gathered by Antell.
After 54 minutes, Queens passed up another chance to get back into the game. After wining a corner on the right, McShane once more produced an inviting cross, and unmarked right in front of goal, Ryan McGuffie glanced his header wide of the post. It was a really good chance to draw level, but as has often been the case in recent games, Queens are having no luck in front of goal at the moment. Just 2 minutes later Michael Paton was next to go close, and this time the former Aberdeen man did all the work himself. Collecting the ball 10 yards outside the penalty area, he twisted and turned past two defenders before trying to chip the `keeper from about 12 yards out,but `keeper Flynn was just able to reach the ball and prevent what would have been a fine goal.
The game threatened to take a nasty turn just after the hour mark when Kevin Holt appeared to be fouled by Morton, and then the Cowdenbeath player seemed to aim a kick at Paton, but after consultation with his assistant, referee Dallas, decided that a caution for both players was sufficient. The visitors were almost gifted a second goal on 66 minutes, after a mix up in defence saw Robertson collect the ball and drive forward, but after rounding Antell, the striker threw himself to the ground and was quite rightly booked for simulation. Queens made their first change after 69 minutes with Gavin Reilly replacing Iain Russell, the substitution once again causing some supporters to vent their frustration at the decision. The home side were certainly having the better of the possession, although clear cut scoring chances were rare. A second change for Queens came with 15 minutes of the match remaining, Kevin Dzierzawski replacing Derek Young, and almost straight away the American was involved in another Queens chance. After a run down the right by Carmichael appeared to have come to an end, Dzierzawski collected the ball on the edge of the box, and after his mis-hit shot fell kindly for Ian McShane 14 yards out, the midfielder`s shot seemed to be on it`s way into the far corner, but unfortunately from a Queens point of view, it was deflected away for a corner. The set-piece was cleared but Queens won the ball back quickly and broke down the right again and once more Carmichael was able to find a tempting cross, but as the ball bounced high up in front of him, the onrushing Paton was unable to keep the ball down and he smashed his shot over the bar.
Just when it seemed as though Queens would take nothing from the game, on 85 minutes they found a leveller. A brilliant through ball from Kevin Dzierzawski that sliced through the Cowdenbeath defence found Carmichael on the right and with Lyle in support in the middle a cross would have given him a real chance to score, but Carmichael`s ball was just behind Lyle and the ball was cleared for a corner. However, once again Ian McShane`s set-piece delivery was perfect, and this time it got the perfect response as Andy Dowie rose above everyone to head home from close range.
Dowie rises high to equalise
Determination from the Queens players following Dowies goal
The Queens centre back almost went from hero to villain seconds later when his poor pass was intercepted by Stewart, and as the forward bore down on goal and rounded Calum Antell, he shot towards an empty net, but Queens` captain, Chris Higgins, did really well to get back and knock the ball off the line. Even after that incident, the visitors almost snatched a winner, but Antell reacted well to deny Robertson and keep the score level.
A point apiece was probably about right, but for Queens, a return of just 9 points from the first quarter of their league campaign is certainly very poor, and all at the club know that there is much work to do. The sponsors chose Kevin Holt as their man-of-the-match, as Queens ended the day where they began in 7th place in the Championship table.