Match Report

  Queens recorded back-to-back league wins for the first time this season as a first half strike from Ian McShane was enough to secure a hard fought victory against Raith Rovers at Palmerston this afternoon. The win moved Queens up to 6th place in the Championship table, and although they had to spend a considerable time defending their lead, especially in the 2nd period, they managed to hang on to claim the points.

    Manager, Jim McIntyre, made one change to the team that performed so well in last week`s victory over Alloa, with Ian McShane coming in for sickness victim Paul Burns, whilst on-loan Motherwell striker, Bob McHugh, began his Queens career with a place on the bench. Visitors Raith whose 1-0 win at Palmerston back in September put an end to Queens` long unbeaten home record, started the day five points ahead of Queens, and they arrived in Dumfries with a pretty decent record at Palmerston. However, although the Kirkcaldy side had won both games between the teams so far this season, their current run of  just one win from six games, and  failing to score in their last three,would have been a major concern to Rovers boss Grant Murray.
     It was the home side who got the third meeting between the teams this season under way, and as was the case against Alloa last time out, Queens began in a 4-4-2 formation, and less than a minute into the contest, Cardle`s mistake gifted Queens their first corner of the game. Chris Mitchell`s deep delivery was only just cleared as Mark Durnan came within inches of connecting with the cross at the back post. The visitors response was to launch a counter attack of their own, and after the ball fell to him just outside the penalty area, Fox saw his shot fly well wide of the target. There were some half- hearted claims for a penalty for Queens 9 minutes in when Mitchell`s cross to the far post saw Gavin Reilly being prevented from jumping for the ball by a Raith defender, but in fairness most of the appeals came from the fans and not the players.
    The best chance of the opening spell fell to the visitors, as a good move involving Booth and Elliot on the left ended with full-back Booth shooting into the side netting from a tight angle, and for the Raith fans at the other end of the ground who thought their side had scored, his effort proved to be frustrating. Minutes later, Queens had their first opportunity of the game following a free-kick. Iain Russell was brought down 25- yards from goal, and after Paton`s well hit shot could only be parried by Raith `keeper Laidlaw, Russell reacted first but with the goal gaping, Queens` leading scorer could only smash the ball wide of the net. Fortunately for Russell, the offside flag had been raised, and so his blushes were spared. The home side were starting to see more of the ball at this stage, and after Russell intercepted a misplaced pass in midfield, Queens attacked again. Russell found Derek Lyle in space on the right and after getting to the bye-line the striker pulled the ball back into the path of the supporting Paton, but the former Aberdeen player who had scored in successive home games, was wide of the mark this time as his effort flew past the near upright.
Callachan hits the upright
     The spell of pressure that Queens had put together was rewarded after 25 minutes when they opened the scoring with a well worked goal. Chris Mitchell`s ball into the box found Lyle, and his cushioned lay-off fell nicely into the path of the on-rushing Ian McShane, who finished well with a low shot that flew in between `keeper and post. The goal came from what was certainly Queens best move of the game, and the young midfielder showed good awareness to get himself into the right position. However, going behind seemed to inspire the visitors, and it was the men from Kirkcaldy who seized the initiative. Striker Calum Elliot was the victim of a clumsy challenge by Mark Durnan, the tackle earning the defender the game`s first caution. From the resulting free-kick Cardle`s delivery was headed clear by Kevin Holt but the ball sat up nicely for Callachan and his ferocious effort from fully 30-yards out smashed against the far post with Zander Clark motionless. It was a huge let off for Queens, and minutes later Callachan once again tried his luck from distance, this time though although his technique was good, his shot was far too high and caused no problem. With Raith well and truly on top at this point, they had another chance to get themselves back into the game 6 minutes before the break. Poor play in midfield saw Raith gain possession midway inside the Queens half, and as Anderson broke free down the right, Clark did well to block his attempt and Durnan recovered well to tidy things up.Queens created a half chance of their own just before the break, Paton`s long ball over the top found Reilly, but slightly off balance, the striker was unable to get enough power behind his shot, and Laidlaw was able to make a comfortable save.
McShane wheels away after scoring
Keeper Laidlaw has to pick the ball out of the net as McShane celebrates in the background
The second half began with Queens winning an early free-kick after a foul on Derek Lyle on the left touchline. Michael Paton was again on set-piece duty and his in-swinging delivery although hit into an inviting area, was easily claimed by Laidlaw. With Queens starting the half well, an almost identical position saw them go close to increasing the lead. Raith`s  Fox was booked for a foul on Russell, and  another Paton free-kick was cleared to the edge of the area as far as Stephen McKenna, and the midfielder was not too far away with a side-footed half volley that had Laidlaw beaten.
     Queens launched a breakaway through Gavin Reilly who latched on to a long ball from Holt,and after getting past a defender he slipped the ball into Russell, but the striker dragged his shot wide of the far post from a good position. Once again Russell was in the thick of the action, and after collecting the ball from Paton, he was bundled to the ground by Callachan which earned the Raith man a caution. The free kick by Paton was cleared as far as Russell, but he was not able to keep his shot down and his attempt went well over the bar. Queens made their first change on 72 Minutes when Kevin Dzierzawski replaced goalscorer, Ian McShane, and from that point in the game, Queens began to sit back and defend a bit deeper than they had done, and this certainly encouraged the visitors to attack more. As the game moved into the last 20 minutes, Raith went very close to drawing level when a move down the right involving Cardle and Elliot ended with Cardle`s shot creeping inches past the post, and as they continued to press for the equaliser, they went even closer when Spence and Elliot combined well only to see Mitchell recover and clear the ball away before it crossed the line. As an attacking force Queens were non-existent, and they continued to be hemmed in, at times having all ten outfield players positioned deep inside their own half, and after switching to a 4-2-3-1 formation in an effort to `tighten` up, the final minutes of the game were a tense affair for most in the 1538 crowd.
     With 4 minutes to go Lyle was replaced by Danny Carmichael, and as the prospect of back-to-back league wins loomed, the nerves and the tempers became frayed. Right on full-time Stephen McKenna was cautioned for a foul on Anderson, and minutes later there was even time for a full scale `rammy` after Russell threatened to break clear only to be crudely halted by a bad challenge from Donaldson. The resulting brawl was eventually calmed down by all the officials, with Chris Higgins following Donaldson into the book for his part in the incident. The final whistle was greeted with a mixture of happiness as well as relief amongst the Queens support, as two wins on the spin have  lifted Queens to within two points of the play-off position. When the sides meet back in September it was Queens who were left feeling that they should have taken something from the game, today as the visitors made their way back to Fife, I am sure that they will be feeling similarly disappointed. Gavin Reilly was chosen as man-of-the-match for the second game in a row as once again his non-stop running and defending from the front were vital for Queens.
Donaldson puts in a typically `robust` challenge

  • Clark

  • Mitchell

  • Durnan

  • Higgins

  • Holt

  • Paton

  • McShane

  • McKenna

  • Russell

  • Lyle


  • Reilly


  • Atkinson

  • McHugh

  • Carmichael


  • Dzierzawski


  • McGuffie

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14:29 Good afternoon folks and welcome to a damp and dreich Palmerston as Queens host Raith Rovers.
14:31 Today`s teams:
14:32 Queens: 1 Clark 2 Mitchell 3 Holt 4 McKenna 5 Durnan 6 Higgins 7 Reilly 8 McShane 9 Lyle 10 Paton 11 Russell
14:33 Subs: 12 Atkinson (gk) 14 McHugh 15 Carmichael 16 Dzierzawski 17 McGuffie 18 Slattery 19 Hooper
14:36 Raith: 17 Laidlaw 2 Thomson 3 Booth 5 Hill 6 Fox 7 Cardle 8 Moon 10 Elliot 11 Anderson 12 Callachan 14 Donaldson
14:37 Subs: 12 Roberts (gk) 9 Spence 15 Smith 16 Ellis 19 Mullen 21 Vaughan 23 Matthews
14:43 And today`s whistler is Andrew Dallas assisted by flagwavers Tom Murphy and Paul O`Neill.
5 min Queens line-up in the same 4-4-2 formation as last week with Reilly and Lyle up top, Russell on the left and Paton on the right.
6 min Raith have probably settled the better of the teams but neither has troubled the goalkeepers.
14 min Raith come close to opening the scoring as a nice passing move between Calum Elliot and Callum Booth sees the fullback fire into the sidenet
15 min Queens reply to that Raith chance with a free-kick 25 yards out. Paton to hit...
17 min ...Paton hits it well and Laidlaw can only push it out. Russell is onto the rebound and should score but his effort is deflected wide.
23 min GOAL QUEENS! McShane the scorer - QOS 1:0 Raith
24 min Cracking goal from Queens as Mitchell crosses for Lyle to lay the ball perfectly onto McShane`s run and the youngster finds the near corner.
25 min Early sub for Raith as Greig Spence replaces Kevin Moon.
27 min Yellow Card : Mark Durnan is beaten all ends up by Calum Elliot as the striker nutmegs him before the big defender wipes him out.
33 min Off the post Raith! Wow, what a hit from Callachan. Queens survive as the Raith midfielder smashes onto the post with Clark stranded.
35 min Callachan tries his luck again from range but fires a half-volley a couple of yards over. Raith are starting to build some pressure.
38 min Big chance for Raith. Anderson is played through on goal on the right. Clark does well to come out and block the shot before Queens clear.
43 min Half-chance for Queens as Paton plays the ball through for Reilly who is off-balance when he hits it and the keeper gathers with ease.
Half Time HALF TIME - QOS 1:0 Raith
Half Time Decent first half for Queens but Raith may feel unfortunate not to be level after creating some good chances.
Half Time Today`s attendance is 1538.
51 min No changes from either side. The second half has yet to settle into any sort of rhythm but Queens do have a corner...
53 min ...Mitchell takes it but Laidlaw claims the ball before Lyle can get his head to it.
55 min Yellow Card : Raith`s Liam Fox picks up a yellow for fouling Iain Russell on the left touchline.
56 min Paton takes the resulting free-kick and the Raith defence do well to head clear before McKenna goes for glory with a volley that flies over.
66 min Half-chance for Queens as they break through Gavin Reilly on the right wing who finds Russell but his shot from 18 yards is dragged wide.
68 min Yellow Card : Raith`s Ross Callachan takes down Russell on the corner of the area and sees yellow.
71 min Substitution : Dzierzawski on for McShane
73 min Raith create their best opportunity of the half as Elliot lays the ball off for Cardle who fires low past Clark`s post.
77 min Off the line! Raith almost level as Spence does well to put the ball across the goal, Elliot sends it goalward but Mitchell clears.
85 min Substitution : Carmichael on for Lyle
90 min Yellow Card : Kevin Holt trips Anderson on halfway and is booked.
90+2 min Yellow Card : Iain Russell storms through the middle and is taken out by Donaldson before a bit of rammy starts. Higgins sees yellow too.
16:49 FULL TIME - QOS 1:0 Raith
16:50 A third win on the bounce for Queens propels them right into the playoff discussion. Not a pretty second half but job done.