Match Report

There probably weren`t many who thought this morning that Queens would get anything at Easter Road today against the division`s form team. There were probably even less after Falkirk`s win over Rangers at lunchtime opened up the prospect of Hibs joining Rangers at the top of the table with a victory. But we came oh so close to doing so and gave a good account of ourselves for most of the game before falling to Dominique Malonga`s hugely controversial 93rd minute winner.

The change Queens have gone through was underlined when comparing the team that started today to the one which won at Easter Road on our last visit back in April. The team that started that day was Clark, Holt, Dowie, Durnan, Higgins, McShane, Reilly, McKenna, Paton, Carmichael & Lyle. Only Dowie, Higgins & Lyle were involved today. James Fowler made two changes to the starting eleven that drew with Raith Rovers last time out. Lewis Kidd kept his place at right back, replacing Darren Brownlie as he had at half time v Raith, whilst Alex Harris, not able to play as he is on loan from Hibs, was replaced by Ryan Conroy. There was no place for Danny Carmichael in the Hibs side either as the popular winger continues his rehabilitation from recent surgery.


Russell limbers up

Hibs came out of the traps quickly and almost scored in the first minute when Liam Fontaine headed a corner narrowly wide. The home side continued to dominate the opening exchanges as Jason Cummings fired in a free kick, easily held by Thomson in goal and then James Keatings headed wide from close range when he should really have scored. However, gradually Queens, playing a more adventurous 4-4-2 line up today, worked their way into the game and began to pose questions themselves. Hibs retained the bulk of the possession without worrying Robbie Thomson too much, Martin Boyle and James Keatings both shooting wide. However, half time was reached with neither keeper being seriously tested again.

Russell attempts an overhead kick

The second half began with Queens taking charge for a period. Mark Millar forcing a save out of Oxley in the home goal with a shot from distance. The game started to open up a little after the hour mark when Hibernian made a loud claim for a penalty after Darren McGregor`s shot from 12 yards out was blocked by the out-rushing Higgins. The ball may have hit his hand, it was difficult to tell, but if it did then it was from very close range and would have been a harsh penalty. Soon after, breaking the other way, Iain Russell got in behind the home defence and was tripped from behind by Lewis Stevenson. The fact that Russell`s touch had taken him towards the corner flag rather than the goal saved the Hibs defender from something worse than the yellow card he got. From the resulting free kick Ryan Conroy fired narrowly over the crossbar.

Alan Stubbs had seen enough and made a double change up front, bringing on Henri Anier and Dominique Malonga for Cummings and Boyle. It almost paid immediate dividends when Malonga found time and space in the box to shoot at goal. It may have been on target, it may not, but Lewis Kidd appeared back towards his own goal-line to head the ball over his own bar and away for a corner. Kyle Jacobs cleared the initial corner for another one but from the second one David Gray should have scored with a header but headed narrowly past the post instead.

With quarter of an hour to go Fowler sent on Aidan Smith in place of Iain Russell who had put in a tremendous shift of running across the front line and was clearly tiring. Soon after Mark Millar needlessly got himself involved with Liam Henderson in the centre circle after a foul had been awarded against him and after a spot of handbags, picked up a yellow card. Quite how Henderson avoided one after grabbing Millar by the neck in the tussle is anyone`s guess though! Queens then sent Jake Pickard on for Lyle and Hibs replaced Keating with Islam Feruz as they searched for a winner. Finally, Ryan Conroy was replaced by Darren Brownlie as Queens looked to see out the last few minutes and clinch a precious point.

And so to the controversy. With 90 minutes come and gone Kyle Hutton tried to clear the ball from just outside his own area. It struck a Hibs player and bounced back to hit Hutton in the face. He went down as the ball was cleared upfield and stayed down. As Aidan Smith and Mark Millar pursued the ball into the Hibs half referee Brian Colvin, seeing Hutton down holding his face, stopped play and insisted the player leave the field for treatment. No problem in itself with that. Play then needed to be restarted with a drop ball midway inside the Hibs half. Logically this should have been a competitive drop ball as players from both sides had been pursuing a loose ball when the whistle went. However, Mr Colvin restarted play by dropping the ball directly to a Hibs player with no Queens player anywhere near him. If he was expecting them to give the ball back to Queens then that was never going to happen and Hibs quickly broke forward down the right side with an extra man over as Queens had Hutton off the pitch and players out of position everywhere. Gray managed to get a looping cross beyond Higgins and over Thomson and there was Dominique Malonga with the freedom of the six yard box to head the winning goal with the clock on 93 minutes. Mr Colvin was immediately surrounded by most of the Queens team whilst his assistant had to cope with several bodies from the Queens bench making protests. Thomson, Dowie, Higgins and Liam Henderson were all booked and several players had to be pulled away from the officials before they got themselves in more trouble. There were also a handful of Hibs supporters on the pitch celebrating at the time including one youngster who ran virtually the length of the park, pursued by a steward, before disappearing into the crowd again.

The referee blows for attention to Hutton whilst Millar chases down the ball

Millar wonders how that drop ball worked with the Hibs player being given the ball by the referee - and then keeping possession

There was bad blood on the pitch now and it took a few minutes to get restarted. Although there was probably less than a minute played when it did restart there were still a few wild challenges in those seconds before Mr Colvin wisely brought things to a halt. That of course just meant he was subjected to a second spell of being surrounded by Queens players before James Fowler eventually ushered his men away. It would have been an excellent point, and it was taken away in the harshest of ways, worse than the late winner at Ibrox because this one came from such an obvious injustice, but the team should take heart from their efforts today and regroup in the New Year in their attempts to climb the table.

Contrasting emotions as McGinn can`t believe his sides luck whilst Fowler and Dowie can`t believe the manner of the defeat.

James Fowler acknowledges the support at the end of the match

Merry Christmas from all at Palmerston!

  • Thomson

  • Kidd

  • Dowie

  • Higgins

  • Marshall

  • Jacobs

  • Millar

  • Hutton

  • Conroy


  • Lyle


  • Russell


  • Atkinson

  • Brownlie


  • Rutherford

  • Pickard


  • Moxon

  • Smith

  • Coogans

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13:47 Sorry, but due to illness we won`t be able to bring you any live updates today.
16:56 FULL TIME - Hibs 1:0 QOS