Match Report

Queens` play-off push suffered a setback under the Starks Park floodlights as they lost 2-0 to an in-form Raith Rovers side.

A first half tap-in from Mark Stewart and a James Craigen penalty made sure the points would stay in Kirkcaldy and move The Fifers seven points clear of The Doonhamers.

It was a crucial game for both sides in the hunt for the final play-off position and with the business end of the season approaching fast it looked to be a pivotal six-pointer for what feels like our annual midweek visit to Starks Park.

James Fowler made one change to the starting eleven that defeated Hibernian last week. Dale Hilson, who set up Andy Murdoch`s fine strike last week, started for the first time since November meaning Iain Russell dropped to the bench. Top goal scorer Derek Lyle returned to the bench for the first time since picking up an injury in our defeat to Rangers a few weeks ago.

The first chance of the game fell to Raith in the 5th minute. A nice one-two from Iain Davidson and Ryan Hardie opened up the Queens midfield and Hardie`s perfectly timed ball managed to find its way through to Aidan Connolly but his tame shot couldn`t call Robbie Thomson into action as it trundled wide.

The hosts were forced into an early substitution with ten minutes on the clock. Dale Hilson and Iain Davidson both went to win the ball in the air and clashed heads with the latter coming off worse.

There was a lengthy delay as the midfielder was stretchered off and taken to hospital after being knocked unconscious for a couple of seconds. Former Queens defender Craig Barr replaced the injured Davidson.

Seven minutes later, Ray McKinnon`s men had two chances to break the deadlock. A long through ball from Callachan found Stewart on the edge of the box and as Thomson looked hesitant to whether to come and clear the ball the striker knocked the ball past the keeper but his touch was too heavy and went out of play. Moments later Craig Barr rose above Chris Higgins but the defender`s header was comfortably into the hands of Thomson.

It took The Doonhamers a while to get into gear and in the 28th minute they were beginning to adjust to the rainy conditions. Jordan Marshall was brought down by Raith captain and from Ryan Conroy`s in-swinging free-kick was deflected out for a corner.

Conroy whipped in the corner and made Kevin Cuthbert work for the first time in the evening, punching the ball clear. Marshall was looking dangerous for the visitors and his cross found Jake Pickard but he couldn`t adjust himself properly and his tame header was caught by the goal keeper.

The game was screaming for a goal and it finally came in the 32nd minute. Darren Brownlie`s slack pass was pounced on by Stewart and his ball freed up Hardie on the right-hand-side of the penalty area, his shot was blocked off the line, it fell to Stewart who hammered it into the net from close range.

An unhappy defence following the first Rovers goal

Queens could have equalised six minutes later, Lewis Kidd shot was deflected out for a corner. Ex-Raith man Ryan Conroy swung in the set-piece towards Cuthbert, and the keeper unconvincingly punched clear into the path of Dowie, who touched it back to Callum Tapping, but the midfielder scooped his shot high over the bar.

The Doonhamers were made to regret their chance to get level almost immediately as the hosts doubled their lead from the penalty spot.

Hardie was causing the Queens defence problems with his quick feet and his shot was adjudged to hit the hand of Chris Higgins by the referee who pointed to the spot and booked Higgins in the process.

The strike from Hardie hits the raised arm of Higgins earning a booking for the Captain and a converted penalty for the home side

James Craigen stepped up and calmly slotted the ball past Thomson to give the home side a two goal advantage at the interval.

After a frustrating first period, Queens made two changes, Derek Lyle and Iain Russell introduced for Darren Brownlie and Callum Tapping.

The introduction of the two top goal scorers were beginning to make an impact on the match, the vast of Queens possession was being played out in front of the Raith back-four but couldn`t find a moment of brilliance to break down the stubborn defence.

Rovers still looked dangerous on the break, Lewis Toshney broke up an attack in the middle of the park, played the ball wide to Hardie, whose first time lay-off found  Craigen, but from a good position the midfielder couldn`t add to his tally and lifted his shot over the bar.

Queens were enjoying much more possession but were getting caught out with the home sides counter-attacking. Rory McKeown won the ball from Russell in the 62nd minute, and motored down the pitch, and his deep cross from the left found Stewart at the back post, but his volley from an acute angle was blocked by Higgins for a corner.

Russell and Marshall attacking down the left hand side

James Fowler made his last substitution of the evening, Gary Oliver on for Hilson and it almost brought Queens back into the contest. Oliver linked up with Russell, who turned Thomson and his cross found Pickard on the edge of the box but the youngsters header was straight at Cuthbert, who still hadn`t been properly tested all evening.

With only a quarter of the game remaining, Hardie could have wrapped the match up for Raith. He times his run perfectly and was through one-on-one with Thomson, but the keeper got the better of the pair and pulled off a superb save.

The keeper was back in the thick of the action only seconds later, Hardie decided to try his luck from long range but again Thomson managed to turn his effort out for a corner.

It was Hardie again pleasing the home supporters with his quick movement and got a shot away but again Thomson was on hand and saved.

Queens failed to break down a rock solid Raith defence but managed to get a late shot on target. Derek Lyle tried his luck from long range but his effort was easily saved by Cuthbert.

It was a disappointing night for The Doonhamers who rarely troubled the home defence. The defeat means Raith are seven points clear in the final play-off spot, although we do have a game in hand. The next fixture is away to St Mirren this Saturday.


  • Thomson

  • Brownlie


  • Higgins

  • Dowie

  • Kidd

  • Hutton

  • Tapping


  • Marshall

  • Pickard

  • Conroy

  • Hilson


  • Atkinson

  • Harris

  • Lyle


  • Russell


  • Jacobs

  • Oliver

  • Murdoch

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For Real Time Updates Go To Our Updates Page
20:19 Goal Raith. Fleming the scorer - Raith 1:0 QOS
20:21 Dowie cuts back to Tapping but the midfielder shot goes over the bar. Still 1-0 here.
20:24 Yellow Card : Hutton
20:26 Yellow Card : Higgins
20:26 Penalty to Raith...
20:26 Goal Raith. Craigen the scorer - Raith 2:0 QOS
Half Time HALF TIME - Raith 2:0 QOS
45 min Change at the break for Queens Lyle on for Tapping.
45 min Substitution : Russell on for Brownlie
45 min Substitution : Lyle on for Tapping
61 min Stewart shot is deflected out for a corner. Still 2-0 here.
63 min Yellow Card : Russell
68 min Substitution : Oliver on for Hilson
71 min Hardie judges his run bang on time but his effort is saved by Thomson.
75 min Substitution : Panayiotou on for Stewart
90+2 min Yellow Card : Kidd
21:36 FULL TIME - Raith 2:0 QOS