Match Report

Queens got back to winning ways this afternoon as they recorded a well deserved 3-1 victory over visitors Ayr United after a spirited performance - especially during the second period - ended a run of three games without a win.

Already without the services of Michael Paton, Abdul Osman and Faissal El Bakhtaoui through injury, Queens faced an early set back when Jack Hamilton sustained a very early injury that saw him replaced by Gary Oliver, but they recovered from that early blow, and after a fairly even first half ended on level terms, Queens took a grip on the game and eventually found the play and the goals to earn a valuable win.


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We started in a 4-4-2 formation with Darren Brownlie returning to the team, Darren Lyon starting just his second league game, and Connor Murray included from the start for the first time since the defeat at Inverness as we aimed to move our way up the league table.


Visitors Ayr began the day 6 points behind leaders Dundee United and although the Honest Men won the first meeting of the teams earlier in the season, at Somerset Park, there was very little between the teams on that day with a single Stephen Kelly goal deciding the outcome.


Before kick-off all inside Palmerston fell quiet - apart that is from a lonesome piper - to remember and pay respect to all of those who have fallen whilst serving their country, the minute being impeccably observed by all in the attendance of 1850 which included a very good travelling support in excess of 400.



The early stages of the clash favoured the visitors, and a free-kick for handball created the first opening for the visitors and when the ball ran loose inside the six-yard box, Lee Kilday was on hand to block Moore`s shot away for the game`s first corner, which Queens defended well, and then minutes later following a second corner for the away team, Robby McCrorie was well positioned to deal comfortably with a low drive from Kelly from just inside the penalty area.


After coming back to defend that corner, Jack Hamilton picked up a knock that was bad enough to see his participation in the game end, and he was replaced by Gary Oliver with only 8 minutes on the clock.


Having defended those early corners, Queens were almost caught out when a header from McCowan needed to be pushed away by Robby McCrorie, however a late flag for offside would have ruled a goal out in any event.


The away team were having the majority of the possession, and it took time for our unfamiliar looking midfield quartet to gel although there was certainly no lack of effort particularly from the industrious Dan Pybus, and although we were slightly on the back foot at that point, the game changed in our favour when after 18 minutes a flowing move involving Lyon and Dobbie ended with Dobbie rolling the ball nicely into the path of Kevin Holt who from a tight angle on the left drilled a low shot past the dive of Ayr `keeper Doohan to give us the lead.



Holt celebrates the opener


The goal was a real confidence booster and you could see that having gone ahead, Queens began to enjoy the game. The passing was faster and sharper, the running off the ball was quicker, and they were winning more challenges all over the pitch. A speculative shot from Connor Murray was never going to test Doohan, but it was a measure of his confidence to see him even attempt such a shot.


The first really poor challenge of the game came when Ayr skipper Docherty was very late on Darren Lyon in midfield, but rather surprisingly no action was taken by referee Robertson. After falling behind, Ayr began to work their way back into the game and almost breached the Queens defence, but a well organised line held firm and were able to catch Moore offside. The Ayr striker then saw a shot well held by McCrorie, and after a challenge by Pybus was deemed to be a foul, the resulting free-kick saw a looping header from Roscoe sail over the bar. These few minutes had been the best for Ayr since the start of the game and you could sense that an equaliser was coming and sure enough 7 minutes before the interval they drew level. Following a move down their left the ball was delivered into the box and Moore`s knock down was guided past McCrorie from close range.


McCrorie makes a crucial stop


Having equalised the visitors very nearly completed the turnaround right on the strike of half-time but scorer Moffat couldn`t quite wrap his foot around another low cross from the left and could only shoot wide of the near post.


That was the last action of a half that saw good spells for both teams, with Queens recovering well after the early loss of Jack Hamilton, and the visitors responding well to going behind with the one all half-time scoreline being about right.




Queens were forced into making a second change at the break with Dan Pybus failing to return for the second period, that saw Andy McCarthy replace him to make only his 3rd league appearance of the season. Queens started the half brightly and Stephen Dobbie saw a shot blocked, and neat control and footwork from Connor Murray might have seen him have a goal of the season contender had he managed to keep his shot on target, which sadly he couldn`t. Murray was again on the end of a promising move which started with Lee Kilday, was continued by Lyon who saw his cross fall invitingly for Murray, but he mis-timed his shot that slipped harmlessly wide of the target. The approach play from Queens was encouraging as for the first time in the game, we were clearly pushing for another goal.


After becoming the first player to score in the game, Kevin Holt became the first recipient of a yellow card following a hefty challenge on McCowan as he tried to chase back after losing possession. The resulting set-piece gave the visitors a chance to pin Queens back, and a wicked delivery was guided out for a corner by Darren Brownlie as Queens came under pressure for the first time in the half.


Having dealt with that situation comfortably, midway through the second half, Queens re-took the lead with some wonderful skill from both Dobbie and Murray,and after they had worked an opening between them, the opportunity arose for Connor Murray to evade a tackle and send a shot into the roof of the net from 12-yards out. The goal was Murray`s first league goal of the season and at times during the game he began to show signs of his early season form, and having scored he certainly grew in confidence as the game entered it`s final quarter.


Murray shoots and scores

Murray celebrates


After re-establishing the lead, Queens were indebted once again to Robby McCrorie who after having very little to do in the second half, kept his concentration and did very well to turn away a powerful drive from McCowan that looked to be heading into the bottom corner. That save proved to be very significant as just two minutes later, Queens increased their lead. Gaining possession just inside his own half on the left, Stephen Dobbie swept a 40-yard pass across to the right where Scott Mercer made tremendous headway to collect the pass and having spotted the run of Gary Oliver inside him, he pulled the ball back into the path of the Queens striker who hit a low first time shot beyond Doohan to grab his second league goal of the campaign.


Oliver celebrates his goal


With 15 minutes still to play that goal signalled the early departure of some of the 479 travelling supporters, and those who stayed should have witnessed a fourth Queens goal, but again following some excellent play from Dobbie, Oliver somehow passed up the chance to add to the scoreline from close range.


We had a really strong claim for a penalty when Dobbie got beyond the Ayr defence and seemed to be barged over by Muirhead, but referee Robertson ruled against the Queens captain, who for his protestation received a yellow card. With some signs of frustration starting to creep into Ayr`s game, Palmerston witnessed it`s first red card of the campaign when a late, and wild challenge on Gary Oliver by McCowan quite rightly ended with the Ayr player being shown a straight red card. A melee then followed with several players pushing and shoving each other as a few Queens players reacted to the very severe challenge, the outcome being yellow cards for both McCarthy, and Muirhead.


Dobbie down in the box


After taking a slight knock late on, Stephen Dobbie left the game to another standing ovation and was replaced for the final minutes by Ross Irving, and minutes later, the whole Queens team received a standing ovation as the final whistle sounded to confirm a very well deserved win for the hosts.


A very important win for Queens ahead of two difficult away trips to face both Dundee clubs, and with several players missing, it was good to see those who have had less game time coming into the team and  giving a promising performance. For the visitors, Palmerston continues to be a venue to be avoided as they have now won just once - back in August 2002- in their last 16 visits.

  • McCrorie

  • Mercer

  • Brownlie

  • Kilday

  • Holt

  • Murray

  • Kidd

  • Lyon

  • Pybus


  • Dobbie


  • Hamilton



  • Leighfield

  • McCarthy


  • Oliver

  • Semple

  • Irving


  • Gourlay

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