Match Report

A goal in each half was enough to give Queens a hard fought two-nil victory over visitors Arbroath as we completed our 2019 home fixtures with a win and moved above our opponents into sixth place in the current Championship standings. On chances alone Queens should have had this game wrapped up well before the second goal arrived with three minutes to play, but boosted by an inspired performance from goalkeeper Derek Gaston, the part-time team were still in contention to take something from the game right until the closing minutes, but eventually a clinching goal finally arrived for Queens and ended their hopes.


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Before kick-off rather appropriately Queens fans received an early Christmas present with the news that `Sir` Stephen Dobbie had signed an extended contract to keep him at the club, and that along with his return to the starting line-up gave all connected with Queens many reasons to be very cheerful.


After having no game last weekend, Queens lined-up with two changes to the team that started against Partick with Dobbie and Dan Pybus returning and Michael Paton and Gary Oliver both starting on the bench. Visitors Arbroath, making their first appearance in Dumfries on league business for the first time since 2013 were looking to end a run of four league games without a win and they began well by forcing a corner in the opening minute, but the set-piece ended with a foul and the early pressure on the Queens defence ended. From their next attacking move a cross from the right by Donnelly caused some confusion in our defence, but fortunately no Arbroath player had read the situation and Queens were able to clear the danger.


The pace of both Connor Murray, and Faissal El Bakhtaoui were clearly going to be an advantage for Queens, and after skipping past a defender El Bakhtaoui delivered a cross that found Stephen Dobbie, but he was closed down quickly and his effort was blocked.

As we continued to press forward Connor Murray slipped the ball into the path of El Bakhtaoui who turned and hit a low shot narrowly wide of the far upright, and when a foul on the same player presented Queens with a set-piece opportunity from the edge of the box, the contest between Dobbie and Arbroath `keeper Derek Gaston began, with the `keeper - no stranger to performing heroics at Palmerston - diving to his right to gather Dobbie`s low shot.


A mix up between Scott Mercer, and Robby McCrorie almost gifted Arbroath a chance from nowhere, but McCrorie was alert enough and no harm was done. As the away side enjoyed a spell of possession they won a free-kick some 35-yards out, and leading scorer Bobby Linn was not too far away with an ambitious effort that went wide of the left-hand upright. A foul on Kader by Dan Pybus in midfield saw the Queens player collect his 6th booking of the campaign, but nothing came of the resulting free-kick.


Our next attack produced what was up to that point our best chance of the opening half hour. Quick thinking by Robby McCrorie saw him release the ball into the path of El Bakhtaoui just inside the Arbroath half and the lightning pace of the Frenchman took him to the edge of the penalty box where he let fly with a powerful shot that Gaston was well placed to deal with.


We were clearly on top at this point and when Dobbie and El Bakhtaoui combined again to create a chance for Dobbie, it took another smart stop from Gaston to prevent Queens from taking the lead. However, after 33 minutes we did make the breakthrough with a well crafted goal. Scott Mercer`s pass inside to Dan Pybus seemed to be a bit under hit but Pybus did extremely well to work the ball onto Dobbie down the right wing and after continuing his forward movement Dan Pybus got himself on the end of Dobbie`s delivery to sort of guide ?? the ball past Gaston at the near post to net his first goal for Queens.


Pybus beats Gaston to open the scoring

Pybus celebrates his first goal for Queens


Three minutes later the Dobbie versus Gaston encounter continued. A delightful cross field pass from Pybus picked out Dobbie again on the right, and after working the space to find a shooting opportunity, once again Dobbie was kept out by Gaston.


A further chance for Queens followed shortly afterwards when El Bakhtaoui, and Dobbie created a chance for Murray, but his shot from 20-yards out just failed to dip in time and cleared the crossbar by only a few inches.


Just before the break and after skipping past several Arbroath players El Bakhtaoui dragged a shot wide of the target, whilst at the other end Pybus did well in defence to make a vital interception that prevented Donnelly from getting a shot away as the half ended with Queens having created many chances, but only managing to make just one of them count.




Queens made a bright start to the second period and went very close to doubling their advantage in the opening minutes when El Bakhtaoui found Dobbie in front of goal in a central position, but after setting his sights, Dobbie was foiled once again as Gaston again came out on top, this time deflecting the ball away with his legs. An ambitious attempt from a tight-angle by Connor Murray might have been a contender for goal of the season but he couldn`t quite find the correct touch to lift the ball over the `keeper who in the end was able to make a fairly routine save.


The contest between Dobbie and Gaston resumed as early as the 7th minute of the half, and as had been the case in the earlier actions, it was Gaston who came out on top again pushing Dobbie`s powerful drive away for a corner. El Bakhtaoui`s ball in from the set-piece was met by a header from Kevin Holt but the defender could not keep his attempt on target. We were well on top at this stage and a second goal looked to be coming, but Queens were almost undone when a rare break from Arbroath ended with a deep cross being headed just a few inches wide by McKenna who escaped from his marker at the far post.


In the space of 60 seconds in the 63rd minute both teams had really good chances to score and both goalkeepers were at the centre of the action. A shot from Donnelly was not held by Robby McCrorie but Queens were able to clear the ball and launch a counter-attack through the pace of El Bakhtaoui and when he worked the ball onto Dobbie it seemed as though at last he would get the better of Gaston, but unbelievably the Arbroath `keeper produced another fine save to keep his team in the game. Dobbie again went close this time dragging his shot wide of the left post, and yet again - this is getting so repetitive - Gaston produced another top save to keep Dobbie`s name off the scoresheet.


Spider man Gaston denies Dobbie once again


The visitors began to sense that they could take something from the game and as they pushed forward, Queens sat back and began to play more on the break hoping that the pace of Murray and El Bakhtaoui could expose any gaps left by the away team as they chased an equaliser, but it was the visitors who went very close to scoring the game`s next goal.


A foul on McKenna by Darren Lyon set up a shooting opportunity, and from the set-piece McKenna`s direct shot beat McCrorie but thankfully for Queens, crashed against the bar.

McCrorie sees the ball onto the bar


Having survived that scare, three minutes later Queens sealed the win courtesy of a rather unfortunate own goal from the unlucky Ricky Little. A storming run down the right by Scott Mercer saw him go beyond one defender before pushing the ball beyond another and then getting himself into a position to cross, and although Dobbie was waiting unmarked in the middle - and on this occasion he might have beaten Gaston - the ball never reached him as Mercer`s driven cross was diverted into his own net by Little.


Dobbie celebrates as Little slides in to beat his keeper and seal the win for the home side


Dobbie congratulates Mercer on the quality of his cross which forced Little to put the ball into his own net


Right on full-time Arbroath might have gained a consolation goal, but Virtanen`s shot was well off target and so Queens ended their home fixtures for 2019 with a hard fought win which would have been much greater had it not been for a fine goalkeeping display from the visitors shot stopper who was quite clearly the games best player.

  • McCrorie

  • Mercer

  • Brownlie

  • Kilday

  • Holt

  • Lyon

  • Osman

  • Pybus

  • Murray

  • Dobbie

  • El Bakhtaoui


  • Leighfield

  • Gourlay

  • Oliver

  • Kidd

  • Hamilton

  • Paton

  • McCarthy

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