2 - 0
Clark Dowie Durnan Higgins Holt Sub2 Carmichael McShane Kerr Russell   1 Reilly 1 Sub1 Baird
Atkinson Sub2-85 Kidd Dzierzawski Sub1-71 Lyle Hooper Fowler Kiltie
Queens moved back into 3rd place in the Championship league table following their two-nil victory over Raith at Palmerston tonight, as a goal in each half gave them a much deserved victory over the team from Kirkcaldy in front of the BBC Alba cameras. During what was a very entertaining and finely balanced game, Queens made the breakthrough midway through the half, and the win was finally sealed when the hosts grabbed a second goal 10 minutes from full time. The victory, the third home win in succession for Queens, extended their unbeaten run to 6 games as they closed the gap on second placed Rangers.
With there being no imminent sign of any of Queens long term injury victims returning to the squad, boss, James Fowler, selected almost the same team that started last weekend`s match at Easter Road, the only change saw Gavin Reilly replace Derek Lyle in attack. There was also a place on the bench for young Jake Pickard, who found himself in the match day squad for the first time.Visitors Raith, who began the day 4 points behind Queens, ended a poor run of six league games without a win by getting the better of their Fife rivals Cowdenbeath last time out, with striker Christian Nade netting the vital winning goal. Before kick-off, Kevin Holt received a memento to mark his 100th start for Queens.
Kevin Holt is presented with a memento to mark his 100th game for Queens from Director Craig Paterson
The game began with Queens attacking the Terregles Street end of the ground, and they showed their intent as early as the opening minute. A long clearance from the back looked to be sailing out of play, but Gavin Reilly`s persistence led to a mistake from defender Thomson which saw the home side being given an early free-kick almost on the bye-line on the left. Ian McShane`s delivery was short to Chris Higgins and when his shot was blocked back into the path of McShane, his cross-come-shot was deflected just wide of the far post for the game`s first corner. The set-piece from McShane went deep to the far post, and Andy Dowie rose well to knock the ball back to Iain Russell whose first time shot wasn`t far wide of the target. It was a bright start from Queens, and in fact the game continued along in that fashion as both sides looked to play some decent attacking football.
Raith won a free-kick of their own shortly afterwards, and with the Queens defence poised to deal with a cross into the box, the ball was played short to Fox, but his aim was off and his attempt went well wide. With the game flowing from end to end, Queens had another half chance, and once again it came from another free-kick. John Baird was fouled some 20-yards from goal, and McShane`s floated delivery just brushed the head of Mark Durnan and bounced through to the `keeper. Any firm contact on the ball would surely have resulted in Queens taking the lead. After 11 minutes the home side almost prospered from a defensive error when a poor pass across the back line fell invitingly for Reilly, but the striker could only fire his shot straight at `keeper McGurn and Raith escaped.
Moments later the visitors won their first corner of the contest which was well defended by the Queens back line, led once again by the impressive Higgins. There was plenty of quality passing from Queens in the opening stages and that was epitomised by Ian McShane`s low 40-yard cross field pass that almost sent Danny Carmichael clear, in fact it was only a poor first touch by the winger that prevented Queens from benefiting from what was a superb pass. The visitors responded again, and a shot from the lively and impressive Rangers loanee, Barrie McKay was straight at Zander Clark.
For all of the excellent passing that Queens had put together, they took the lead following what can only be described as `route one` football. After dealing comfortably with McKay`s effort, Clark was quick to release the ball, and when the ball broke to him deep inside the Raith half, John Baird produced a stunning effort to drive the ball past McGurn`s despairing dive and into the bottom right corner. The goal was no more than Queens deserved and although the visitors were playing their part in what was a hugely entertaining game, the home side seemed to be just a bit more brighter in their forward play.
John Baird lets fly to score against his former team mates
Baird celebrates in some style
The first booking of the game went to Raith`s Christian Nade, seemingly for something he said, and he was followed into referee Finnie`s notebook minutes later by Mark Kerr for a rather more obvious foul midway inside the Queens half. The resulting set-piece delivery was well claimed under pressure by Zander Clark, who took a slight knock in the process. For the first time in the game the pace slowed a little, and a series of free-kicks stopped the flow of the contest. However, the pause was only momentary as both sides returned to continue to attack. The home side almost doubled their lead when Higgins was on the end of a McShane free-kick, his volley from close range missing by the narrowest of margins, whilst at the other end a quick counter from Raith ended with a corner that Queens did eventually clear after Clark had misjudged his punch from the initial ball in. As the half neared it`s conclusion, McKay shot straight at Clark, and following another corner, Queens were able to defend the situation comfortably as the whistle brought to an end a hugely watchable first period.
HALF-TIME QUEENS 1-0 RAITH ROVERS
There were no changes made to either side at the interval, but as early as 4 minutes into the half, the visitors were forced into an early change when Elliot, who did appear to pick up an injury during the first half, was replaced by Stewart. The hosts were quick to find their passing rhythm, and once again, Mark Kerr and Ian McShane, were at the heart of the proceedings. Not only were they finding their team-mates with constant accuracy, they were also combining well with each other as Queens continued to play some really good football. They might have scored after a McShane cross was flicked on by Baird to Mark Durnan at the back post, but the defender could not keep his effort on target, although the flag went up belatedly meaning his effort would not have counted in any case.
The visitors almost contributed to their own downfall on 56 minutes when Watson slipped in his own penalty box, but Baird was just not close enough to steal the ball away and the much relieved Watson was able to recover and clear the danger. A stunning passing move involving Kerr, Baird, and then Reilly, created a shooting opportunity for Russell, but from just inside the area he was not quite able to get enough bend on the ball and his attempt ended up going past the far post. It really was a super move and deserved much more. Queens were really well on top at this point and a goal looked likely with every attack. Kerr and Baird combined well on the edge of the area before Baird`s effort bounced off of Kerr and flew wide, and minutes later a run and cross from Carmichael on the right was defended at the expense of another corner. Once again McShane was accurate with his delivery and his cross found the unmarked Durnan 6-yards out who somehow managed to head the ball down and over the crossbar.
If that chance was a let off for the visitors, then Queens had their own let off in Raith`s next attack. Substitute Stewart showed an excellent turn of pace to go past Durnan and after setting his sights he was very unfortunate to see his fine low shot crash against the near upright, and the luck stayed with Queens as the ball rebounded into the path of Anderson who blasted the ball well wide. The home side made their first change after 71 minutes as Derek Lyle replaced scorer Baird. The best chance for Queens to increase their lead came with 16 minutes left. Gavin Reilly used his pace to race on to a through ball from defence and although his shot from just inside the box was parried by `keeper McGurn, the ball rolled nicely into the path of Iain Russell and just when it seemed that most of the 1597 fans inside Palmerston would be applauding a second Queens goal, the Raith goalkeeper pulled off a magnificent stop to keep the game alive for his side.
However, there was little that McGurn could do on 80 minutes as Queens sealed the win. Good work down the right ended with substitute Lyle delivering an excellent low cross from the right, and leading scorer Gavin Reilly was on hand to stroke the ball home via the underside of the crossbar. There was another chance for Queens to record a third successive 3-0 home win when a cross to the back post from Carmichael almost picked out Lyle, but the ball had just too much pace on it and Lyle just failed to connect.
Reilly slams his goal in off the underside of the cross bar
McShane and Russell celebrate with Reilly
Raith had the final chance of the game when moments before full time, a header from Nade hit the side netting, but it was the Queens support who were the ones making the noise as the final whistle sounded on another very good performance. Sponsors gave their man-of-the-match to Gavin Reilly, whilst TV channel BBC Alba gave their award to John Baird.
Scottish Cup action for Queens next weekend, as Highland League side Brora visit Palmerston looking to create a cup upset