Queen Of The South
2 - 1
Clark Dowie Durnan Higgins Holt Kidd Sub2 Fowler Sub3 McShane Russell   Reilly 1 Sub1 Lyle
Atkinson Sub3-85 Dzierzawski Sub1-70 Baird Sub2-78 Kerr Slattery Smith Smith
Queens impressive start to the league season came to a shuddering halt in Fife this afternoon. For whatever reason the team just weren`t `at the races` in the first half and although we were much improved in the second period and dominated most of it, you just cannot afford to give teams a two goal start and expect to get anything from the game. The comeback fell short and the home side held on for a 2-1 win.
Interim manager James Fowler was forced to make one change to the regular starting eleven as a niggling hamstring strain prevented winger Danny Carmichael taking part. Lewis Kidd started on the right in his place. Fowler was though able to welcome Mark Kerr back into the squad for the first time this season, the first of the long term `Injured Five` to make it back to fitness. Kerr took his place on the bench with Carmichael dropping right out of the squad. Cowdenbeath were searching for their first win of the season and were themselves short of a few players, though they could call on the services of a due of on loan strikers in Kudas Oyenuga (Dundee United) and Callum Gallagher (Rangers).
There was a strong wind blowing down the pitch towards the Cowdenbeath goal but, playing into the wind, the home side were much quicker into their stride. It was however more than 20 minutes in before either side had a shot in anger, Clark doing well to turn a Gallagher shot round the post. Queens were not defending well as a unit though and the opening goal arrived after 27 minutes when the home side escaped down the right side and crossed the ball in. Zander Clark came to meet it with a punch but failed to get any distance on the clearance. A first shot at goal was charged down by a combination of Clark and his defence but the loose ball broke about 12 yards out for Kudas Oyenuga to rattle into the net.
Oyenuga fire home through the Queens defence
Despite the lack of goalmouth action, the warning signs had been there and five minutes before the break the `Blue Brazil` doubled their advantage. This time Jon Robertson`s straightforward ball down the middle of the Queens defence somehow left Callum Gallagher with a run in on goal and the young Rangers forward elected to strike the ball early and under Clark from the edge of the box.
It`s Gallaghers turn this time as he shoots home despite the efforts of Holt and Durnan
The second goal seemed to finally lift Queens from their lethargy and on the stroke of half time they almost pulled a goal back when Dowie`s back post header was half blocked by Thomson in the home goal and then fell slightly behind the in-rushing Derek Lyle and was cleared away from the line by a defender. As the half time whistle went it was clear their was much work to do.
Thomson makes a great stop from a Dowie header
There were no personnel changes at half time but there was a formation and tactical switch from 4-4-2 to more of a 3-4-1-2. Holt pushed further forward on the left side as more of a wing back and Russell moved to a more central role behind Lyle and Reilly and it was immediately clear that there had been a shift in the balance of play as Queens forced a succession of corners and free kicks without gaining too much joy. A couple of off target efforts from McShane and Russell were all we had to show for it. However, just after the hour mark we did pull a goal back. Russell won a free kick out wide left following a foul from beghind by the already booked Chris Kane who was perhaps fortunate not to see another card. McShane`s ball in to the penalty area was a beauty and was flicked beyond Robbie Thomson and into the corner of the net. It wasn`t at all clear from where I was who actually got the touch. The stadium announcer gave it to Mark Durnan but from where we were it looked like Derek Lyle got the flick and we`ll go with that at least until the referee`s report confirms the position.
Lyle flicks the ball into the net for Queens goal despite the attention of Brownlie
Queens had their tails up now but Kevin Holt collected a booking for a wild challenge on Callum Gallagher during a rare foray forward from the home side. As time ticked on John Baird replaced Derek Lyle and then Mark Kerr replaced player-manager Fowler. With five minutes to go Kevin Dzierzawski replaced McShane to complete the substitutions. The best chance of an equaliser came two minutes into added time when Durnan launched a ball into the box and John Baird managed to get his head onto it six yards out. However if anything he made too solid a contact and the ball fell straight into the grateful Thomson`s hands instead of towards either corner of goal.
As we entered what will after last season be known as `McHugh time`, nearly five minutes into added time, the home side had a breakaway and Mark Durnan got himself a booking for a cynical attempted trip on halfway. Queens never got the ball back though and Cowden were able to celebrate their first win. For Queens part, we remain 4th and with Raith drawing and Alloa losing haven`t really lost much ground but an opportunity to move into 3rd spot and keep in touch with Rangers and Hearts was definitely lost today.We will need to play much, much better for the whole 90 minutes if we are to compete with Hearts next weekend.