Ladbrokes Championship: Queen of the South 0 Dunfermline 0: 14/10/17

It was third v fifth as the Pars faced Queen of the South in the final match of the first diet of scheduled fixtures in the Ladbrokes Championship. Allan Johnston had his players back from international duty meaning Ryan Williamson and Callum Morris started. Lewis Martin dropped to the bench while Dean Shiels was serving a suspension for his red card late on in the game against Falkirk.

Queen of the South manager Gary Naysmith made four changes from the side he put out at Montrose the previous week. Chris Kane was out and Callum Tapping and former Pars players Andy Stirling and Shaun Rooney were relegated to the bench. Darren Brownlie, Connor Murray, Lyndon Dykes and James McFadden started for the home side, only their second home match since 19th August.

The visitors kicked off attacking the goal in front of the home support but it was Queens who had the first chance when Lyndon Dykes released Stephen Dobbie to his left for the striker to crash an attempt over the crossbar within two minutes.

Kallum Higginbotham`s fourth minute free kick aimed at Declan McManus on the edge of the box was intercepted by the head of Dykes.

The first corner of the afternoon was conceded off Callum Smith but McFadden`s delivery was defended and Dunfermline broke on the counter through Aaron Splaine but after picking out McManus on the right Queen of the South won back possession.

The Fifers first corner in 12 minutes was delivered low by Higginbotham towards Nicky Clark but the defence cleared only for Splaine to gather on half way. His pass picked out Smith wide left and when got in the cross Clark turned the ball into the sidenetting when Higginbotham was waiting in a central position.

Higginbotham was on the left to deliver a dangerous ball into the six yard box in 19th minute but Clark chested the ball down but failed to get away the killer shot.

Queen of the South created a threat when Dykes broke down the left channel but his shot at an angle was deflected away. Then in 27 minutes they turned out and even better opportunity. Callum Fordyce who was playing in a right back role was forward to head the ball on for Connor Murray. The Queens Academy graduate delivered a fine ball in that McFadden connected with on the left but his fierce low shot skimmed past the right goalpost.

Smith made a fine run down the left evading Murray and Jacobs before his shot was blocked by Fordyce. In 33 minutes the home side put together a good move on the left. Jordan Marshall playing the ball off McFadden to Dobbie who laced a good pass into the Pars box for John Ranking to latch on their and fire across the face of goal. Next a Fordyce delivery caused Morris problems, thankfully McFadden could not capitalise and Murdoch collected the loose ball.

QOS continued on top with Fordyce just catching a strong pass to the right byeline and sending in another ball in from the right before Dobbie tested Murdoch with a shot that Murdoch touched over the bar.

Fordyce was shown the first card of the afternoon in halting Callum Smith`s progress just ten yards inside his own half. The former Pars man played enough with young Smith in the Dunfermline U20s last season to know that it was a real danger to let the 17 year old break.

The teams would turn around all square but there was no debate in that Gary Naysmith`s team had the better of the opening 45 minutes. No goals but 55% possession in favour of Queens, 7 shots to the Pars one and five corners to the visitors three.

Half time: Queen of the South 0 Dunfermline 0

Higginbotham was teed up for a crack at goal within two minutes of the restart. Nat Wedderburn headed the ball down for Smith who then found Higgy but his low drive was dispatched wide left. An injury to Jacobs halted play in 50th minute but the former Livingston player was able to continue.

Williamson was cool in receiving a pass from Higginbotham and then beating Marshall and taking the ball to the byeline. Unluckily Martin plucked his delivery out at the near post. Then in 56 minutes McManus fed Smith the ball on the edge of the Queens box but his deflected shot was held again by the all in pink keeper.

Murdoch held a Fordyce attempt in 58 minutes after Marshall`s free kick from half way had been headed on into the Pars box. Kerr backheeled the ball from the byeline for the 25 year old former Dunfermline captain to have a shot.

Higginbotham launched in a free kick from 45 yards out but that was defended while at the other end Murray picked out Dykes but his header sailed into Murdoch`s hands.

Dunfermline were getting more into the match and were desperately unlucky when a typical Williamson cut was cleared off Clark`s head by Fordyce. Bizarrely no corner was given. On 70 minutes Splaine played another ball for Williamson to cut back but this time Queens denied the waiting McManus.

Andy Ryan was the first substitution made by the Pars management team, a 76th minute change as Declan McManus went off. The home side had brought on Andy Stirling at the same time and it was him who had the next opportunity but failed to connect with a good chance on the edge of the Fifers box.

Ryan drove an 82nd minute free kick 23 yards out into the QOS wall and then defended a corner from the right sent in too low by Higginbotham. At the other end the Pars defended another corner before taking play to the other end where Talbot got caught in a challenge that caused him to limp back.

Time was running out for both sides but the Pars forced a 90th minute corner where Lee Ashcroft`s header looked like a possible winner but the ball was headed off the line by sub Callum Tapping. In the second minute of time added on Dykes had the final chance to break the stalemate but Murdoch dropped to his left to make an important hold.

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Alan Martin: Callum Fordyce, Darren Brownlie, Jason Kerr, Jordan Marshall: Kyle Jacobs, Connor Murray (Andy Stirling 76), John Rankin (c)(Callum Tapping 87), James McFadden (Derek Lyle 72): Lyndon Dykes, Stephen Dobbie.
SUBS NOT USED: Shaun Rooney, Scott Mercer, Ross Ferguson, Jack Leighfield (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Fordyce (41), Brownlie (89)

DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot: Kallum Higginbotham, Aaron Splaine, Nat Wedderburn, Declan McManus (Andy Ryan 76), Callum Smith, Nicky Clark.
SUBS NOT USED: Lewis Martin, Fraser Aird, Jean-Yves M`Voto, Conner Duthie, Scott Lochhead, Cammy Gill (GK).
YELLOW CARD: McManus (64), Splaine (68), Talbot (79)

REFEREE: Stephen Finnie

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (home) v Livingston, Saturday 21st October 2017, kick off 3.00pm at East End Park.

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