Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 2 Queen of the South 5: 09/12/17

Stephen Dobbie hit a 16-minute hat-trick as Queen of the South moved third in the Championship with a convincing 5-2 win over Dunfermline.

Queen of the South were the visitors for the first home game in December. The Dumfries side arrived level on points with the Pars seeking their first win at East End Park since August 2016. They named an unchanged side from that held to a draw at home to Caley Thistle the previous week. Injury prevented former Pars captain Callum Fordyce returning to East End for the first time since his departure in the summer.

For his match against his former charges, Allan Johnston brought back top scorer Nicky Clark in place of Kallum Higginbotham. Lewis Martin retained his place in midfield where he did so well against Dundee United.

The visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end and it was the Pars Sean Murdoch who was the first keeper called upon to make a save, easily holding an Andy Stirling drive from the edge of the box in four minutes.

Queen of the South were to open the scoring in eight minutes after a good pass from Stephen Dobbie to Andy Stirling was neatly back heeled into the path of Chris KANE and the on loan St Johnstone player had loads of time to pick his spot from the edge of the box. 0-1

Buoyed by the goal, QOS pushed up and Kyle Jacobs fed the overlapping Scott Mercer and the Pars defence had to deal with the difficult ball into their six yard box.

Next Joe Cardle was played through one on one in 14 minutes but his shot from the right was beaten away by keeper Alan Martin. Play stopped two minutes later for Clark to receive treatment on his ankle and he was able to return moments later.

Dobbie made a break up the left and when he switched the ball right Jason Talbot appeared to have three opponents to deal with. The defence survived but the home fans were showing signs of concern. That was compounded as a Dobbie drive earned a corner that was not particular convincingly dealt with.

Cardle chipped a cross over from inside the right side of the opposition penalty box but too high for Clark to get any direction on it. The midpoint of the first half passed and Martin made a telling tackle to stop another potentially dangerous break. Back at the other end another Cardle cross drop surprising Clark who could only deflect the chance wide right.

Chris KANE was to score his second goal of the match in 27 minutes. Dobbie twisted and turned more than once as he was marked by Ryan Williamson on the left edge of the box, waiting his opportunity to slide the ball in for the 23 year old to fire in at the near post. 0-2

On the half hour Talbot slipped as he tried to keep Stirling out but fortunately the former Par shot low and Murdoch held.

With ten minutes to half time Dean Shiels replaced Nat Wedderburn. A Williamson crack on a defended ball led to a corner that Cardle fired over and Callum Morris forced another on the opposite side. Jason Kerr head that clear and Kane broke.

There was a short spell where there were lots of successful Pars passes before a cross in was headed at the keeper by Clark. A move from Cardle to Shiels to Cardle but final ball for McManus cut out. McManus did get a shot in before the interval but it ran wide of the left post.

So having recorded 55% possession Athletic went in two down. The crowd made their disquiet known and no doubt the manager would do the same at half time.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Queen of the South 2

Queens fired an early effort over Murdoch`s bar but after just 96 seconds of the half resuming a Williamson cross was stuck away at the near post by CLARK and the Pars were back in the game. 1-2

Dobbie penetrated on the right and his cross went tantalisingly across the face of goal and out beyond the far post.

Morris incurred a yellow card in conceding a free kick just 25 yards out but Dobbie drove that into the four man Pars defensive wall. A Queens corner two minutes later was headed away by Clark and sent McManus up the right flank. He overcame the efforts of Jordan Marshal to half him but having done the hard bit his final ball in towards Cardle on 18 yards was disappointed.

Dobbie produced another good low delivery from the right that escaped out beyond the far post in 58 minutes and next minute Talbot denied him another in sliding the ball out for a corner on the right. Clark again did the necessary getting first connection to Stirling`s cross.

After Talbot conceded a 62nd minute corner the visitors then made their hosts defend two more, Kerr seeing the best effort deflected behind. Kallum Higginbotham then came on for Lewis Martin with 65 minutes gone. There were then a couple of balls fired into Queens box by Cardle but they both evaded the jumping strikers.

Higginbotham laced a ball through for Williamson but after he successfully stopped the ball on the byeline he was unlucky for not getting the free kick as he was pinned against the advertising board by Marshall.

Disaster struck with quarter of an hour remaining. A quickly taken free kick from Ashcroft to Shiels led to the sub being disposed by Jacobs 35 yards out and Kane chased the loose ball. Murdoch came out and got his left foot to the ball ahead of the Queens player some 25 yards out but DOBBIE pounced on the loose ball and chipped it into the empty net before the defence could cover. 1-3

It certainly felt that was the contest over and to make matters worse Morris was adjudged to have clipped Dykes as he broke onto the right side of the Pars box and referee Willie Collum awarded the Doonhammers an 80th minute penalty. DOBBIE would make no mistake from the spot and the Fifers trailed 4-1.

Dunfermline did respond with a goal five minutes later. Shiels powered a low shot on target, Clark chased the ball right and cut back for McMANUS to head home. 2-4

The scoring was not over however since DOBBIE was to complete his hat trick in the first minute of added time with a simple goal that was passed around the defence to tee up the striker. 2-5

The visiting manager Gary Naysmith claimed that his side was different class as the Pars slumped to a humiliating defeat, their heaviest ever at home to the Dumfries club.

DUNFERMLINE: Sean Murdoch: Ryan Williamson, Callum Morris (c), Lee Ashcroft, Jason Talbot (Fraser Aird 87): Michael Paton, Nat Wedderburn (Dean Shiels 35), Lewis Martin (Kallum Higginbotham 65), Joe Cardle: Nicky Clark, Declan McManus.
SUBS NOT USED: Callum Smith, Jean-Yves M`Voto, Cammy Gill (GK).
SCORERS: Clark (47), McManus (85)
YELLOW CARD: Morris (53)

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH: Alan Martin: Jordan Marshall, Darren Brownlie, Jason Kerr, Scott Mercer: Andy Stirling (Shaun Rooney 84), John Rankin, Kyle Jacobs, Chris Kane, Steven Dobbie, Lyndon Dykes
SUBS NOT USED: James McFadden, Derek Lyle, Callum Tapping, Owen Bell, Connor Murray, Jack Leighfield (GK)
SCORERS: Kane (8, 27), Dobbie (75, 80 pen., 90+1))

REFEREE: Willie Collum

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (away) v St Mirren, Saturday 16th December 2017, kick off 3.00pm at the Paisley 2021 Stadium

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