Ladbrokes League 1
Saturday 2nd December 2017
Queen’s Park 2 (Donnelly 18', 51')
East Fife 1 (Duggan 15')
Queen’s Park XI: White, Summers, McGhee, Iredale, Burns, McVey, Fotheringham, Leitch (Duff 70’), Galt, Mortimer (McLennan 86’), Donnelly (Docherty 77’)
Subs: Cummins, Gibson, Brady, Whelan
Booked: Summers, Fotheringham, Galt
East Fife XI: M Hurst, Dunsmore, Kane (Linton 68’), Page, Piggott, Docherty, Lamont (Flanagan 83’), Smith, Wilkie, Millar (G Hurst 68’), Duggan
Subs: Goodfellow, Watson, Wilson, Willis
Booked: Dunsmore, Piggott
Referee: Stephen Finnie
East Fife travelled to the national stadium to face Queen’s Park in Ladbrokes League 1 but left empty-handed after a performance that was in stark contrast to that which had put Airdrieonians to the sword last weekend. For the first time this season Manager Darren Young was able to name an unchanged starting line-up with the only change being fit-again Scott Linton replacing Ben Reilly on the bench.
The home side had the first opportunity of the match on 6 minutes when Sean Burns found an opening down the left and curled in a shot but it was an easy take for East Fife ‘keeper Mark Hurst. At the other end, Kevin Smith picked out Mark Docherty on the left-hand side of the penalty box but his cross was deflected into the arms of Michael White.
Queen’s Park had had the better of the opening exchanges but it was the visitors who found themselves in front on 15 minutes. Chris Duggan latched onto a long-ball over the top from Aaron Dunsmore and lifted the ball over the ‘keeper for his 8th goal of the season. East Fife weren’t ahead for long, however, after Billy Mortimer worked some space for himself down the left and cut the ball back for Luke Donnelly who found the back of the net from 18-yards. The home side could have been in front a few minutes later but Donnelly failed to take advantage of a promising position after David Galt’s initial shot was blocked.
Docherty sent in a free kick from 40-yards for East Fife on 30 minutes which Smith managed to get on the end of but his back header was collected by White. Smith had another chance 5 minutes later when he got on the end of Docherty’s cross from the left but was unable to find the target.
East Fife weren’t at the races in the opening 45 minutes and big improvements were needed in the second period.
The visitors were awarded a free kick 25-yards from goal shortly after the re-start. Smith stepped up and cleared the wall but his strike didn’t have enough power behind it to trouble White. Queen’s Park took the lead on 50 minutes when Robbie Leitch sent in a cross from the left with the outside of his foot which East Fife failed to deal with which allowed Donnelly to claim his second of the afternoon with a strike from 15-yards.
The home side were well in the ascendency and should have added to their lead just before the hour mark with Gregor Fotheringham got on the end of a free kick but his shot rebounded off the crossbar before the whistle went for a foul on the ‘keeper. Mortimer was next to go close the home side when he was sent through 1-on-1 with Hurst but was unlucky to see his shot come back off the post.
East Fife were looking for a way back into the game and were close to an equaliser on 74 minutes when a free kick from near the corner flag was cleared by the Queen’s Park defence but only as far as Docherty on the edge of area but his goal-bound effort was deflected behind by Burns. The visitors had one last chance to salvage something from the game inside injury time but Jonathan Page was denied by a point-blank save from White but, in truth, the equaliser would have been far more than East Fife deserved for the game.
East Fife had, quite rightly, taken a lot of praise for their performance against Airdrieonians but were unable to reach the same standards this week as Queen’s Park ran out deserved winners.