Saturday 26 April 2014

Queen of the South
2 - 0
McShane (25)
Russell (54)
HT 1-0

Livi slid to a fifth game without a win as Queen of the South clinched their promotion play-off place with a comfortable victory at Palmerston.

Livi's faint play-off hopes had already gone up in smoke following last week's dismal drubbing at Cowdenbeath and their preparations for this game were hampered when the team coach arrived in Dumfries only to find that the team kits were still in Livingston. Fortunately the strips arrived in time for kick-off though the players had to warm up in Queens' away kit.

The Lions began relatively well, backed by a boisterous away support, and created the first half-chance of the game but Danny Mullen's tame shot trundled wide of the post. Queens' first chance came on seven minutes when Kevin Holt headed Michael Paton's free kick back into the box and Mark Durnan flicked the ball goalwards only to be denied by a fine goal-line clearance from Callum Fordyce. Livi then counter-attacked as Darren Jamieson's inch-perfect kick out sent Marc McNulty racing clear and he cut inside Chris Mitchell but was denied a clear shooting chance by a fine block from Holt.

Queens slowly started to assert themselves on the game as Paton and Derek Lyle wasted decent chances but it was Livi who passed up the best opportunity when Kyle Jacobs' cross was met by Nejc Praprotnik and his header was well parried by Zander Clark. Livi then forced their first corner but when it broke to Mullen his shot trundled tamely wide. It was Queens who made the breakthrough however and it owed a lot to poor play from the Lions as Keaghan Jacobs dallied in possession and was pickpocketed by Ian McShane. The Queens midfielder then ran in woefully unchallenged and slotted in a low drive into the far corner and give Queens a lead that they just about deserved.

Queens' confidence was visibly lifted by the goal and they came close to a second when Mark Kerr's cross fell to Bob McHugh but the on-loan Motherwell man couldn't keep his shot down. Jamieson then plucked a dangerous cross from the air with Iain Russell lurking as Queens went in at the break 1-0 up.

Queens carried the impetus from the first half into the second and came close to a fluke second as Jamieson's attempted clearance cannoned off of Russell and the ball flew only marginally wide of the empty goal. That was a let-off for Livi but the pressure continued and Russell was played in behind the Lions defence but his shot from a tight angle found only the side netting. The two sides then traded long-range strikes, Jacobs and Paton denied by Clark and Jamieson respectively. Queens soon had the goal their pressure deserved as Russell continued his career-long habit of scoring against former employers. He latched on to a ball from Paul Burns and was left completely unmarked to take a touch and fire a low shot past Jamieson into the net. 

The game fizzled out after the second goal with Queens happy to hold what they had and Livi seemingly devoid of any ideas to try and claw back the deficit. Russell did almost claim an amazing third when his audacious 40-yard dropped just wide of the post, much to Jamieson's relief. Holt then passed up a chance for the third as his header drifted just wide before Mullen fired another shot tamely wide as Livi tried to muster some kind of fightback. In truth any hopes of a comeback ended with Russell's goal ten minutes into the second half as both sides went through the motions through to full time.

For Queens it means that, barring an absurd swing in goal difference on the final day, they would have the chance to fight for a place in the Premiership in the play-offs while for Livi it means that they must avoid defeat against Raith on the final day to secure a sixth-placed finish.

Queen of the Southh: Clark, Mitchell, Holt, Kerr, Durnan, Dowie, Burns, McShane (Kidd 74), Lyle (Young 62), Paton (McHugh 26), Russell
Subs not used:
Morton, Atkinson, Carmichael, Dzierzawski, Higgins

Livingston: Jamieson, Talbot, Fordyce, Kn.Jacobs, O'Brien, McNulty, Beaumont (Habai 67), Sives, Ky.Jacobs, Propratnik (Lander 62), Mullen (Wilkie 79)
Subs not used: Walker, Scott, Denholm, Rutherford

Referee: Don Robertson

Attendance: 1923

Match report: Andrew Crawford