A disjointed display with no drive, inventiveness or energy. A win, would (almost laughably) have kept us in with a chance of fourth place but the defeat means we can still be drawn into a relegation battle. Did anyone tell the players?
Already missing Joe Thomson and Tom Beadling through injury, the Pars squad was also without Danny Devine and James Vincent, both of whom were injured in training during the week. Robbie Muirhead also dropped out of the squad, to the disappointment of no one.
Ryan Williamson was brought back into the starting 11 at right back with James Craigen shifting to right midfield. Mark Durnan replaced Devine in central defence, while fit-again Louis Longridge started in left midfield. Lewis McCann was back in the squad on the subs bench.
Starting 11; Craigen and Todd alternated positions until Todd was substituted.
As noted above, there was a slim chance of still being involved in the promotion play-offs prior to this game, and with fourth place Inverness losing their game, a Pars win would have kept the faint hopes of a top 4 place alive. Points were also required to stave off any relegation fears. It would take a particular sequence of results for Dunfermline to be overtaken by the clubs below us, or at least all but one meaning a relegation play-off. This is a quite ridiculous situation for the team to find themselves in - the direct consequence of a run of results that has now extended to 1 draw and 5 defeats in the past six games.
Hosts Queen of the South had also been on a poor run, with just 1 win and 3 draws in their past 12 League games, losing 8. They were also without 40 goal striker Stephen Dobbie. Despite this, Queens began the game in attacking mode, forcing Ryan Scully to make an excellent save from a Josh Todd header. The Pars defence looked hesitant but Queens were unable to take advantage. By the midway point in the first half, the game had descended into one misplaced pass after another, punts up the park, and very little quality on display.
Just as it seemed as though the game would be goalless at the break, Queens midfielder Iain Wilson struck a shot beyond Scully to put the home side ahead. The halftime whistle blew seconds later.
The second half began with the home side pressing for a second goal. Josh Todd had an effort that went just wide but the same player was more successful in the 52nd minute, running through the middle of the Pars defence and placing the ball past Scully. Non-existent defending but a well-taken goal.
The hoped-for reaction never came from a dispirited looking Pars side. Faissal El Bakhtaoui was replaced by Myles Hippolyte and although there were half chances for Bruce Anderson and Matty Todd, Queens also came close to extending their lead with efforts from Lydon Dykes and Josh Todd.
With the referee finding a sixth minute of injury time, the Pars scored what was to be a consolation goal when Jackson Longridge headed in from a Ryan Blair corner. As soon as Queens kicked off, the final whistle was blown. Longridge's goal means that the left back is now our joint top scorer in all competitions this season.
One word summary: lifeless
Ryan Scully Helpless with either goal and made a good first half save. Let down badly by his defence. 6
Ryan Williamson Constantly allowed his opponent to get past him, booked, no threat going forward. 4
Mark Durnan Back in the starting 11 for the injured Danny Devine. Marginally the better of our two central defenders on the day. 5
Lee Ashcroft No pace, poor positional sense, sclaffing clearances. 4
Jackson Longridge Given a hard time by former Par Andy Stirling, eventually being booked. Late goal but not one of his better games. 5
James Craigen Anonymous. 4
Matty Todd More energy than the rest of the midfield combined. Shows promise. 5
Louis Longridge Slows play down by his inability or unwillingness to take players on and run with the ball. 4
Faissal El Bakhtaoui A sad sight. Ineffective and a shadow of the player he used to be. 3
Bruce Anderson Lacked a clinical finish with a couple of decent half chances. 5
Myles Hippolyte Started up front then moved left late in the game. Made little impact . 4
Kallum Higginbotham At least showed some enthusiasm which was lacking from almost all of his team mates. Played one excellent pass down the wing which Williamson allowed to go off his shin and out of play. 5.5
Lewis McCann On for the final quarter of an hour. 5
Even with almost a full day between the final whistle yesterday and writing this article today, I still feel completely disillusioned with the current squad and style of football that we are witnessing. The players let the club, the fans and themselves down yesterday. This is not revisionism - during the 5 game winning run of a few weeks ago, I praised certain elements of each game but also said that the quality of football was poor. What we are seeing now is awful football with no end product.
There has to be a complete clear out this summer and while I realise it's not as simple as just ''getting rid'' of players, there has to be something done, for to go into another season with more than half a dozen of this squad is just asking for a repeat of what we have seen this season.
I apologise for the briefness and reduced format of this report but I have had enough of caring about this shower. I will be at the next game and hope to see a better performance. I could write a lot more but what does it achieve?
After a series of games that were characterised by dour, defensive displays with little to enthuse over, yesterday's match at Firhill produced a much more open contest, with Dunfermline adopting a more attacking formation than of late and going 2 goals ahead, but eventually having to settle for a point. Both teams had much to play for at different ends of the table - the Pars aiming for a late charge at the top 4 and a promotion play-off place, while hosts Thistle require points to avoid taking part in the wrong set of play-offs at the lower end of the Championship.
James Craigen started at rightback, with Ryan Williamson dropping to the bench. 17 year old Matty Todd made his first start, after 3 appearances as a substitute. Ryan Blair replaced the injured Joe Thomson in midfield, while Faissal El Bakhtaoui started a game for the first time in over 2 months, up front with Bruce Anderson, with Louis Longridge - last week's secondary striker - moving to left midfield in place of Kallum Higginbotham.
The team lined up in a 4-4-2 formation, with much more attacking intent than last week's 4-1-3-1-1.
Starting lineup & formation:
The last time the Pars surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2, manager Allan Johnston was sacked 2 days later. There will be no such repercussions for Stevie Crawford but he will have seen much that has to change and improve in his team if we are to achieve promotion next season. The opening half hour was almost entirely dominated by Dunfermline, and the team were able to convert their domination into goals. The first Pars goal was scored in the 10th minute by Tom Beadling, who took a pass from Louis Longridge, and skillfully out-thought 2 Thistle defenders before lashing the ball past Conor Hazard in the Thistle goal.
Bruce Anderson made it 2-0 after 24 minutes, hooking a first time shot from a Louis Longridge corner kick beyond Hazard, for his 5th goal in 9 appearances for the Pars since joining on loan from Aberdeen. Anderson could then have made it 3-0 after excellent play from Faissal El Bakhtaoui, who outpaced his marker and laid the ball on for Anderson, who unfortunately underhit his shot.
Thistle gained a foothold in the game in the 31st minute when Scott McDonald's hard-driven cross hit Ryan Blair a yard out and found the net. It was an unavoidable own goal and gave Thistle hope when it seemed as though the game was slipping away from them.
There were opportunities early in the second half to regain the 2 goal lead - Lee Ashcroft missed a sitter when heading wide, then Ryan Blair's 30 yard free kick, bound for the top corner, was tipped over by Hazard.
What followed after that was sadly typical of much of Dunfermline's season. Lack of leadership and disorganisation in central defence lead to Thistle putting a series of balls into the Pars' penalty box, with no one taking charge, causing Ryan Scully to block a couple of attempts and then concede an equaliser when a ball from Miles Storey took a slight deflection off James Craigen, leaving Danny Devine floundering and Scott McDonald the grateful recipient, scoring from the inside left position into the corner of the net. Tom Beadling then almost scored an own goal when he skelped a clearance just wide of Scully's goal. Ashcroft and Devine were then joined by Beadling in a 3 man central defence, a change which told its own story.
Substitute Myles Hippolyte then had a chance to win the game, but he couldn't get enough contact on a flighted free kick from Ryan Blair to trouble Hazard.
A win would have kept our promotion hopes alive but in truth, we are nowhere near ready for top flight football. There were positive aspects in moments yesterday but the need for a summer overhaul was once again confirmed during the second half. On-field leadership is needed.
Ryan Scully 6 A couple of good blocks but looked vulnerable at times.
James Craigen 6 Decent game at fullback before moving to midfield during the second half.
Danny Devine 4 Indecisive performance and looked very nervy.
Lee Ashcroft 4 Not a captain: missed a chance from a few yards out and floundered in defence.
Jackson Longridge 6.5 The best of the back 4, strong in the tackle.
Matty Todd 5.5 Enthusiastic debut but lack of experience showed at times.
Tom Beadling 6 Expert finish for his goal and ended the game helping out in defence.
Ryan Blair 5 Dead ball expert but needs to show similar quality in open play.
Louis Longridge 5.5 Two assists yet was otherwise poor, giving away possession regularly.
Faissal El Bakhtaoui 6 Opening half hour was man of the match quality but faded as the game went on.
Bruce Anderson 6.5 Scored a very well-taken goal and looked much more of a threat with a striking partner playing alongside him instead of 15 yards behind.
Subs used: Ryan Williamson, Myles Hippolyte, Lewis McCann
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