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