League One / Palmerston Park / Attendance:
Sat 27 Apr 24 / 14:00

Queen of the South




Cove Rangers



A fourth straight defeat ended our hopes of making it into the playoffs as Queens dominated the match and picked up a deserved victory which all but preserved their League One status. Two-nil up at the break, the margin might have been even greater, and the home side saw the game out comfortably, their defence only rarely seriously troubled.

With captain Mitch Megginson out, and Kyle Connell recovering from illness, and only fit enough for a place on the bench, Paul McGowan was tasked with supporting top scorer Rumarn Burrell. Mark Reynolds also dropped out, with Will Gillingham and Jacob Jones returning to the starting line-up. Mikey Doyle wore the captain’s armband.

There was a late change to the side when Nick Suman picked up an injury in the warm-up, meaning Balint Demus took over in goal.

It was a landmark afternoon for Connor Scully as the midfielder became the first to play 150 games for Cove Rangers in the SPFL.

McGowan got the match underway on what was a warm, sunny afternoon in Dumfries, and both sides enjoyed early possession without threatening until Queens were handed an opening in the fourth minute. Doyle miscontrolled on halfway, allowing Gibson to race away down the left, the wingback’s pace taking him clear of our back line. He shot from the edge of the box, but Demus was alert, diving to his left to make a fine one-handed save.

There was another scare soon after when Ferguson crossed from the right, finding Reilly, who had peeled off into space at the back post. With Demus scrambling to cover, the striker headed well over.

We finally came into the game as an attacking force in the twelfth minute when, after a Jones cross, McClelland gave away a needless corner. A second quickly followed, and from Scully’s delivery Kerr flicked wide of the near post.

Gibson then forced a corner for the home side, and when the ball fell for Todd fifteen yards out, McGowan was alert, and charged out to block his powerfully-struck shot.

We countered, Jones flashing in a superb cross, but Arron Darge was adjudged to have pushed McClelland, who nevertheless headed clear.

It looked as if we had taken the lead midway through the half when McGowan played in Jones who, unable to get down the line, checked infield and passed to Yule. Blair took a touch to open up a yard of space then curled a twenty-yard effort towards the top corner, but Stone flew across his goal, making an outstanding save with his left hand.

Back came Queens, Connelly gaining possession and teeing up Todd, but the midfielder could only shoot straight at Demus from just outside the area. Reilly then sent in a dangerous low cross from the left, Gillingham making an important interception to concede a corner, and it was from that the home side took the lead.

Gibson swung a delivery all the way to the back post where Jordan HOUSTON was unmarked to head home. It was another cheap goal to concede.

Gibson caused us more problems in the thirty-fifth minute, wriggling clear before passing to Connelly, who had been left alone in the box. The striker looked certain to score, shooting low towards the right post, but Balint made an excellent save, diverting the ball just wide with his foot.

They cut us open again almost immediately, Ferguson finding himself free, and once again Demus came to the rescue, pushing out the midfielder’s close-range effort. Thankfully, the ball ran away from Reilly who just failed to get a touch on it.

The onslaught continued, and when Lee CONNELLY nutmegged Yule, Blair was adjudged to have fouled him as he attempted to recover, referee Calder pointing immediately to the spot. Connelly made no mistake with the penalty, sending Balint the wrong way.

It was the fourth match in a row we had gone 2-0 down, and it might have been three almost immediately, Reilly shooting over from point blank range.

The second half began in similar fashion, and when we lost possession in midfield, the home side broke quickly, Jones having to nudge Gibson’s dangerous cross behind for a corner. From that delivery, Connelly eventually shot inches over.

There was some respite when Josh Kerr, now operating in midfield after a switch to a back four, hit a long ball forward and Yule showed great determination to win a corner. Unfortunately, that came to nothing, and Queens were soon back on the offensive, Connelly barrelling through to get a shot off which Demus smothered. The striker had another effort soon after, Bal diving to catch his volley from the edge of the box.

Cove were offering little in attack, but might have got in when Burrell turned McClelland and bore down on goal. The defender scythed him to the ground, collecting the game’s first booking. Rumarn was unable to continue, having to be helped off the pitch, with Kyle Connell on as his replacement.

With fourteen minutes remaining, Ferguson sent in a cross from the right, Connelly and McKechnie both sliding in to try to reach it, but the ball flew just wide of the near post.

They came closer soon after, Gibson’s corner finding substitute Doherty whose angled header flew past Demus but rebounded back out off the far post.

It was to be the last action of another hugely disappointing afternoon.

QUEEN OF THE SOUTH (5-3-2): Stone; Logan, Houston (McKechnie 65), McKay, McClelland, Gibson; Ferguson, Cochrane, Todd; Connelly (Mumbongo 80), Reilly (Doherty 80)

Substitutes: Botterill, Kilsby, Ambrose, Johnstone, Walker, Rodgerson

Goalscorers: Houston (30), Connelly (pen 41)

Booked: McClelland (62), Gibson (84)

COVE RANGERS (5-3-2): Demus; Darge, Doyle (c), Kerr, Gillingham, Jones; Yule (Reynolds 79), Sena, Scully; Burrell (Connell 64), McGowan,

Substitutes: Suman, Stewart



Referee: George Calder


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