Posted by: palmerstonblue | April 30, 2013

NICKY HAS THE KNACK…..

QUEENS 2-2 EAST FIFE

Two late goals from leading scorer Nicky Clark, salvaged an unlikely point for Queens against East Fife at the weekend, and at the same time his strikes helped his team move into the history books. With just 3 minutes left of the final game on the Palmerston turf, it appeared that the trophy presentation at the end of the game would be carried out in a rather subdued fashion, that was however, until Clark’s late double changed the mood around the ground.

The point that Queens took from the game, saw them create a new record points total for a team winning the Scottish 2nd Division, and also helped to preserve their 18 match unbeaten home league run. After various presentations to the players-mainly to Nicky Clark- before the game kicked off, it was visitors East Fife who got the ball rolling for the last home game of what has been a remarkable season for Queens. In what was a quiet start to the match, chances were few and far between in the early period, although as the game progressed, East Fife belied their lowly league position by causing plenty of problems for Queens as they searched for the points to help them avoid the relegation play-off place.

The first half an hour past at a fairly sedate pace, but on 36 minutes the ‘Fifers’ took the lead when Jamie Campbell produced a fine finish that deflected past Lee Robinson from just inside the penalty area. Queens should have levelled the game minutes later following a corner, but Chris Higgins blasted the ball over the crossbar from close range. There was no further scoring in the half, and Queens went into the break a goal behind.

Just minutes after half-time, Queens almost equalised when Clark’s pace enabled him to get in behind the visitors defence, and after finding Derek Lyle with his cross, he saw his strike partner shoot straight at the ‘keeper from 4-yards out. All afternoon, East Fife, had been trying to expose Queens on the counter attack, and a swift break led to them being awarded a penalty kick after Ryan McGuffie was penalised for a foul on Willis just inside the area. East Fife’s leading scorer, Scott McBride, stepped forward to take the kick, and although his effort was well placed, Lee Robinson produced a brilliant save to push the ball away for a corner.

Boosted by that save, Queens responded well and Lyle should have done better than to shoot wide after being set-up by Danny Carmichael, and minutes later, Lyle wasted another chance as the champions struggled to find a breakthrough. As the champions started to push more for a goal that would get them level, gaps appeared at the back, and with 14 minutes left to play, East Fife doubled their lead when Wardlaw pounced to shoot past Robinson following good work from Samuel. It appeared as though the unbeaten league record was about to end, and even when Nicky Clark nodded the ball in from close range to score his 39th goal of the season, it seemed as though it would be just a  late consolation.

However, with the game entering stoppage time, substitute Kevin Smith, collected the ball wide on the left and after reaching the bye-line, he produced a perfectly flighted cross to the back post where Nicky Clark arrived to power home the equaliser, his 40th of the season, and his 22nd goal in the last 20 games-a fantastic achievement. The outcome was probably a little more than Queens deserved, as although they created a few chances before scoring late on, this display was not one of their best, and East Fife will be wondering how they left Palmerston with only one point, when really they probably should have had all three.

Minutes after the final whistle had blown, the Queens squad returned to the pitch to receive the 2nd Division championship trophy along with their winners medals, and they ended the day by treating their fans to one final lap of honour after what has been a truly amazing season. The only disappointment of the day was the appallingly small crowd of just 2568, the players certainly deserved a far better turnout than that after what they have achieved this season.

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