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Friday night cup delight!

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By Euan Maxwell
Sport
Friday night cup delight!
DELIGHTED . . . Willie Gibson and Lee Connelly lead the celebrations

QUEEN of the South progressed to the quarters of the SPFL Trust Trophy in sensational style.

A 35 yard wondergoal from Lee Connelly and Ally Roy’s late tap-in sent ex-Queens boss Ian McCall and his Partick side packing.

The all-Championship tie nearly had a sublime opening inside 30 seconds when Alex Cooper flicked on to Aidan Fitzpatrick, but his low strike was well saved by Jamie Sneddon in the Thistle goal.

However, the visitors took control when the dangerous Scott Tiffoney got in behind the Queens backline and evaded Josh Debayo as he entered the box. He tried to fire the ball past Sol Brynn in the Doonhamers’ goal but the on-loan Middlesbrough stopper was able to block the attempt.

The only other moment of note in a drab first 45 was when Ruari Paton saw his tame header saved by Sneddon before referee Alan Newlands blew for half time.

Whatever Allan Johnston said in the Queens dressing room at half time should be bottled up as the home side came out attacking from the off.

And Queens came whiskers away from opening the scoring when Connelly delivered an inviting cross to Paton at the backpost but the former Stranraer forward was only able to send his header inches past the post.

There was another nervy moment for the visitors four minutes later as Sneddon had to be on his toes to prevent an own goal. A low cross into the box looked set to be met by ex-Queens defender and Dumfries-born Kevin Holt. But he sliced the ball and sent it towards the top corner of the Jags’ net. Sneddon’s reactions were excellent and he was able to tip the ball over the bar.

The home side’s pressure eventually told when Connelly struck the opener with 69 minutes on the clock.

The midfielder picked up the ball in the Thistle half and sauntered forward into space before unleashing a spectacular shot from 35 yards which found the top left corner of the goal. That was Connelly’s fifth goal in his last six matches.

McCall’s men pushed for a leveller with Tiffoney ballooning a volley over the bar and then his cross ricocheted off Max Johnston which flashed narrowly wide of the post.

Then Partick substitute Ross MacIver had a great chance to level things on 84 minutes as Shea Gordon lifted a terrific ball over the opposition defence and into the striker’s path.

MacIver waited for the ball to drop slightly before trying to find a way past Brynn but the Queens custodian was once again able to foil the Jags.

Thistle were then caught on the break and Queens sealed the tie with a second goal.

Stephen Hendrie’s back pass towards Sneddon proved to have too little power on it and Queens sub Ally Roy was the beneficiary.

The former Thistle striker advanced into the box, rounded Sneddon and slotted home into the empty net to make sure of the result. This was Roy’s first appearance since suffering a hamstring injury in August. Roy has now scored eight goals in nine appearances for the Doonhamers.

Queens will now face Morton at home in the quarters on either November 30/December 1.

Queens: Brynn, Nditi, McKay, Debayo, Johnston, Cooper, Gibson, Liddle (Cochrane 87), Connelly (East 81), Fitzpatrick (Roy 76), Paton (Junior 81). Subs not used: Cowie, McGrory, Joseph, Todd, Dunn.

Partick: Sneddon, Akinola, McKenna, Holt, Hendrie, Docherty, Turner (Gordon 72), Smith (Murray 67), Rudden (Bannigan 66), Tiffoney, Graham (MacIvver 82). Subs not used: Foster, McCready.

Ref: Alan Newlands. Crowds: 1,043.

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