This was D-Day in Dumfries. Dull, Dreich. Dismal. Drab. The description could have applied to the weather, but equally to the football fare on offer.
Indeed, Bairns manager Peter Houston would agree as he described the performance as “dreadful” in his after-match press conference where he apologised to supporters.
Falkirk looked a pale shadow of the side which had finished so well against Alloa, and the margin of defeat was a fair reflection of the game.
There wasn’t a lot between the two teams in the opening period, but by the end of the match the gap was significant. The Falkirk boss was quick to acknowledge that the Dumfries side had played “exceptionally well”, but couldn’t understand why his team seemed unable to pass the ball.
Rarely in recent seasons has a Falkirk side seemed so out of sorts, unable to find their men and so lacking in attacking threat.
Queens were two up at the break and only had to manage the game through the second half , when they had the wind and rain at their backs.
This was a vital game for both clubs in this most competitive of leagues and both sides found it hard to adjust to the windy conditions. Gavin Reilly and Carmichael looked a dangerous combination up front for the home side, but the first real threat came at the other end – from a low shot by Vaulks, which struck the base of the post with Zander Clark beaten. Queens went close when Kidd and Carmichael combined to put Baird through but a timely interception by Shaughnessy cleared the danger at the expense of a corner. From the resulting kick, Sibbald headed a net-bound header by Durnan off the line. The Bairns’ defence held firm as the home side exerted more pressure. It was exciting stuff and the home crowd sensed their side was capable of a breakthrough.
There was a heart-stopping moment for Bairns fans when MacDonald spilled a shot from Baird and the ball went for a corner much to the keeper’s relief. The relief was short-lived as Andy Dowie rose unchallenged and headed firmly home from the left wing corner with 38 minutes played.
Two minutes later Carmichael played Gavin Reilly in and he slotted the ball past MacDonald. Queens were opening up the Falkirk defence with their fast breaks and the interchange of their strikers was a key factor.
The two quick goals had given Queens lots of confidence and had clearly shaken Falkirk.
Five minutes into the half, manager Peter Houston made a double substitution with Blair Alston and Scott Shepherd replacing Tom Taiwo and Rory Boulding. MacDonald did well to save from Baird as Queens recovered from a spell of Falkirk dominance. The game was lacking the flow of the opening period and it was still Queens who seemed the more determined side. Kerr was still an influential figure in the midfield and drove his side forward and eventually scored the third.
Alston hammered his shot into the ground from a Cooper pass. David Smith replaced Alex Cooper as the frustration levels increased.
Falkirk were struggling to contain the lively Queens forwards and in their attempts to push for a goal, they were leaving gaps at the back.
Alston’s volley on the drop was well off target and the small number of away fans were rarely heard as the home side looked capable of inflicting more damage.
When the ball was fed back to Mark Kerr he drilled the ball into the bottom left hand corner of the net to make it 3-0 for a rampant Queens.
Shaughnessy was booked for a rash challenge as several fans headed for the buses and the prospect of a long drive back up the M74.
Substitute Derek Lyle should have added a fourth but dragged his shot wide.