Queen's Park 1 - 2 Hibernian
Seven minutes were gone and Billy Stark had to shuffle his pack already, Robert Dunn tweaked knee ligaments as he ran and was stretchered off to be replaced by big Paul Ronald. Ronald was straight in there as he nearly got on the end of Paul Cairney's cross which flew over the head of Hibees cock up keeper Yves Ma-Kalamby and just past the post. Queen's had another opportunity on 20 minutes when a fine move involving Ronald, Canning, Trouten and Ferry ended with Stevie completely missing the ball on the 18 yard line after a cutback by Fez, and the ball went through to Hibees defender Lewis Stevenson, who hammered the ball up the park and to safety.
Queen's continued to look threatening and Paul Ronald should have scored when sent one on one with Ma-Kalamby but he slid the ball into the gratefully recieving arms of the massive Hibs keeper. After this however Queen's found themselves under substantial pressure from the Hibees forward line.
Benjelloun missed two great chances as he got in behind the Queen's defence with his quick feet and fantastic strength and pace, but he forced a decent save out of Cairns at first and then hammered his second into the side netting. After 40 minutes Hibs missed the best chance of the game when Donaldson played in Portuguese winger Morais, whose flying volley just evaded the crossbar. Donaldson hammered two shots in a number of seconds toward goal but Damiano Agostini blocked both with his chest. Mark Ferry had the last chance of the half, the old Ferry corner routine was blocked on the edge of the six yard area, by Paul Ronald. This was the last action of the half as Eddie Smith blew for the interval.
John Collins brought on one of his big guns, Gulliame Beuzelin at half time for Northern Ireland internationalist Dean Shiels. Hibs had two great chances within the first two minutes of the half, Donaldson shot wide and Mark Cairns made a great save to deny Benjelloun. Ten minutes later however, Hibs did finally make the breakthrough.
Morais skipped past Agostini and Dunlop before hammering the ball past Cairns for a terrific solo goal. Steven Fletcher came on straight after and within 40 seconds had made it 2-0 with his first touch. He beat Dunlop in the air and his powerful header evaded Cairns and Paton and Hibs thought they had done enough to win it. If this kind of complancency was sneaking through they were warned severely six minutes later when Queen's pulled one back.
Trouten to Ferry, Ferry to Trouten, Trouten to Paton and Paton to Dunlop was the move which ended with Big Mick hammering past Ma-Kalambay from six yards with his right foot, and Queen's were believing again. We kept going forward and before the night was out had a number of chances. Dunlop again came close when he beat McCann to a free kick but could only direct the ball out back across goal with Ma-Kalambay stranded.
Stevie Canning came close with a left footed 20 yard strike and both Paul Cairney and Alan Trouten had penalty shouts before Benjelloun nearly made it three when he broke three and with three Hibees against Cairns he hammered against the post.
A fantastic performance by Queen's, and one which would filled Spiders fans with pride, now, bring on the Raith at Hampden on Saturday.
QUEEN'S PARK: Mark Cairns, Paul Paton, Mick Dunlop, Richard Sinclair, Damiano Agostini, Alan Trouten, Stuart Kettlewell, Paul Cairney, Robert Dunn (Paul Ronald), Stephen Canning, Mark Ferry
SUBS NOT USED: Stuart McGrady, Shaun Molloy, Martin Ure, Alex Cowie
GOALSCORER: Mick Dunlop (62)
REFEREE: Eddie Smith
MAN OF THE MATCH: Paul Cairney