Brave ten-man Queen’s Park were defeated 3-2 in the cruellest fashion by Raith Rovers at Stark’s Park despite second half goals from Jack Turner and Dom Thomas that had them in front despite their numerical disadvantage.

Tommy Robson was brought back into the starting line-up with Cameron Bruce listed on the substitutes’ bench against a Fife side that contained former Queen’ Park player Ross Millen from the kick-off and Jamie Gullan as a replacement.

Raith earned an early corner which the Spiders defence was unable to clear and they earned a second flag-kick when a Sam Stanton shot was deflected over.

On four minutes Queen’s attacked with a real cutting edge as Ruari Paton slipped Thomas free on the left with the skipper moving forward before firing in a low driven cross that Paton was on the end of however Scott McGill blocked just as the visiting fans were set to celebrate.

Four minutes later the hosts opened the scoring after Stanton ran clear on Raith’s right and the Stark’s man’s deep cross was perfect for Callum Smith to send into the net via a diving header.

Robin Veldman’s side looked to hit back quickly and Barry Hepburn was involved in leading them up the pitch with the wide-man crowded out on his first foray and then unlucky on his second as a deflection took his cross into the arms of Kevin Dabrowski.

On 16 minutes a Charlie Fox pass to Will Tizzard was intercepted by Smith with Fox doing well to dart back into his box and block the striker’s shot.

Five minutes later Queen’s secured their first corner and Thomas picked out Turner with the dead ball however his header rose and cleared the bar.

Midway through the opening period a clever dummy from Jack Thomson gave Turner a shooting chance and Dabrowski had to watch this effort very closely before it rose over.

Callan McKenna made a fine stop with his legs on 27 minutes after Jack Hamilton took control of a bouncing ball with Queen’s conceding a corner in the aftermath when Stanton thumped over a cross.

With half an hour played Thomas and Paton combined again on the left wing with Paton sending Thomas’ cut-back against a sea of defenders.

Two minutes later another decision went against Queen’s when Tizzard pulled Hamilton’s jersey on the half-way line as they chased a ball that was dropping into the visitors’ half.

Referee Williams allowed play to continue for three yards before blowing for a foul however with Fox in close attendance the whistler surprised many by then brandishing a red card at the defender who trooped off in a dejected fashion.

Thomson dropped into a centre back position and he had to watch Hamilton carefully as a cross whizzed into the Queen’s box and flashed wide of McKenna’s goal.

Four minutes from the break Hepburn was chopped down on the right with the visitors unable to carve out a chance from the resultant free-kick.

Despite their numerical disadvantage The Spiders continued to push forward and Hepburn sent Ben McPherson scampering away on the right with the defender’s low cross unlucky to go unconverted.

Half-time: Raith Rovers 1 Queen’s Park 0

Head Coach Veldman responded to events in the first half by making a personnel change with Hepburn replaced by Louis Longridge, who adopted a midfield role, and a tactical swap as well with Thomas moved to the right and Turner playing in a more advanced position.

Five minutes into the restart McKenna was forced into a diving stop after Gullan, who had also come on at the start of the second half, found Scott Brown on the right wing and his pass presented Stanton with a shooting opportunity.

Shortly afterwards Thomson looked to have made a fine last gasp clearance from a Mullin cross with Stanton ready to fire for goal however a by-kick was awarded.

On 56 minutes Queen’s made their first strong break of the half as Paton and Longridge took them forward 30 yards and after a shot from Turner was blocked Thomas sent a drive flashing past.

With an hour gone Thomas teed up McPherson to send a ball into the Raith box with Euan Murray preventing Turner from shooting when he took the ball off his toes.

TURNER had much better fortune on 64 minutes when he put Dabrowski under pressure as he chased a long diagonal ball from the right from Thomson and after the home shot-stopper failed to catch it the former Southampton man swivelled and calmly slotted into the far corner.

Queen’s were quickly given a reminder that they could not relax as Mullin clipped a shot a foot over with Thomson blocking well 18 yards out moments later.

It got even better for Queen’s on 73 minutes when they took the lead. McPherson was in an advanced position and was able to take advantage of a McGill stumble to nod forward to Paton.

The striker turned and fired for goal from eight yards with Dabrowski making an excellent low stop only for THOMAS to hook home the loose ball.

McKenna kept the advantage intact twice in quick succession as he blocked a header from substitute Dylan Easton and then beat away a shot from the same player.

As the game entered the last 10 minutes McKenna made a ‘Superman’ dive to punch clear a Millen cross and as the play reached the other end a clever Longridge pass sent McPherson through on the right with Jack Spong just unable to convert his pass.

With four minutes to go Raith tied the score at 2-2 when substitutes Liam Dick and Lewis Vaughan combined with Dick crossing from the left and Vaughan glancing a header home.

Four minutes into injury time Fox blocked a header at the back post however when the ball was played back into the six-yard box Vaughan was on hand to slam home.

Queen’s Park – Callan McKenna, Ben McPherson, Will Tizzard, Charlie Fox, Tommy Robson (Cameron Bruce 80), Jack Thomson (Liam McLeish 90+1), Jack Spong, Jack Turner (Alex Bannon 80), Barry Hepburn (Louis Longridge 46), Dom Thomas (Patrick Jarrett 80), Ruari Paton.

Unused substitutes – Calum Ferrie (G/k), Lewis Reid, Ricky Waugh, Lucas McCormick.

Raith Rovers – Kevin Dabrowski, Ross Millen, Keith Watson, Euan Murray (Ethan Ross 82), Scott Brown, Josh Mullin (Dylan Easton 73), Sam Stanton (Lewis Vaughan 63), Jack Hamilton (Jamie Gullan 46), Scott McGill (Liam Dick 73), Callum Smith, Shaun Byrne.

Unused substitutes – Robbie Thomson, Aaron Arnott, Callam Hannah, Adam Masson

Referee: Duncan Williams

Starting Eleven