PARS 2 Queen of the South 0

RYAN DOW and Kevin Nisbet ensured miserable return to East End Park for Allan Johnston as Dunfermline saw off Queen of the South this afternoon.

Former Dundee United midfielder Dow's fourth goal of the season just before the hour mark set Stevie Crawford's side on their way to a third successive home victory, which was confirmed by Nisbet's 10th goal of the campaign inside the final 10 minutes.

This was a well deserved victory by the hosts who, for large spells, dictated the match and created more of its opportunities, with Dow, Nisbet, Andy Ryan and Greg Kiltie to the fore.

The result moved Athletic three points clear of their opponents in the Championship standings and to within four points of fourth-top Inverness Caledonian Thistle, and eighth clear of bottom club, Partick Thistle.

Johnston, and assistant Sandy Clark, returned to East End for the first time since they left their roles with the Pars in January, after which they were appointed by the Dumfries club for a second spell to guide them through the end of season play-offs.

Having seen off Arbroath midweek, Dunfermline went in search of a third successive home victory against a Queen of the South team who, until Crawford's men defeated Ayr United on October 19, were the last that they had beaten on home soil in the Championship.

That 1-0 success arrived in March but, in August when they last came together, the teams played out a hard-fought 1-1 draw at Palmerston.

Only goal difference separated sixth-placed Pars from the seventh-placed Doonhamers at kick-off, and Crawford kept faith with the same side that defeated Arbroath on Tuesday.

Johnston was without another former Par, Michael Paton, through injury but did include Faissal El Bakhtaoui , whose second stint with Dunfermline last season came to an end in the summer, as well as talisman Stephen Dobbie.

Commemorations to mark Remembrance Day - this being Dunfermline's closest home game to that date - were carried out ahead of kick off, from which the Pars started brightly.

Greg Kiltie saw an attempt from the edge of the box deflected behind for a corner and, from Andy Ryan's delivery, Lee Ashcroft met the ball on the volley from six yards, but put it over the top.

At the other end, some decent play from the visitors fashioned a chance for El Bakhtaoui at the far post who, after taking a touch, blazed over from close range.

There was an even better opportunity for Dunfermline midway through the half - and what a goal it would have been had the net bulged.

Josh Edwards flighted a delightful diagonal for Kevin Nisbet who, given the benefit of offside doubt by the assistant referee, whizzed a rasping volley just over the top.

They were to have Queens worried again on the half hour as, from Dow's centre, the visitors struggled to clear their lines.

Blocks and attempted clearances ensured Pars kept the ball alive as it eventually dropped to Ryan, but his effort was comfortably saved.

El Bakhtaoui's East End return was to end prematurely as, with what looked to be an injury, he was replaced - to warm applause from the home faithful - by Connor Murray seven minutes before the break.

Right on the half-time whistle, Paul Paton's ball into the box was nodded down by Nisbet for Kiltie, who did well to hold off the attentions of his marker.

He couldn't find a route to goal, and when the ball eventually fell to Kyle Turner - who netted against Queens earlier in the season - his effort was blocked.

Ryan suffered a similar fate minutes after the restart as Dunfermline again tried to press, before he forced McCrorie into a stop down low at his near post shortly after.

At the other end, Dobbie served notice of his threat by hitting a shot, seemingly from nothing from 25 yards on the right, that ended wide of target but had Ryan Scully scampering across his goal.

But, with 57 minutes on the clock, Dunfermline hit the front.

It all started midway inside their own half with some excellent work by Ashcroft, who got his head to a ball towards Dobbie first, before thumping a clearance down field.

Kiltie picked up on the left and, after taking a great touch to create space, picked out Dow's lung-bursting run at the edge of the box.

The midfielder took the ball away from the covering defender and, as McCrorie came out to meet, poked it into the net, despite the attempts of a Queens man to clear on the line.

At the other end, though, slack play on the right resulted in Pars conceded possession to Dobbie, who sprayed the ball across field to substitute Darren Lyon, but he shot low and wide from range.

Johnston's team were beginning to see more of the ball and, as the game headed towards its final quarter, Daniel Pybus let fly but his effort ended wide of Scully's near post.

But, just as it looked as though the final 10 minutes could be nervy for the home side, they grabbed a second goal.

A long ball over the top found Nisbet on the left and, after taking a touch inside, he took advantage of a slip by his marker to fire beyond McCrorie from around eight yards out to seal a fourth win in seven matches.

Pars: Scully, Comrie, Ashcroft, Martin, Edwards, Dow, Paton, Turner, Kiltie, Nisbet, Ryan.

Subs: Beadling, McGill, Devine, Coley, Cochrane, Fenton, Gill.

Queen of the South: McCrorie, Mercer, Holt, Semple, Kilday, Pybus, Kidd, Dobbie, Hamilton, El Bakhtaoui, Osman.

Subs: Gourlay, Lyon, Murray, McCarthy, Oliver, Burns.