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Queen of the South 2-2 Dundee United (QoS win 4-3 on pens): Wasteful Tangerines pay ultimate Scottish Cup penalty

United's Scottish Cup adventure began in Dumfries

Queen of the South players celebrate their victory over Dundee United
Delirious Queens players celebrate. Image: SNS

Wasteful Dundee United exited the Scottish Cup at the first hurdle as Queen of the South progressed courtesy of a nerve-shredding penalty shootout at Palmerston Park

Liam Grimshaw and Mathew Cudjoe both missed from the spot as United were dumped out of their second cup competition in the space of eight days, both to League One opposition.

Queens keeper Harry Stone was the Doonhamers hero, making a string of sensational stops in normal time.

Kai Fotheringham did beat Stone twice, taking his tally for the campaign to nine, but efforts from Gavin Reilly and Lee Connelly meant the tie went the distance.

Mathew Cudjoe's decisive kick is blazed over for Dundee United
Cudjoe’s decisive kick is blazed over. Image: SNS

Whirlwind start

After an uncharacteristic capitulation against Falkirk eight days prior, United boss Jim Goodwin picked his strongest line-up for the lengthy trip south.

Tony Watt missed out with a slight knock, but Fotheringham, Louis Moult, Declan Gallagher and – after three weeks out – skipper Ross Docherty were all back in the side.

In the opening exchanges, Stone made a point-blank save to thwart Glenn Middleton, and clutched a Moult header. That would be the theme of the afternoon.

By the time the deadlock was broken on SIX minutes, it already felt like a long-time coming.

Dundee United's Kai Fotheringham celebrates his eighth goal of the season
Fotheringham celebrates his opener. Image: SNS

Scott McMann superbly skipped past Logan and clipped a pin-point delivery for Fotheringham, who powered an unstoppable header beyond Stone.

Glass then whipped another effort just past Stone’s right-hand post.

The Queens gambit

The hosts roused from their slumber on the quarter-hour as Connelly burst forward and forced a sharp save from Jack Walton.

But United completely failed to deal with Connelly’s resulting corner-kick and, after an initial effort drifted dangerously across the face of goal, Reilly was perfectly placed to head home.

Queen of the South players celebrate Cammy Logan's first ever senior goal
Queen of the South players celebrate Cammy Logan’s first ever senior goal. Image: SNS

Moult nodded a Docherty cross just wide as the Terrors sought to restore their lead, while Grimshaw saw a shot trundle past the post after latching on to yet another fine Middleton delivery.

Craig Sibbald and Gallagher both warmed the palms of Stone as the interval approached.

Controversial equiliser

Queens completed an unlikely turnaround five minutes into the second half.

Harvey Walker skinned Grimshaw far too easily on the flank and his low cross was perfect for Connelly to direct a deft shot into the corner.

The hosts were giving United a lesson in maximising their opportunities.

Lee Connelly scores against Dundee United for Queen of the South
Connelly’s finish to give Queens the lead was a clinical one. Image: SNS

To underline that point; Moult was thwarted from six yards after meeting a Fotheringham delivery with his chest. Another splendid stop by young on-loan Hearts keeper Stone.

When United finally restored parity, it was laced with contentiousness.

Queens players were certain Fotheringham controlled a raking cross-field pass with his arm but, with referee Craig Graham waving away the complaints, the in-form winger hared through and slammed a fine finish past Stone.

Dundee United players toast getting back into the game
United players toast getting back into the game. Image: SNS

Veteran Doonhamers defender Efe Ambrose then rolled back the years to produce a goal-saving block, deflecting a Moult shot over the bar just as the ex-Motherwell hero was about to ripple the net.

A string of efforts from distance followed by Sibbald, Chris Mochrie and Cudjoe as Queens clung on for extra-time.

Penalty pain

Stone clutched a headed effort from the bright Mochrie, on as a substitute, as Goodwin’s charges began additional 30 minutes in the ascendancy.

Jim Goodwin demands more from his Dundee United player
Goodwin demands more from his United players. Image: SNS

A McMann drive was tipped wide by the outstanding Stone and, from the resulting corner, a Moult header struck the post. Owen Stirton, 16, was next to threaten when his low shot was deflected off target by Ambrose.

Palmerston Park was starting to resemble The Alamo as the League One strugglers dug deep.

United brought up their 30TH shot of the game, and 15th on target, through Mochrie and, once again, Stone sprawled to tip the goal-bound drive to safety. The tie would ultimately be settled from the spot.

And there was no surprise to see Stone emerge as the hero, saving Grimshaw’s kick before Cudjoe blasted the decisive penalty over the bar. Queens, by contrast, were faultless from 12 yards.

Star man: Harry Stone (Queen of the South)

Make no mistake, this tie reached penalties due to the heroics of on-loan Jambo Stone.

United registered 18 shots on target in Dumfries and, among those, were a string of point-blank, instinctive interventions by Stone.

And he was deservedly the match-winner when the game was settled from 12 yards, denying Grimshaw with a super stop.

Hearts look to have a fine prospect on their books.

Player ratings

Dundee United (4-3-3): Walton 6; Grimshaw 5, Gallagher 7, Holt 6, McMann 7; Sibbald 6 (Tillson 103), Docherty 6 (Cudjoe 87), Glass 6 (Mochrie 70); Fotheringham 8 (Stirton 90), Moult 6, Middleton 7. Subs not used: Newman, Denham, Graham,, Freeman, Carnwath.

Ref: Chris Graham

Att: 1,603