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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stone clutched a headed effort from the bright Mochrie, on as a substitute, as Goodwin’s charges began additional 30 minutes in the ascendancy.
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.
the qots goalie pic.twitter.com/OyD5NHitHW
— UnitedFeed (@UnitedFeed__) November 25, 2023
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.
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