Dundee might have dropped two points in a poor game in Dumfries today, but a single point was more than the Dee deserved from a thoroughly unimpressive performance. A lively Queen of the South side handled the awful pitch far better than Dundee, and would have taken a deserved win but for a cracking goal from Matt Lockwood after 88 minutes.
Although Dundee had plenty of possession they rarely looked dangerous and offered little threat after Queens took the lead through Sam Parkin just before half time.
Barry Smith made only one change to the team that drew with Hamilton last Saturday. Rhys Weston came in to play right back with Gary Irvine moving into midfield and Ross Chisholm dropping onto the bench where he joined Nicky Riley, just back from injury.
On a sticky, bobbly pitch Dundee struggled to worry the Queens' defence in a poor first half. The Dee had more of the ball, and played some neat passes, but the patient and intricate approach play rarely amounted to a serious threat.
Queens had less of the ball, but looked more dangerous due largely to hesitancy in the Dee defence. Nicky Clark had two early half chances when Dundee were snoozing in the middle. Luckily for the Dee he couldn't get a dangerous shot away on either occasion.
Dundee then had a long spell in which they played the better football, but they never looked entirely comfortable defending through the middle, where Parkin's bulk and strength in the air was a constant problem. Neil McGregor was perhaps slightly fortunate not to be penalised for pulling Clark when the Queens' striker tried to break past him.
Stephen O'Donnell had a good shot from 25 yards turned round for a corner by home keeper Lee Robinson. Dundee looked most likely to grab a goal in the first half from a corner as the home defence dealt unconvincingly with the ball dropping into a crowded goalmouth.
Jamie McCluskey passed up Dundee's best chance when he raced through on the end of a great cross-field pass from O'Donnell, but Robinson parried his angled drive.
After a long spell of Dundee dominating play unconvincingly Queens put the Dee defence under serious pressure in the dying minutes of the half and were rewarded with a goal.
A McGuffie header flashed narrowly over and then Parkin beat Douglas to the ball on the byline and rolled the ball back for McLaughlin who couldn't force his shot through a crowd of defenders.
The goal that Queens had threatened arrived moments later when PARKIN again beat Douglas to a low cross to the near post and his flick crept over the line.
The second half continued in much the same vein as the first with Dundee unable to turn possession into chances.
The home side threatened first when Parkin headed over. Dundee had the better of the game for another long spell without ever looking like equalising. For all Dundee's attacks the home keeper didn't have a single save to make.
When Dundee did try to inject some urgency into the game and move the ball on more quickly they always lost possession.
Queens looked more likely to grab a killer second goal with less of the ball, but a more direct approach. John Potter glanced a header inches wide from a free kick as Queens grew in confidence a started to attack Dundee with conviction.
The Dee defence was unsettled by injuries to McGregor and Weston, who were replaced by Chisholm and Benedictus, with Irvine returning to his usual right back spot. Nicky Riley replaced Jamie McCluskey for the last 15 minutes, but didn't see a great deal of the ball.
Dundee pushed forward desperately in the last few minutes and stunned the home supporters with an equaliser that had looked highly improbable.
Gary Irvine exchanged passes with Riley and made space to cross. Jake Hyde flicked the ball on and Matt LOCKWOOD in space running in from the wing thrashed a beautifully struck cross shot past Robinson. 88 minutes gone, and it was the first moment of real quality from Dundee.
Dundee chased a winner in injury time that would have been outrageously unfair on Queens, but both sides had to settle for a point that will have pleased nobody. Queen of the South really deserved more, and Dundee certainly needed all the points as they try to close the gap on Ross County.
I don't accept that the poor performance was down to a lack of work. There was effort aplenty from the Dundee players. However, today Dundee couldn't adjust their passing game to deal with a mudheap and nothing they tried came off till Matt Lockwood's marvellous equaliser.
The Dee haven't lost an away game in the league since September, but they will certainly have to do a lot better than this if they are to keep the run going at Falkirk on Tuesday.
Queen of the South 4-4-2
Craig Reid, McGuffie, Potter, Alan Reid
Carmichael, Johnston (Reilly 72), Simmons (McKenna 66), McLaughlin
Unused subs; Atkinson (gk), Brighton, Higgins
Goal; Parkin (44)
Bookings; Simmons (foul on Irvine), Carmichael (foul on Lockwood)
Dundee FC 4-4-2
Weston(Benedictus 80), McGregor (Chisholm 66), McKeown, Lockwood
McCluskey (Riley 75), Irvine, O'Donnell, Conroy
Unused subs; Gibson (gk), Bayne
Goal; Lockwood (88)
Bookings; McKeown (foul on Carmichael)
Referee; Steve Conroy
Report; James Christie