Rooney (11), McFadden (31, 77 pen, 78, 87), Fergusson (75) – Tiffoney (1), Langan (15), Lyon (18), Purdue (25)
Former Scotland international James McFadden scored four goals as Queen of the South Under-20s beat Morton Under-20s 6-4 in an astonishing match at Palmerston last night.
Darren Barr’s side established a 4-1 lead before the half-hour mark but conceded four times in the final 15 minutes to lose the game.
Winger Scott Tiffoney got the ball rolling with less than 20 seconds on the clock when he swept a Ruaridh Langan cut-back into the net at the far post.
Although Shaun Rooney levelled for the hosts on 11 minutes by directing an Owen Bell free-kick under Jamie McGowan, Langan swivelled inside the box to hook home and fire the Ton back in front.
Impressive midfielder Reece Lyon volleyed Tiffoney’s inswinging corner between the sticks to score his first goal for the development squad and make it 3-1.
Tiffoney was the architect again on 25 minutes, slipping Jack Purdue in on goal with a slide-rule pass, which the latter made the most of by slotting an ice-cool finish over Jack Leighfield and inside the right post.
Morton were relentless at this stage, their energy and enthusiasm too much for Queens to handle – but McFadden threw them a lifeline against the run of play just after the half hour.
Showing the sort of class that saw him earn 48 caps for Scotland, he chested down a deep cross and rifled an angled drive back across goal into the bottom-right corner.
The Ton continued to fashion chances and looked in no danger of losing – until conceding again with 15 minutes remaining, Ross Fergusson rolling on the line after McGowan’s block broke kindly for him.
From there, everything that could go wrong did go wrong for a young Sinclair Street, beginning with a penalty being awarded against them seconds after conceding a third.
The referee adjudged Mitchell Duffy to have shoved McFadden inside the box, and as well as booking the Ton kid for the foul showed him a second yellow for dissent, reducing the visitors to 10 men.
McFadden took responsibility from 12 yards and swept the resultant penalty across his body into the bottom-right corner while McGowan dived in the opposite direction.
It was now 4-4. A total momentum shift had occurred and there would only be one winner, especially with the experienced McFadden smelling blood.
He completed his hat-trick on 78 minutes – making it three goals in three minutes for Queens – by nodding a Rooney knock down into the net on the line.
Then, with three minutes remaining, McFadden floated in off the right and curled a trademark finish round McGowan and inside the left-post after the Ton had been caught out on the counter-attack.
Despite representing a disappointing first defeat of the season, this astounding 90 minutes will have taught a young Ton team some harsh lessons that will perhaps prove invaluable in the long run.
2. Duffy 4. Barr 5. Durham 3. Hynes
7. Eardley 6. Langan (c) 8. Lyon 11. Tiffoney
Subs used: 14. Anderson (for Eardley, 80), 16. Docherty (for Purdue, 80), and 12. Miller (for Hynes, 83).
Subs not used: 15. Easdale, 17. Hayes.
Booked: Purdue (39), Tiffoney (68), Duffy (76)
Sent Off: Duffy (76)
Image: Stephen Lang