ALLAN Johnston has warned his team they must polish their shooting boots after Saturday’s Bayview stalemate.
Johnston, who was sent off with two minutes left, watched in frustration as his Doonhamers squandered chance after chance in a dominant first half.
The draw ends Queens’ 100 per cent record for the season but Johnston’s men are still unbeaten in all competitions.
The player-manager said: “The first half was probably the best we had played all season but we have to be more clinical.
“Some of our passing was brilliant and we created so many chances.
“But you can’t afford to create that many chances and not finish them.
“As for the sending off – it was silly and I shouldn’t have made the tackle.”
With Kevin Smith, Dan Carmichael and Willie Gibson all missing out through injury, Johnston’s squad was lacking in numbers.
And after a 120–minute scrap at Morton in midweek, fatigue was a worry as the Doonhamers travelled to Methil.
But Queens had the Fifers on the ropes early on and created a host of decent scoring opportunities with some stunning football.
Derek Lyle, Chris Higgins, Nicky Clark and Johnston all passed up chances as the Dumfries men continued to drive forward.
After just three minutes, Clark scuffed an effort from close range after being teed up by Lyle before Higgins, unmarked at the back post, put his shot over the bar five minutes later.
Dan Orsi appealed for a penalty in the 13th minute after appearing to be bundled over by Scott Durie but the referee wasn’t interested.
On 28 minutes Johnston was clean through on the right but he tried to find the net at the near post and put his shot wide.
Queens continued to press and had the Fifers on the back foot throughout the first half without forcing Bayview keeper Michael Brown into a save.
But, on the stroke of half time, Brown pulled off a stunning save to keep the scores level, somehow denying Clark from two yards.
A deflected shot from Lyle cannoned into Clark’s path and he looked certain to score from close range but Brown managed to divert his header wide.
The East Fife number one was back in action again just after the break, tipping over Lyle’s 20-yard shot, but the visitors fell out of favour after this.
And Gordon Durie’s men almost went ahead through some fine play between strike pairing Paul McManus and Gareth Wardlaw but Lee Robinson pulled off a top save to deny McManus from close range.
Queens toiled in the second half, with Johnston shown his first yellow just after the hour mark for tripping McManus, and David Muir went close for East Fife with a rasping 25-yard strike that glanced the crossbar on 72 minutes.
And on 88 minutes Johnston’s miserable day was made worse when he was given his marching orders by referee Des Roache for a foul on Darren Smith.
The Palmerston boss said: “Tuesday night probably caught up with us a bit in the second half.
“We stopped passing the ball and our second half performance wasn’t good enough.
“The boys are gutted not to win, especially after how many opportunities we had in the first half.”
East Fife gaffer Durie said: “They had a lot of possession but we created a couple of chances in the second half.
“Overall I was delighted with the players’ attitude.
“It’s frustrating when you don’t win your home games but we were up against one of the top teams in the league.”
East Fife 0 v Queen of the South 0
East Fife: Brown, Cook, McCormack, Campbell, Wedderburn, Smith , Durie, Muir, McManus (Jamieson 81), Wardlaw, Sloan (McBride 65). Subs not used: Brewster, Malcolm, Collier.
Queen of the South: Robinson, McGuffie, Durnan, Higgins, Holt, Mitchell, Johnston, McKenna, Orsi (Reilly 51), Lyle (Young 89), Clark (Hopkirk 81). Subs not used: Atkinson, Black.
Sent off: Johnston 88.
Star man: Stephen McKenna
Referee: Des Roach