McHugh gives Queens advantage

A Bob McHugh double gave Queen of the South the advantage over Falkirk after a 2-1 win in their quarter-final first leg play-off at Palmerston Park.

But the home side did not have it all their own way as the away side made a lively start to the contest with Mark Beck going close from a Will Vaulks cross early on.

And they took the lead after only seven minutes when Blair Alston rifled the ball past Queen of the South goalkeeper Nicky Clark.

Alston almost doubled Falkirk's advantage after 15 minutes when his long-range effort just wide Clark's post. Stephen Kingsley also had a couple of chances for Falkirk around the midway point in the half but was unable to find the target on both occasions.

David McCracken should have extended the visitors' lead after 29 minutes with a free header, omly to see the ball go agonisingly wide of Clark's post.

South improved as the half wore on and Paul Burns had a chance to hit back but was unable to find the target with his shot from inside the area.

As the sides headed towards the break McHugh unleashed a powerful shot for the home side which was well held by Falkirk goalkeeper Michael McGovern.

Falkirk had an early chance in the second half with a Scott Shepherd header but South goalkeeper Zander Diamond made a comfortable save.

But the home side managed to get on level terms in the 52nd minute when Mark Durnan headed back across goal and McHugh was on hand to finish.

The home side enjoyed a period of sustained pressure after the goal but Falkirk's Sibbald had two good efforts at goal. The first was saved by Diamond low to his right and the second was blocked by Durnan.

With the game heading towards a draw McHugh popped up to smash the ball home past McGovern to give Queen of the South a vital lead ahead of the second leg in Falkirk on Saturday.