It was an afternoon to forget for Dunfermline as they succumbed to their second league defeat of the season at East End Park by a rampant Queen of the South.
Allan Johnston remained without striker Andy Ryan but top scorer Nicky Clark was fit enough to start against his former side.
Queens fielded the same starting eleven from their 0-0 draw against Inverness, 7-days prior.
And, it was the visitors who started better: Andy Stirling firing in an early effort which Murdoch saved well to his right-hand side.
Then, on only 8 minutes, Gary Naysmith’s charges went ahead through Chris Kane. Dobbie brought the ball under control and played it forward for Stirling, who showed composure and awareness to back-heel the ball to the on-rushing striker; the on-loan St Johnstone forward kept cool to slot home from the edge of the box to give the Doonhamers the advantage.
Dunfermline managed to create the next opening as Cardle drifted from left to right to receive the ball inside the area. The Englishman looked to score his tenth goal of the season but Alan Martin was up to the task to deny the Pars.
The hosts failed to convince defensively and after some hesitation, Dobbie picked up a loose ball on the left. He twisted and turned before getting enough space between him and Williamson to slide the ball to Kane, who took a touch before swiveling and firing past Murdoch for his third goal of the season.
Stirling continued to cause problems down the left. The former East End Park winger cut inside of Talbot but the shot was held by Murdoch. The dominance of the away side didn’t go unnoticed by the home dugout, with Dean Shiels replacing Nat Wedderburn ten minutes before the break.
A Nicky Clark header – which was comfortably saved – and a McManus drive from 20-yards made sure Dunfermline ended the half brightly but it wasn’t enough to claw back the two goal deficit come half-time.
Dobbie curled a show narrowly wide 30 seconds after the restart before the Pars got back into it.
Williamson charged down the right before squaring the ball into the penalty area. Clark was on hand to fire the ball home on 47 minutes to swing the momentum into the hosts’ favour.
Dobbie then had two efforts which flashed across the goals – inches away from Lyndon Dykes tapping home on both occasions – which were sandwiched in between the former Blackpool and Crystal Palace forward trying his luck from 20-yards with a free-kick but Murdoch’s defensive wall stood strong.
Despite the goal, the Pars were struggling to trouble the visitors defence. That forced Johnston into a second change, bringing Higginbotham on for Lewis Martin with 25 minutes remaining.
Just 10 minutes later and it was 3-1. With it only 2 weeks until Christmas, Dunfermline seemingly dished out a gift or two – with the Dumfries side profiting in style.
Kane was caught offside after a long ball and as Ashcroft tried to get the game back underway quickly, he put his side in trouble as he laid the ball off to Shiels.
With the Northern Irishman facing his own goal, he had three players on his back. Jacobs nicked the ball and raced in on goal. Murdoch came out of his area and slid in but the ball landed to Dobbie and he calmly finished the chance from outside the area into am empty net.
Things were to be compounded further just moments later as captain Callum Morris fouled Dykes inside the area. Dobbie fired home the penalty despite Murdoch going the right way to put the game beyond any doubt.
Shaun Rooney came on in the unusual position of right-midfield for Andy Stirling but the former Pars man was rarely involved.
Shiels had a left-footed effort palmed away by Martin but Clark gathered the rebound. He chipped the ball into the back post for the unmarked McManus who grabbed a consolation with a close-range header.
Fraser Aird was brought on immediately to left-back in place of Jason Talbot but similarly to Rooney, the Canadian couldn’t influence proceedings with so little time remaining.
The visitors would round off a 5-star performance with a final goal. After neat passing interplay, Dobbie was left free at the back post to complete his hat-trick.
A heavy home loss for Dunfermline which sees them drop to fifth in the table. Queen of the South, on the other hand, leapfrog the Pars as well as Livingston into third as Naysmith’s men continued their good run against Johnston’s side, with the former East Fife boss now undefeated in 5 matches at East End Park as a manager.
FULL-TIME: Dunfermline Athletic 2-5 Queen of the South
1. Sean Murdoch
2. Ryan Williamson
5. Callum Morris (Captain)
6. Lee Ashcroft
14. Jason Talbot (Fraser Aird 87′)
15. Michael Paton
3. Lewis Martin (Kallum Higginbotham 65′)
8. Nat Wedderburn (Dean Shiels 35′)
9. Declan McManus
10. Nicky Clark
11. Joe Cardle
20. Cammy Gill (GK)
4. Jean-Yves M’Voto
7. Kallum Higginbotham
17. Fraser Aird
23. Callum Smith
27. Dean Shiels
Queen of the South
1. Alan Martin
24. Scott Mercer
15. Jason Kerr
5. Darren Brownlie
3. Jordan Marshall
7. Andy Stirling (Shaun Rooney 84′)
14. Kyle Jacobs
8. John Rankin (Captain)
25. Lyndon Dykes
10. Chris Kane
11. Stephen Dobbie
20. Jack Leighfield (GK)
2. Shaun Rooney
6. Callum Tapping
9. Derek Lyle
16. James McFadden
17. Connor Murray
19. Owen Bell
Referee: Willie Collum