Queens ran out comfortable winners at Forfar in their first outing of the season on a 3G pitch. On a night of difficult windy conditions, particularly as the match wore on, they adapted much better to the conditions than their opponents and took their chances when they arrived.
Allan Johnston named an unchanged sixteen for the game which meant that there was still no return for Kevin Holt since his suspension, but he did make two changes to the starting eleven with Willie Gibson and Derek Young replacing Paul Burns and Gavin Reilly. Dick Campbell had plenty of selection problems with several established first teamers out injured.
Queens made a bright start and were ahead inside five minutes when Chris Mitchell`s quality cross from the left was guided into the bottom right corner of goal via the head of top scorer Nicky Clark. However, the home side responded well and were quick and dangerous up front. It took an outstanding point blank save from Lee Robinson to preserve the lead on the quarter hour. Shortly after though the match was effectively ended as a contest when Nicky Clark burst through on goal and was pulled down from behind by Michael Dunlop six yards out. It was a clear penalty kick and referee Greg Aitken had no option but to send the Forfar defender off for denying a goalscoring opportunity. Ryan McGuffie buried the spot kick for good measure to double the lead.
To their credit the home side certainly didn`t give up and continued to look dangerous on the break forward. From a sharply taken free kick on 25 minutes Gavin Swankie gave them hope, firing into the net from 12 yards although Robinson was unlucky not to keep it out after getting a hand to the ball. If Forfar thought they could now make a contest of it though their optimism lasted only two minutes. That`s all the time it took for Queens to go 3-1 in front as Mark Durnan rattled the ball home from 10 yards at a corner kick.
After the whirlwind start there was little further action of note in the first half apart from home keeper David Scott producing a fine save to keep out McGuffie`s header just before the break. Queens soon added to their lead when the second half got underway though. A fine run down the right from McGuffie saw him fire the ball low across the face of goal and just out of the reach of Scott, leaving Nicky Clark with a tap in to make it 4-1 at the back post. He might well have clinched his hat-trcik soon after but he fired a ferocious shot off the crossbar and Derek Lyle could only screw the rebound wide of target.
Queens had made their first substitution at half time when Paul Burns replaced an strangely out of sorts Danny Carmichael and Gavin Reilly replaced Derek Lyle midway through the second period with the striker having just taken a knock. Reilly almost scored with his first touch but his shot across the face of goal was partly saved by the keeper and Nicky Clark failed to connect with the rebound this time. The substitutions were completed with quarter of an hour to go when David Hopkirk replaced 15 goal Clark and it was not long until the youngster was adding to his own goal tally. Hopkirk had scored five goals in a brief loan spell with Annan Athletic last month but grabbed his first goal for Queens when he was sent through with just the keeper to beat courtesy of a fine Burns pass.
So another potential banana skin negotiated then and two wins in the North East in four days with 8 more goals to show for it. It has certainly been a good week for Queens so far! Next up Ayr United bring their improved form to Palmerston for a South West clash on Saturday.