Queen of the South survived a first half Albion Rovers penalty to continue their impressive season by winning 3-0 at a sunny Cliftonhill Stadium.
Tony Stevenson missed the hosts` early opportunity from the spot before seeing league top scorer Nicky Clark head home after 40 minutes. Queens missed a penalty of their own after 67 minutes although Derek Lyle was there to mop up the rebound and Derek Young completed the victory on 76 minutes.
The match began in sluggish fashion as neither team was able to impose themselves on the game and as a result few chances were created throughout the half.
Queens did have an early opportunity though as Dan Carmichael controlled a low cross from Derek Lyle, playing as a left-winger, before seeing his shot deflect just wide of the goalkeeper`s left-hand post.
After this opening the game struggled on with Queens showing more in possession but coming up against a resolute Albion Rovers defence.
Against the run of play, the home side almost took the lead after 23 minutes as a hopeful ball into the area was fumbled by Queens `keeper Lee Robinson inside the six-yard box. Chris Dallas looked certain to score as the ball dropped to him with the goal gaping but the Queens goalkeeper showed quick reactions to pounce on top of the ball and prevent his error from proving costly.
Robinson produces a remarkable save to deny Dallas
At the other end Paul Burns came close as he met a Chris Mitchell corner with a firm header only to see the ball being cleared at the far post by the Arbroath defence. This was the closest either team came in the first half hour but Albion were given a golden opportunity to take the lead on 34 minutes.
Albion Rovers captain Ciaran Donnelly swept in a deep corner kick towards trialist and former-Queens defender Marvin Andrews. The Trinidad & Tobago international leapt above the Queens defence but underneath the ball before falling to the floor under a challenge from Chris Higgins. The referee saw the challenge as unfair and pointed to the spot to the dismay of the Queens faithful. Queens goalkeeper Lee Robinson engaged in a bit of gamesmanship before the kick was taken and it seemed to work as Tony Stevenson blazed the kick over the crossbar to the relief of the Queens defence.
Big Marvin falls over for the penalty award
No problem for Lee with the Stevenson penalty blazed over the bar
Despite missing the chance to take the lead the home side`s confidence was up and Albion looked much more of a threat but the good spell from Rovers was short-lived as Nicky Clark gave Queens the lead after 40 minutes.
The away side had been struggling to get their usual slick passing game together but found a way through the home defence as Dan Carmichael got to the byline and crossed for Clark to head under the goalkeeper at the near post.
In the net from Clark as Andrews ambles up the park
The second period continued where the first left off as both teams were unable to really dominate possession of the ball and there were no real chances of note until the second penalty of the afternoon was given in the 67th minute.
This time it was Queens` penalty as Stephen McKenna won possession following a mistake in the Albion defence and fed the ball through to Nicky Clark. The league`s top scorer drove at the remaining Arbroath defenders and was brought down by Ciaran Donnelly inside the area, giving the referee no choice but to award the penalty. Centre-back Ryan McGuffie stepped up for Queens and struck the ball well only to see Ryan Scully in the Albion Rovers goal stretch to keep the ball out. The home team`s relief was short-lived, however, as the Derek Lyle was first to the rebound and made no mistake as he powered a half-volley beyond the stricken Scully.
Lyle celebrates his strike
Queens were now in command of the contest and were able to allow the home side onto them before breaking on the counter-attack. They did this to great effect after 76 minutes as Dan Carmichael played the ball inside to Paul Burns who in turn played inside to Nicky Clark. The striker then feinted to shoot before playing the ball to his right where Derek Young was free and the experienced midfielder made no mistake as he fired the ball through the exposed Ryan Scully.
Hot shot Derek Young celebrates
There were a few chances towards the end for Queens to further extend their lead but the game was well and truly won and although the performance was not in the same bracket as the previous two wins over Ayr and Arbroath the sizeable away support will have travelled back to Dumfries in jubilant mood.