After weeks of good performances with no end product Queen of the South found their shooting boots in an emphatic 3-0 victory over Alloa Athletic at Recreation Park.
In a notoriously difficult place to pick up points Queens took the lead through Iain Russell`s header after 15 minutes and did not look back as they dominated the rest of the match. Russell added his second with a superbly taken goal on 70 minutes before Gavin Reilly doubled his league tally for the season with 16 minutes left.
The match began with the home side very much on top and but for some determined defending from Queens skipper Chris Higgins they could have been ahead. The centre-back cleared anything knocked into the area by the Alloa attack, most notably on 4 minutes as Alloa played in a free-kick from the halfway line onto the head of Graeme Holmes at the back post. His header back across goal was begging to be finished but for the intervention of Higgins who managed to head clear.
The hosts continued to press but without managing to test Alexander Clark in the Queens goal. Queens on the other hand had been unable to make any sort of impression but were awarded a free-kick ten yards inside the Alloa half on 14 minutes. And with their first opportunity to get the ball into the Alloa box Queens made it count. Kevin Holt took the kick and drilled a low ball onto the head of Mark Durnan coming in from the right angle of the box and his header across goal was dispatched by the head of Iain Russell from 10 yards. It was a bit smash-and-grab but from then on Queens did not look back.
Russell heads past Bain to open the scoring
and celebrates in typical fashion
The Doonhamers were pushing for a quick second and should have had after 21 minutes as Russell threatened once again with a headed effort. This time it came from open play as Gavin Reilly spotted the run in-behind from Ian McShane. The pass forced McShane wide but he got his head up and spotted the run of Russell at the back post. Queens` top scorer met it well with his head but Scott Bain in the Alloa goal pushed it over.
Queens were playing with confidence but were forced into some desperate defending with ten minutes to go until half time as Ryan McCord found the run of Kevin Cawley ghosting in at the back post. The Alloa forward got his head to the ball and sent it toward the far corner but Clark stretched well to push it out. The danger was not over, however, as the ball fell at the feet of Andy Kirk who pushed the ball goalwards only for Chris Higgins to block the ball on the line, sending the ball behind.
And it was Higgins himself at the other end who had the chance to double Queens` lead on 40 minutes as he shrugged off his marker to meet Chris Mitchell?s corner eight yards out in the centre of goal but he could only send the ball into the grateful arms of Scott Bain.
Alloa had a series of corners and throw-ins in the final third as half-time drew near but the Queens defence held firm and went in at the break with a deserved lead.
Alloa came out in the second half looking for an early equaliser and could have had it just two minutes into the half as Kevin Cawley ran in behind the Queens defence only to cut the ball back behind his supporting teammates.
Iain Russell was still proving a real threat for the home defence though and will feel unfortunate not to have added his second on 54 minutes as he hooked Mitchell`s corner straight onto the chest of Scott Bain from five yards out. The goalkeeper can count himself lucky as he did not know anything about it.
The hosts almost carved out a chance through Cawley but for Kevin Holt`s intervention before Russell doubled his and Queens` tally with a fantastic second on 70 minutes.
The goal came from a real disaster for Alloa `keeper Bain as he was closed down by Gavin Reilly and in his haste to clear kicked straight to Derek Young who took his time and found Iain Russell in space on the left side of the area. Russell controlled and, as the goalkeeper flew out to meet him, stepped smartly around Bain before cutting past a desperate block by Carl Meggatt and stroked the ball past the remaining defender into the top corner. The goal showed real composure and tremendous skill as Russell netted his seventh goal of the season.
Russell watches his effort curl into the net
That goal might have knocked the stuffing out of most teams but Alloa had the chance to reply almost immediately and this time it was Clark in the Queens goal who made an error as his attempted clearance fell to the feet of Holmes. The midfielder had only Chris Higgins to beat and he fired a half-volley toward the goal but found the head of the Queens captain giving Clark the chance to breath a sigh of relief.
Alloa had another opportunity just a minute later as former Queens man Stephen Simmons smashed the ball wide from eight yards out before the three points were made safe by Gavin Reilly. The Queens youngster has struggled for goals this term but took his chance really well as Dan Carmichael played the ball to him on the stretch. Reilly stepped inside the box, stepped inside his man before looking up and finding the bottom corner.
Reilly is delighted with his goal
The goal capped what had been an excellent display from the Second Division champions and gave manager Jim McIntyre exactly what he has been calling for: ruthlessness at both ends of the park.