Match Report

Queens recorded back to back league victories as they started their 2016 home campaign with a single goal win over bottom side Alloa. Returning to Palmerston for the first time in over 6 weeks, the home side dominated most of the play in the opening period but only had an Iain Russell goal to show for their efforts, and in a more evenly contested second half they faced several close calls - most notably when the visitors hit the bar - but fortunately they were able to see out the game and claim a valuable win that takes them level on points with Raith in fourth place in the Championship table.

The Queens team showed three changes to the one that started in the cup defeat at Dumbarton. Out went Gary Oliver, Kyle Jacobs and Chris Higgins, to be replaced by Jake Pickard, Alex Harris, and Darren Brownlie. The injury picked up by skipper Higgins saw his ever present run this season come to an end, whilst new loan signing, Andy Murdoch,started life as a Queens player on the bench.
Ladies Day - The Queens of the South
The match started with Queens, rather unusually, attacking the Portland Drive end of the ground in the first half and lining -up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. From the start the pace of Alex Harris looked likely to be a threat to the Alloa defence, and having almost succeeded in getting in a cross with his first involvement in the game, moments later he skipped past full-back Doyle but there was a little too much pace on his cross and the ball evaded the onrushing Derek Lyle. With the hosts trying to build on their early dominance an ambitious attempt from Lewis Kidd was deflected away for the game`s first corner, but under no real pressure, the Alloa defence coped comfortably.
The inclusion of Jake Pickard in midfield might have raised a few eyebrows among the Queens support in the crowd of 1559, but almost from kick-off the youngster was greatly involved in the action. His presence in the middle of the park gave Queens a bit more solidarity, although his eagerness to win the ball might have cost him an early booking as twice in quick succession he was a bit late with his challenges. However that said he settled well into the game and after winning Queens a second corner, his attempted curling shot from just inside the area, although comfortable for `keeper Gallagher, showed good intent. In fact for a 10 minute spell it seemed as though everywhere the ball was, Pickard was, and after winning the ball in midfield his well placed pass slipped in Iain Russell who in turn only just failed to supply a telling final ball to a well placed Derek Lyle.
Pickard wins an aerial battle
Midway through the half and it was Pickard again who almost unlocked the visitors defence this time his ball over the top almost put Russell through, but between them Hill,and Doyle kept the Queens striker at bay.The away side created a half chance for themselves minutes later when striker Layne wriggled clear of a couple of challenges in the 6-yard box, but Jordan Marshall reacted well to block his shot away for a corner.The resulting set-piece was easily defended by Queens who then broke quickly through Russell and Lyle although Russell`s effort from a difficult angle was blocked almost as soon as it left his boot. Just short of the half an hour mark Russell went close again following a flowing move involving Harris and Kidd which ended with Russell`s shot being parried away by the `keeper.
Red, white and blue Brownlie
This was Queens` best spell of the half, and once again the tremendous pace of Harris saw him surge clear down the right, but again the final ball was something of a let down as the supporting run from Mark Millar was wasted as Harris over-hit his cross into the area. Possibly the best chance of the first half was then passed up by Queens as on 35 minutes they really should have taken the lead. An excellent cross from Kidd on the right looking for the head of Lyle was headed out to Millar almost on the penalty spot, and although Millar made good contact with the ball, his shot went straight at Alloa captain, Hill, who bravely blocked away the effort.The hosts went close again following their next attack. Having broken up the play,captain for the day, Andy Dowie found Kidd in space and his clipped ball over the top sent Harris racing clear yet again and with Derek Lyle moving to the near post Harris` low drive was only just gathered by `keeper Gallagher a fraction ahead of Lyle.Soon afterwards Hutton and Millar exchanged passes setting up a shooting opportunity for Millar, but off balance and on his weaker left foot, his effort flew harmlessly wide of the target.
Although it wasn`t non-stop pressure, at this point Queens were certainly in the ascendancy,and having missed a couple of fairly decent chances there was a feeling starting to creep in that it could turn out to be `one of those days`, however fortunately for Queens on 41 minutes they found a breakthrough.Mark Millar`s outstanding 30-yard cross field pass picked out Derek Lyle on the right and Lyle`s driven pass across the face of goal was met at the far post by the alert Iain Russell who crashed the ball into the roof of the net from close range.The goal took Russell`s total to 7 for the season and he has now scored in each of Queens last 3 home games.
Russell nets
Russell celebrates with goalmakers Harris and Lyle
With his confidence high, Russell went for the spectacular moments from the break, but although his shot was on target, his effort from fully 50-yards out went straight into the arms of `keeper Gallagher. A decent enough first half performance during which the home side were much the better team in an attacking sense, and they probably just about deserved their half-time advantage.
Neither side made any changes at the interval but their was certainly a change to the way the visitors began the second half as for the opening spell of the half, they were much the better team. Their tempo had quickened, and their passing was more crisp and precise and on loan Celtic youngster, Michael Duffy became increasingly more influential, and only minutes into the half he was very unlucky to see his thunderous effort from 25-yards beat Robbie Thomson but crash against the bar and bounce clear. The visitors almost benefited from an error by Dowie as he delayed clearing the ball in the penalty box, and then Duffy saw a shot pushed away for a corner as Alloa tried to find a way back into the game.
After a slow start Queens started to work their way into the half, and once again it was the pace of Harris that was the main outlet for their attacking play. Twice in the space of as many minutes the on-loan Hibs man got clear down the right, firstly sending his cross inches behind Lyle, and then picking out a perfect delivery that was crying out to be forced over the line only but O`Brien was able to get to the ball just ahead of Millar to concede a corner.
Earlier in the game Darren Brownlie had suffered some sort of facial injury and after having treatment was able to continue,however just past the hour mark he was forced to leave the game for further treatment. Fortunately during his absence of 5 or so minutes, the visitors were not able to capitalise on their numerical advantage. Jake Pickard was deployed as the `stop gap` centre-back, and he made a couple of decisive interventions as Queens regrouped whilst down to 10 men.With 20 minutes to go Alloa came very close to drawing level. A free kick floated in by O`Brien was allowed to go a long way and Robbie Thomson did very well to follow the flight of the ball and push it away to safety as O`Brien`s delivery threatened to sneak in at the back post. Queens then replied with an attack of their own when Lewis Kidd`s run and cross almost picked out the unmarked Lyle, but McKenna managed to just flick the ball clear from the Queens striker.
Harris heavily involved
Ryan Conroy replaced Mark Millar with 13 minutes to go, and 5 minutes later Kyle Jacobs was sent on in place of Derek Lyle as Queens attempted to shut up shop and close the game out. It could have been a lot more comfortable for Queens had they, and in particular, Ryan Conroy taken either of the two chances they had late in the game.When Iain Russell was fouled just outside the box in what could be deemed as `Conroy territory`, it seemed to be a perfect chance for the former Celtic player. However `keeper Gallagher did really well to palm the free-kick away, diving at full length to keep his team in the game. Then less than a minute later and from an almost identical position the two went `head to head` again, this time Conroy`s effort hit the post and then the diving Gallagher before rolling out for a corner. The set-piece from Conroy was cleared out as far as Kyle Hutton on the edge of the box, but he lacked composure and fired his shot way off target.
That was the last opportunity for Queens going forward but they were put under pressure right at the death following good work from Doyle and substitutes Hynd, and Ferns and when their third sub McAusland headed the ball back across the box fortunately for Queens there were no takers as any sort of Alloa presence would surely have tied the game up. The sides met for the first ever time 91 years ago tomorrow when a Scottish cup game ended 1-1 and the visitors will probably be thinking that they did enough to take something from the game.
Sponsors made Jake Pickard their man-of-the-match and following successive league wins and clean sheets, Queens will travel to Kirkcaldy for next weekend`s important game with Raith in good spirits and knowing that a win will see them move up to fourth outright.
Man of the match - Jake Pickard

  • Thomson

  • Kidd

  • Brownlie

  • Dowie

  • Marshall

  • Hutton

  • Pickard

  • Harris

  • Millar


  • Russell

  • Lyle



  • Atkinson

  • Conroy


  • Jacobs


  • Murdoch

  • Hooper

  • Smith

  • Oliver

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14:19 Qos Team : 1.Thomson 2.Kidd 4.Dowie 5.Brownlie 7.Harris 8.Millar 9.Lyle 11.Russell 16.Hutton 17.Pickard 23.Marshall
14:19 Qos Subs : 10.Conroy 14.Jacobs 18.Murdoch 20.Atkinson 22.Hooper 24.Smith 28.Oliver
14:25 Alloa XI; Gallagher, Hill, Hamilton, Duffy, O`Brien, Holmes, McKenna, McManus,Doyle, Layne, Crawford.
14:28 Three changes for Queens this afternoon. Brownlie, Harris and Pickard replace Jacobs, Oliver and the injured Higgins.
6 min First chance for Queens. Pickard picks up the ball just outside the penalty box but his shot is straight at Gallagher.
17 min Lyle finds the feet of Russell but he can`t get his shot away. Encouraging signs for Queens early on.
18 min Russell has a shot from inside the penalty box but is comfortably saved by Gallagher.
28 min After a scramble in the Alloa box the ball falls to Millar but his strike from 12 yards out is saved by the feet of Gallagher.
32 min Millar has a long range strike but rises over the bar. Still 0-0 here
33 min GOAL QUEENS. Russell the scorer - QOS 1:0 Alloa
35 min Lyle`s cross finds Russell at the back post and he taps home the opening goal. 1-0 QUEENS.
Half Time HALF TIME - QOS 1:0 Alloa
47 min Duffy fierce strike from 30-yards out smashes the crossbar. So close to a level game.
54 min Duffy`s shot from ten yards out is saved by Thomson. Still 1-0.
55 min Substitution : McAusland on for Holmes
64 min Hamilton has a shot from 20 yards out but is straight at Thomson. Still 1-0 Queens.
66 min Substitution : Ferns on for Crawford
71 min Layne has a shot from just outside the Queens penalty box but can`t trouble Thomson.
76 min Substitution : Conroy on for Millar
81 min Substitution : Jacobs on for Lyle
83 min Substitution : Hynd on for Hamilton
85 min Conroys free-kick is tipped out a for a corner.
85 min Yellow Card : Doyle
87 min Another chance for Queens and it`s a free-kick from Conroy again. This time the keeper tips the ball onto the post and out for a corner.
16:47 FULL TIME - QOS 1:0 Alloa
16:47 A superb run from Harris and strike nearly doubles Queens lead late on.
16:49 Full time here at Palmerston and Iain Russell`s first half strike is the difference between the sides. Queens 1-0 Alloa.