A rampant display and emphatic 6-0 victory over Brechin City at Forfar`s Station Park saw Queen of the South crowned Second Division champions in style last night.
Brechin were the only side who could still mathematically overturn Queens` 24 point lead at the top of the table and were on an 11-match unbeaten run but the side placed 3rd in the table could not live with the speed and accuracy of the Queens attacks.
First half goals from Nicky Clark (2), Michael Paton (2) and an own goal from Brechin?s Ewan Moyes saw the Doonhamers sail into a 5-0 half-time lead before Gavin Reilly wrapped up the scoring in the second period. Things went from bad to worse for the home side as Brechin?s Gerry McLauchlan picked up his second booking and saw red with 14 minutes remaining.
Any nerves from the players were settled in lightning-quick time as Queens took the lead within the first minute. Chris Mitchell was the creator as his free-kick from the left wing found Nicky Clark free at the back post and after peeling off his marker the league`s top scorer made no mistake as he volleyed home.
It was a flying start to the match and it got better as Michael Paton fired in his first goal for the club after only 3 minutes. It was a wonderful solo effort as the former Aberdeen forward drove down the left-wing before cutting inside onto his right foot and curled a shot from 20 yards past the goalkeeper to send the travelling army of Queens fans into early celebrations.
Paton strikes his first goal of the night
and celebrates a super strike
Brechin looked bewildered and beaten already as Queens continued to press and create chances and could have been 3-0 in front within 7 minutes as Nicky Clark raced clear of the defence. The striker could not control the final shot though as he sliced the ball wide.
The lead was extended with just 18 minutes on the clock as another deadly delivery from a Chris Mitchell free-kick caused havoc in the Brechin defence and centre-back Ewan Moyes sliced his clearance over his own goalkeeper and into his own net to cap an incredible start to the match for the away side.
The game continued with Queens attacking at relentless pace and Brechin only threatening with long range efforts. Nicky Clark could have added a second but was denied by the feet of Michael Andrews in the Brechin goal before Michael Paton added his second of the night after 36 minutes.
Paton`s second was a tremendous strike as he blasted the ball into the postage stamp, giving the goalkeeper no chance whatsoever.
Paton slams home his second goal in some style
The match had not reached half-time before the Doonhamers added yet another goal with Clark making it 5-0 on 42 minutes. The striker slid in his 25th league of the season after great work down the left by Kevin Holt as the full-back got to the byline before cutting the ball across goal.
Kevin Holt ends up in the snow after crossing to Nicky Clark who bundled the ball home
The Brechin players would have been happy to hear the half-time whistle as they had been well and truly demolished in the first period with Queens running riot.
The second period began at a much more sedate pace than the first as Queens controlled possession of the ball and probed for more openings.
One such opening fell to Gavin Reilly who skipped past one challenge in the box before beating Andrews in the Brechin goal only to see his angled effort come back off the post.
Reilly did get himself on the scoresheet just a minute later however as he chased down Gerry McLauchlan`s back pass to block the goalkeeper`s clearance. The ball landed perfectly for the youngster as he rolled the ball into an unguarded net.
Gavin got his reward for a busy night with a goal after beating down the `keeper
That was to be the end of the scoring despite repeated attempts by Michael Paton to snatch his hat-trick and a number of other efforts going close as Queens were happy to keep possession and run the clock down.
Brechin`s bad day at the office was compounded with 14 minutes remaining as right-back Gerry McLauchlan was sent off after a late challenge on Nicky Clark brought a second yellow.
If there was is a way to win the league then a performance and result like that is certainly the way to do it. Few teams could have coped with the speed and precision of the Queens attacks with quality attacking football receiving its just rewards as Allan Johnston and his team claimed theirs.
Memories of 2001/02 season
Allan and Sandy - a job well done