Queen of the South ended their goalless streak of three games and their first league win since the first day of the season with an accomplished performance and 2-0 win over Greenock Morton at Cappielow.
A first half diving header from Iain Russell was added to by Derek Lyle`s neat finish after 58 minutes to set the Doonhamers back to winning ways. Morton had a gilt-edged chance to halve the deficit as they were awarded a penalty minutes after Lyle`s goal but Reece Hands wasted the opportunity allowing Queens to run out deserved winners.
The match began brightly for Queens as they broke out of defence to find Derek Lyle on the left-wing, he got his head up to spot Ryan McGuffie`s lung-bursting run on the right and found the full-back with a good long ball. Unfortunately for McGuffie the ball forced him wider than he would have liked and his cut-back was poor allowing the Morton defence to clear.
Morton replied moments later with an inswinging cross from Scott Taggart on the right wing that was headed toward Calum Antell`s net before Chris Higgins did well to head clear from in front of his own goal.
A mixture of Antell and Higgins nullified the Morton aerial threat
The opening minutes promised much more than was delivered in the rest of the half however as much of the game was played in midfield with neither defence giving anything away. A looping header from Morton`s Reese Hands was tipped over by Calum Antell after 22 minutes before Morton created their best opportunity of the half four minutes later.
It came from good play on the right wing by Taggart as he played the ball inside to Tony Wallace who found himself with just Calum Antell in the Queens goal to beat. His low shot found its way past the `keeper but not past the saving block of Andy Dowie.
Queens had been playing the ball around midfield nicely at times throughout the half but were yet to really test Nicolas Caraux in the Morton goal. After a number of set-pieces and with half-time fast approaching the Queens attack finally fashioned a real goalscoring chance. And they took it with aplomb.
The move stemmed from Ian McShane driving forward from midfield and committing the Morton left-back Marc Fitzpatrick allowing space for Michael Paton on the Queens right. McShane found the pass through to the former-Aberdeen forward and he stood a fine cross up for the waiting Iain Russell free at the back post to power a diving header past the goalkeeper to end the team`s goalless run.
Russell heads the opening goal with goalmaker Paton watching in the background
Russell celebrates with provider Paton
The goal came at a vital moment in the game with the players filing into the dressing rooms for half-time just seconds later as once the second half began it was Queens who looked much more confident in their opponent`s half.
Morton did come out fighting in the second half though and pinned the Queens defence onto their 18-yard line for the opening 10 minutes. The away defence coped well with the onslaught with Morton midfielder Michal Habai`s clipped volley the best effort as it dropped just over Antell`s crossbar before Lyle doubled the Doonhamers` lead on 58 minutes.
The goal came once again from good work by McShane as he found space in front of the Morton defence and played a deftly-weighted pass through to the run of Derek Lyle who had time to look up before placing the ball across the exposed Caraux and into the far corner.
Lyle smashes home the clincher
amd is congratulated by McGuffie, Paton and goalmaker McShane
The jubilance of the Queens support after the second goal was short lived however as Morton were given a golden opportunity to get themselves back into the contest as Iain Russell was adjudged to have handballed in the Queens area. It looked like a harsh award as the ball was played from close range but it hit his arm and the referee gave the spot-kick. Reece Hands was the Morton player who stepped up but it will be a moment he would like to forget as his shot ballooned over the crossbar and even over the stand behind Antell`s goal. It was a shocking effort and the home side were unable to recover to force their way back into the contest as Queens looked most likely to score the third goal of the game.
Penalty taker Hands gave Antell no need to use his as he blasted his spot kick all the way to Port Glasgow
Iain Russell had a wonderful chance just three minutes after the penalty as he beat the offside trap to find himself one-on-one with Caraux but he took it early and attempted to lob the Morton `keeper. His effort was wayward though and the chance to put the game to bed was missed.
Morton tried to force the issue as they threw on another striker in the shape of Archie Campbell but that left more space for Queens to counter-attack and after Kevin Dzierzawski`s long-range effort brought a good stop from Caraux, Ryan McGuffie came closest to adding to the scoresheet.
McGuffie fires in a great effort from a McShane corner but the Morton keeper made a decent stop
The chance came from a well-worked corner routine as the Queens attack worked open a gap at the near post for McGuffie to spin into and he met Ian McShane`s driven corner with a stooping header only to see Caraux pull off a reaction save before his defence cleared.
The final ten minutes were played out with a flurry of yellow cards but without goalmouth incident and Queens played out what in the end was a fine victory and their second league win of the season.