Queens grabbed a crucial three points away to Dumbarton in difficult conditions today and in doing so avenged one of those painful early season home defeats. Iain Russell was the goalscoring hero again, though his strike was heavily deflected, and the defence withstood everything Dumbarton had to offer in the second half to clinch the points and a clean sheet.
A minutes applause in the memory of Nelson Mandela
There was just one change to the starting eleven which played so well against St Mirren in the Cup last weekend. Gavin Reilly had a slight injury and so wasn`t risked from the start , Derek Lyle instead taking his place in the line up. A further change on the bench saw Dan Orsi return to the match squad with Danny Carmichael having picked up an injury. There was a surprise in the home side as Kevin Smith, who spent the previous two season with us, got a rare start for his new side. No place though in the starting team for another former Queens player, goalkeeper Stephen Grindlay.
Playing with a strong wind at the back Queens dominated the early exchanges and could have taken the lead early on when a clever corner routine left Derek Lyle with a free back post header. Rather than go for goal directly though Lyle headed back across goal where Mark Durnan met it powerfully, beating keeper Jamie Ewings with his effort but seeing it agonisingly cleared off the line. The opener wasn`t long delayed though and arrived quarter of an hour in. The ball found its way out to Iain Russell wide left and he fired a fierce shot at goal which took a wicked deflection, wrongfooting Ewings and ending up in the back of the net.
Iain Russell watches his deflected effort crash into the back of the net.
Jim McIntyre was forced into an early change after just 20 minutes though as Michael Paton limped off with what looked like a knee problem. Kevin Dzierzawski was the chosen replacement and that necessitated a postional change for Ian McShane, who moved forward to play where Paton had been. It didn`t change the flow of the game though and Queens continued to dominate. From Mitchell`s corner Stephen McKenna headed the ball narrowly wide of target and later, after referee Brian Colvin had awarded a mysterious foul to Queens right on the edge of the penalty area, Derek Lyle had a powerful low shot well smothered by Ewings. Just before the break Chris Mitchell picked up a yellow card for a foul on Mark Gilhaney but the half ended with Queens unable to add to their lead but well on top.
Mitchell earsn a booking for a block
The second half was always going to be a different story, though the wind had dropped a little by the time it started. It was still much more of a rearguard action from the start as Dumbarton tried to use the conditions to their advantage. With no early breathrough, Ian Murray used his subs bench and brought on Bryan Prunty and Colin Nish for Megginson and Smith. The move seemed to liven the home side up and Prunty in particular looked dangerous. He also looked fired up for the contest and immediately got involved twice with Iain Russell, the first time after a soft free kick was awarded for a foul on the Queens wide man and soon afterwards following a pretty cynical foul by Russell, for which he was lucky to escape without a booking, Prunty squared up to him in retaliation. It was the Dumbarton substitute though who found himself in the referee`s notebook.
Booking for Prunty following an impetuous challenge on Russell
With still 20 minutes to go the home side made their final change, sending on another attacking forward in former Dunfermline man Steven McDougall in place of Jordan Kirkpatrick. Queens too made a change at that point, Gavin Reilly being given 15 minutes in relief of Lyle. What transpired to be Dumbarton`s closest effort arrived with ten minutes to go when Prunty fizzed a strike narrowly wide of target from just inside the penalty area. Soon after full back Paul McGinn collected the game`s thrid booking for a cynical foul on Russell.
Queens though were able to see out the remaining minutes relatively untroubled and indeed almost added to the lead in spectacular style two minutes into injury time when keeper Jamie Ewings, clearing the ball forward from a wide position, hit it stright to Stephen McKenna at the back of the centre circle in his own half. McKenna struck the ball first time low back towards goal from all of 60 yards. It looked all the way like it would end up in the empty net but in the end grazed past the left hand post. There was little more time to add though and Queens moved above their hosts on goal difference up to 7th thanks to the three points.