Queen of the South continued their defence of the Ramsdens Cup and are through to the Third Round after a 2-0 victory over Airdrieonians at the Excelsior Stadium.
On-form striker Derek Lyle scored either side of half-time and was unfortunate not to net his second hat-trick of the season with two goals disallowed for offside and a header which struck the post in the final moments of the match.
The Queens line-up saw two changes from the 3-3 draw at Livingston on Saturday with Mark Durnan in for Chris Higgins and Ian McShane taking the place of Paul Burns with both incomers starting for the first time this season.
Ian McShane enjoyed a rare start
The away side began the match slowly although they did almost take a fortunate lead after just 3 minutes as the ball broke to Iain Russell on the edge of the Airdrie area. Russell tried his luck and his shot deflected off Ian McShane and was heading for the corner only for Colin Stewart to show good reactions to keep the ball out with a low diving save.
Airdrie just about edged the opening period and should have taken the lead after 21 minutes. Queens `keeper Calum Antell attempted to claim a corner but fumbled the wet ball before keeping out a close-range effort from Liam Coogans. The ball rebounded the edge of the box to Gregor Buchanan who struck the ball well but Antell was equal to that too as he flew across his goal-line to keep the scores level.
As the half wore on Queens came into the game more and more and fashioned a half-chance for Stephen McKenna through Derek Lyle`s good work on the left. Lyle cut the ball back to McKenna on the 18-yard line only for his shot to strike a defender and Iain Russell could not control the rebound which drifted wide.
After 40 minutes Lyle had the ball in the net for the first time with a fantastic overhead finish only to see the assistant referee`s flag raised.
The Doonhamers were motoring now and should have taken the lead on 43 minutes as a swift counter-attack saw substitute Dan Carmichael find Iain Russell on the left with a cross-field pass and the former-Livingston forward swept the ball across the goalmouth to the on-rushing Derek Lyle at the back post. Lyle`s finish did not match the approach play however as his shot struck the goalkeeper and Airdrie survived.
The Queens centre forward made up for this miss minutes later however as Chris Mitchell`s cross from the right was deftly redirected by Lyle on the edge of the box and found the far corner for the striker`s sixth goal of the season.
Lyle directs the ball into the net
The half-time whistle blew just seconds later and Queens just about deserved to be a goal in the lead.
The Doonhamers almost doubled their lead moments after the restart as Iain Russell found space at the back post to cut the ball back towards Stephen McKenna but the midfielder could not reach the ball and the chance was gone.
Airdrie then had an opportunity snuffed out by good defending from Ian McShane before Lyle had yet another goal ruled out for offside. Queens had pulled the home defence from side to side and found Dan Carmichael free at the back post but his volleyed effort was mis-hit and Lyle smashed the ball in from three yards only to see the assistant with his flag up yet again.
The home side almost levelled the scores on the hour mark as right-back Grant Evans` skewed cross drifted over Calum Antell and the ball struck the crossbar and bounced back into play. It was almost a fortunate leveller for Airdrie but Queens got away with it and consolidated their lead just 3 minutes later.
The second goal resulted from a Chris Mitchell corner from the right that drifted over everyone. Iain Russell gathered the wayward cross on the left corner of the 18 yard box and jinked inside before curling a low ball across the goal for Derek Lyle to fire the ball home and put the away side into a commanding position.
Lyle waits at the back post to increase the lead to 2-0
Airdrie had struggled to create anything of note since the restart but were gifted a chance to break as Ryan McGuffie`s pass was cut out by Jamie Bain who drove at the exposed Queens defence before cutting the ball across towards his team-mate. Queens` Mark Durnan was there to intercept the ball though and Queens cleared the ball to safety.
Queens then had a break of their own with 5 minutes remaining as they quickly turned defence into attack as Derek Lyle fed Dan Carmichael to run at the home defence. The winger tried a curling shot from the edge of the area only to send the ball wide when a return pass to Lyle may have been a better option.
Airdrie had a final chance to get on the scoresheet on 90 minutes as Willie McLaren found himself with a free header at the far post and with the goal gaping was denied by a fine save from Calum Antell in the Queens goal.
Derek Lyle had already been awarded the man of the match award but almost capped his fine performance with a hat-trick as his stoppage time header smacked off the base of the post. The Queens hitman had come as close to a hat-trick as you can get without actually getting the third goal but his brace was enough to see the holders of the Ramsdens Cup into Thursday`s Third Round draw.