Queen Of The South
0 - 4
Clark Dowie Durnan Higgins Holt Sub3 Carmichael McShane 1 Fowler 1 Russell   1 Sub2 Reilly 1 Sub1 Lyle
Atkinson Sub2-77 Baird Sub3-80 Kidd Sub1-75 Dzierzawski Slattery Hooper Smith
The fixture list may have relatively kind to us but you can`t fail to be delighted with the storming start Queens have made to this League season when so much attention is focussed on the Championship. Two games, six points, six goals and top of the league following this afternoon`s clinical dismantling of Dumbarton at Bet Butler Stadium. It was a game badly affected by windy conditions but the Queens players coped with them much better than their opponents and earned a win which didn`t remotely flatter them.
There were no great surprises in the team selected by Jim McIntyre. It was exactly the same starting eleven and subs as last week which meant Derek Lyle and Gavin Reilly continued their partnership up front whilst John Baird still awaits his first competitive start for the club. Baird apart though it`s an inexperienced bench with Kevin Dzierzawski the oldest (at 22) and most experienced by far (12 starts). The home side were able to name a strong side featuring most of the players who did so well for them last season but adding new signings Danny Rogers, David van Zanten, Lee Mair and Archie Campbell.
Queens made a bright start playing into the strong wind and might have opened the scoring in the first minute but Derek Lyle`s header passed the wrong side of the post. The Doonhamers continued to look the more dangerous and were coping well defensively with the wind and took the lead on 20 minutes when Scott Linton was pressured into an error by Gavin Reilly who then squared for Derek Lyle to tuck the ball into the net beyond the reach of Danny Rogers. Lyle may now have entered the veteran stage of his career but he is still proving an effective player at this level and that`s already his 4th goal of the season.
Lyle strikes the opener
Four minutes later we nearly saw the best goal of this and probably any other season when, from a right sided corner that caught in the wind, Chris Higgins, with his back to goal, somehow contrived to produce a spectacular backheeled volley that beat Rogers but was headed off the line by a well placed defender. It was wonderful improvisation from the skipper and deserved a goal. Before half time we would go close again when Carmichael`s cross shot was almost turned in by Lyle stretching at the back post.
There was no sign of the wind dropping for the second half and sometimes it can be quite difficult to play with a strong wind at your back making passing difficult but Queens dealt with it supremely well today. From early in the second half it was clear they had their tactics spot on to deal with the conditions. It took only four minutes to double the lead and Lyle was given time and space to shape in a perfect cross and Gavin Reilly got across the front of a defender to bullet a header into the net off the right goalpost.On the hour mark the same player should have made it three when he was on hand in the six yard box on the end of Holt`s perfect ball in but somehow contrived to poke the ball wide of goal rather than into the net. Then it was Danny Carmichael making himself space in the penalty area to shoot from close range. He shot for the near post though rather than across the keeper and his attempt was smothered.
Gavin heads home
Danny congratulates Gavin on his goal
A third goal seemed destined to come and it duly did. And when it arrived it was one of those special ones. Rogers in the home goal tried a kicked clearance but hampered by the wind got no great distance on it. The ball dropped midway inside the Dumbarton half right where James Fowler was. `Fow` has never been a noted goalscorer in his career and I doubt he`s ever scored one as good as this. A beautiful delicate touch to control the ball and it absolutely rattled it back into the roof of the net from about 35 yards out, clipping the crossbar on its way in! The goal was wildly celebrated on the bench as well as on the pitch as his team-mates ran to mob the scorer who is already proving to be a crucial addition to the playing squad.
and celebrates with McIntyre
Kevin Dzierzawski replaced Derek Lyle on 75 minutes in a change which saw McShane push further forward and the young midfielder had a big part to play in the 4th goal which arrived soon after, playing the ball through the middle of the home defence for Iain Russell to run clean in on goal. He may not play up front all that often now but the former Dumbarton forward still knows how to finish in that position and duly did so into the bottom corner.
Iain Russell slides home number four
and celebrates with an Alfie
Queens began to run the clock down after this with John Baird coming on for Reilly and Lewis Kidd for Carmichael but there was still time for Queens to miss a couple more gilt edged chances. First McShane, clean through on goal and about 8 yards out tried to play the ball to Kidd instead of finishing himself only to see a desperate sliding challenge take the ball off Kidd`s toes as he went to knock it into the empty net. Then Durnan headed narrowly wide from a corner kick.
In the end this was a very good win which could even have been by a wider margin. It was wide enough though to send us into Sunday top of the league and it will take something sensational in tomorrow`s Edinburgh derby for us not to be top until Livingston come calling again next weekend.