Queen Of The South
0 - 5
Clark   Durnan Dowie Higgins   Kidd 1 Sub1 McShane Paton Millar Holt   3 (p) Sub3 Lyle 1 Sub2 Reilly
Atkinson Sub1-68 Burns Sub2-74 Russell Sub3-81 Pickard Carmichael Hooper Mitchell
After unfortunately dropping out of the top four last week for the first time all season it was clear Queens needed to bounce back with a win at Cowdenbeath today and boy did they do that! The `Blue Brazil` had edged both the previous clashes 2-1 this season but this time it was a rampant Queens performance that turned in a 5-0 away win. It was both our biggest away win and our biggest league win since we memorably clinched the second division title with a 6-0 win over Brechin at Forfar in 2013.
There were three changes to the Queens team that faced Hibernian last week. Zander Clark took over from Jim Atkinson again in goal whilst Mark Durnan returned from suspension, effectively in place of Danny Carmichael with Lewis Kidd moving forward. Michael Paton`s recent impressive form from the bench saw him replace Iain Russell in the starting line up too. There was also a change of formation as Queens switched to a back three for the first time this season, Holt pushing further forward wide left.
Before the match began there was an immaculately observed minute`s silence in memory of Gemma Porteous, partner of Cowdenbeath defender Dean Brett, who sadly passed away from spinal cancer just a few weeks after giving birth prematurely to twin daughters Mollie and Mia. Sadly Mollie also passed away shortly after birth. At times like these football seems very trivial. We wish Dean and Mia well for the future.
When the match did get started it was a bit of a `slow burner` with Queens possibly just about having the better of the early exchanges without seriously threatening to score. Mark Millar looked in the mood to break his scoring duck though, three times having decent efforts on goal, the best of them from a direct free kick 30 yards out which whistled past the post with Robbie Thomson able only to watch it go past.
Out of nowhere though the match burst into life just before half time. First Kevin Holt was very sharp to nip past dithering defenders to meet Lewis Kidd`s rcross fromt he right and flick it goalwards only for Thomson in the home goal to spectacularly tip his shot over the bar. From McShane`s resulting corner a header at goal produced a similarly good reaction stop from Thomson but this time he only pushed the ball back out and first to react to it was Derek Lyle who nodded it over the line before the defenders could clear. It was a vital breakthrough, right before the interval, and meant the home side had to come out and have a go in the second half.
And have a go they did, with Robbie Buchanan forcing a good save from Zander Clark, diving low to his right, in the opening minute. However, with that saved, and the resulting corner kick scrambled to safety Queens set about taking a firm control of the game from the midfield. Ten minutes in a fine run by Michael Paton saw the ball played in to Lyle who cleverly played it into the six yard box where the in-rushing Gavin Reilly arrived to place a shot behind Thomson and double the advantage. Two become three 90 seconds later and this one owed even more to Paton whose forceful run down the right side caused havoc and left Lyle to pick his spot for his second goal. The home side had time to make a substitution, bringing on club captain Sean Higgins in place of Buchanan, before it was 4-0 and the 4th was a real goal of the season candidate with a fine passing move involving half a dozen players ended when Ian McShane curled the ball into the top left corner from the edge of the box.
It was almost five three minutes later when Paton struck the outside of the post with a shot from the edge of the box running in on Kidd`s ball inside from out wide. It was clear the match was over as a contest so James Fowler took the opportunity to give some more game time to Paul Burns, who replaced McShane in the on 68th minute. Soon after Iain Russell replaced Gavin Reilly, getting a rare chance to play directly up front. It took five minutes for him to earn his first penalty kick since arriving here when Thomas O`Brien barged him over in the box. It looked like Mark Millar might be on penalties now as he moved expectantly up the park to take the kick but, on a hat-trick and 4-0 up, there was no way anyone was getting the ball from Derek Lyle who had gone to pick it up as soon as the spot kick was awarded. He duly took the kick and fired it into the bottom left corner beyond Thomson`s dive to make it 5-0. It was last action as he was immediately replaced to a standing ovation from the Queens support by Jake Pickard.
There was no further scoring but the news that Falkirk had failed to beat Dumbarton at home was greeted by a cheer as Queens moved back up to 4th with still a game in hand. Next up it`s a break from league action as we meet holders St Johnstone in the last 16 of the William Hill Scottish Cup at Palmerston