Aug 8 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Wednesday
Thunderstruck Alloa fall to defeat at goal-hungry Queens
STANDING ovations at Palmerston are not something many of these Queens players are accustomed to.
But on Saturday in Dumfries, the 900–strong crowd inside the sodden stadium applauded and cheered their team down the tunnel.
As many cowered from the torrential rain, thunder and lightning that battered the town before kick-off, it was the Palmerston team that was buzzing by 4.45pm on Saturday afternoon.
The weather was so severe ahead of kick-off that one deafening rapture of thunder even managed to knock-out the PA system.
Whether this sent a shiver of fear down the Wasps backs or injected an injury-hit Queens team with a burst of energy, the men in blue strolled to victory, putting five past their sorry visitors.
They left it late but in the end Alloa collapsed as Allan Johnston’s team scored three goals in the last seven minutes.
With Danny Carmichael, Kevin Smith and Willie Gibson all missing through injury, the initial thought was certainly of hesitation but they creative trio were barely missed in the end.
The scoreline certainly didn’t flatter the hosts, with Alloa keeper Scott Bain showing throughout why he is one of the most highly-rated stoppers in the country.
The former Aberdeen youth star pulled off a string of superb stops to keep his side in a game that could easily have passed them by, saving golden chances from Nicky Clark, Derek Lyle, Dan Orsi and Chris Mitchell.
Queens sparked into action from the off and it was clear that they gunning for goals from the second referee Brian Colvin’s whistle started the game.
The Doonhamers enjoyed early chances through Orsi and Chris Higgins and ex-Falkirk man Mitchell marked his debut with a goal in the 12th minute, with Alloa boss Paul Hartley left shaking his head at his team’s defending.
Lyle’s cross from the left was headed back across goal by Clark and an unchallenged Mitchell side-footed the ball into to the corner of the net past Bain.
Queens enjoyed the bulk of possession and displayed some fine attacking qualities but lacked that killer touch to put a second past Bain.
Alloa’s Stephen Simmons, who captained relegated Queens last season, was replaced just before the hour mark by striker Kevin Cawley as Hartley looked for an equaliser.
And it eventually came in the 66th minute, with defender Ben Gordon rising above everyone to head home Ryan McCord’s pin-point cross.
But the visitors’ celebrations were short-lived, with Higgins re-establishing the lead two minutes later, who met Mitchell’s corner with a powerful header into the top corner.
Queens had a couple of opportunities to seal it, with Clark and Orsi both squandering chances, and they were made to pay with 12 minutes remaining when Alloa equalised for the second time through ex-Motherwell striker Martin Grehan.
Grehan lost his marker to meet James Doyle’s cross from the right and his finely placed header into the bottom corner left Robinson helpless.
Both goals came from simple crosses into the box, with Alloa’s towering pair allowed space to place their headers into the net.
But the home side sparked into life with seven minutes remaining through in-form striker Clark, who took his season’s tally to three in two games with a brace inside two minutes.
The pacey forward latched onto a loose ball before darting past Ryan Harding and slotting the ball past Bain to put his team ahead.
Moments later Queens burst forward again and Clark, played in by strike-partner Lyle, beat the offside trap and rounded another finish past Bain.
The game was wrapped up but the hosts weren’t done yet and Lyle added a fifth with a close-range finish with just a minute left on the clock.
This rounded off an impressive win for the Doonhamers – which frankly could finished with a far greater scoring margin – but the ease of Alloa’s two goals raised questions.
It continues Queens’ promising start to the season and bodes well for an entertaining season ahead.