Dec 20 2012 By Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Wednesday
Queen of the South edged out in-form Brechin City on Saturday to extend their advantage at the top of the second division back to nine points.
The Doonhamers lead was pegged back to six points after their first league defeat in midweek but, with second-placed Alloa Athletic losing at Stranraer, Danny Carmichaels first-half goal re-established the healthy gap.
Palmerston boss Allan Johnston was delighted with his teams response after losing their unbeaten record at Recreation Park.
Johnston said: We had to win today after the disappointment of Tuesday night.
Brechin kept us going until the very end but credit to the boys for getting the result.
The players could maybe have felt a bit of pressure after the Alloa game but I thought they were brilliant.
Brechin have a lot of dangerous players and caused us a few problems late on but I felt we deserved the win.
Carmichael, on scoring his first of the season, added: Its great personally to get off the mark as I was getting a bit of stick for not scoring this season.
The Hedgemen travelled to Dumfries having won four of their last five games, but couldnt recreate the kind of form that has catapulted them up to third place in the league under new boss Ray McKinnon.
The Dumfries men weathered some early pressure from Brechin, with livewire forward Kurtis Byrne having an effort cleared off the line in the third minute.
Willie Gibson almost had a contender for goal of the season in 15 minutes when he flicked the ball up and fired a looping volley towards the far corner from 22 yards but Brechin keeper Michael Andrews got down well to parry his effort wide.
Moments later ex-Kilmarnock midfielder Gibson delivered a perfect cross-field pass from just outside his own box into the path of breaking teammate Carmichael but again Andrews saved well to deny the Doonhamers the lead.
But Andrews could do nothing to stop Carmichael sweeping home the opener in 21 minutes, the tricky midfielder losing defender Graham Hay before converting Nicky Clarks pass into the bottom corner from eight yards.
Clark thought he had doubled Queens lead in 73 minutes after Gibsons shot was parried into his path but the 17-goal hitmans header was ruled out for offside.
Alan Trouten had a golden chance to level the scores with nine minutes remaining with a near post header before Carmichael almost sealed with a fine curling effort from distance which had keeper Andrews beaten.
Brechin squandered another opportunity to equalise late on, this time Trouten teeing up substitute Scott Dalziel who fired a free shot over the bar from eight yards.
Glebe Park gaffer McKinnon said: I think we deserved something from that game - Im really disappointed not to take at least a point.
Queen of the South are top of the league for a reason and we can take huge positives out that game.
Queen of the South: Robinson 5, Mitchell 7, McGuffie 6, Durnan 6, Higgins 6, Young 7, Lyle 5 (Reilly 78), S McKenna 6 (Holt 82), Gibson 6, Clark 6, Carmichael 7. Subs not used: Atkinson (GK), Black, Smith.
Goals: Carmichael 21.
Booked: Gibson 55, Young 70, Higgins 72.
Brechin City: Andrews 6, McLauchlan 6, McLean 5, Hay 5, Moyes 5, Fusco 6, Trouten 5, Molloy 4 (D McKenna 46), Jackson 5, Byrne 6 (Dalziel 75), Stewart 5 (Carcary 65). Subs not used: Nelson (GK), Lowdon.
Booked: Molloy 30, McLauchlan 87.