Aug 17 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Friday
Greenock Morton 1 Queen of the South 2 (aet)
QUEENS came from behind to seal a spot in the quarters of the Ramsdens Cup at Morton.
Nicky Clark’s extra-time goal proved decisive for the battling Doonhamers in an impressive turnaround.
This maintains Queens’ 100 per cent winning start to the season, having already beat Dumbarton, Alloa Athletic and Forfar Athletic.
And player-manager Allan Johnston admits he may struggle to get a spot on the pitch if his team continue their impressive form.
He said: “It was a real team effort. I thought we passed the ball well. We closed them down really well so I can’t ask much more than that.
“I think Morton will be one of the favourites for the first division. They’ve got a lot of top players but the boys more than matched them. For spells you wouldn’t have known we were in the second division.
“It was good to get a game. I’m still involved and registered as a player but if the players are producing then I’ll struggle to get in the team.”
The Palmerston men have a good record at Cappielow, having only lost one of the last 16 times in Greenock.
Queens were without a few first-team stars, with Willie Gibson, Kevin Smith and Derek Young all missing out, meaning boss Allan Johnston lined up in midfielder.
The odds were stacked against Johnston’s team but the visitors enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening period and created a few chances.
But first division Morton took the lead after 38 minutes, arguably against the run of play. Striker Michael Tidser latched on to Stephen Stirling’s pass outside the box and rifled a powerful shot past Lee Robinson from 20 yards.
Queens responded well and defender Mark Durnan levelled in the 66th minute, diverting Chris Mitchell’s pass into the net past Morton keeper Derek Gaston.
Both sides made substitutions as the second half ticked on in a bid to force a winner, with former Doonhamer Craig Reid coming off for Morton and Derek Lyle replacing Gavin Reilly.
The hosts were awarded a penalty with five minutes left when Stephen McKenna was adjudged to have handled inside the box. But ex-Queens man Peter Weatherson had his spot-kick saved by Robinson and the Palmerston number one even diverted the rebound over the bar.
Neither side could force a second and the game went to extra-time – but it was the second division Doonhamers who made the breakthrough.
Johnston added: “Our work rate set the tone for the whole match.
“Any time they had the ball, there was one of our players not far away, trying to win the ball back high up the pitch and trying to create chances.
“The 100 per cent record is down to the boys – not down to me.”
Johnston also reserved a special mention for goal-scoring defender Durnan and keeper Robinson after his penalty heroics. He said: “Mark Durnan is a rock – Peter Weatherston always causes us problems, but Durnan handled his presence. Not many players can do this because he’s a quality player.
“As for Lee, he is a top-class goalkeeper and I’m delighted he signed up for this season. You have no idea how much work I put in trying to get him to sign.”
Queens: Robinson, McGuffie, Holt, Durnan, Higgins, Mitchell, Carmichael, McKenna, Reilly (Lyle 67), Clark (Hopkirk 118), Johnston (Orsi 110). Subs not used: Black, Atkinson.
Referee: George Salmond.
Star man: Lee Robinson.