Aug 29 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Wednesday
Lyle seals it for Queens as Albion almost nick a point
COME May next year, will anyone even remember the performance?
It was gritty and at times uninspiring but a win’s a win, as they say.
And that was the general message coming from inside Palmerston after Saturday’s victory over Albion Rovers – and it’s hard to argue with.
The Doonhamers, without Allan Johnston and Kevin Smith, certainly were not firing on all cylinders against Todd Lumsden’s basement boys.
In fact, it has probably been the poorest performance of the season so far.
But come 4.45pm when referee Craig Charleston sounded the full-time while, it was another three points on the table for Queens.
Johnston’s side is still unbeaten and hasn’t even conceded a solitary goal in the league yet.
It all started so well in Dumfries on Saturday when Derek Lyle put his team ahead on 21 minutes.
From back to front, Queens strolled through the entire Albion team with ease before Lyle swept Nicky Clark’s pin point cross from the right past Chris McCluskey.
The hosts’ dominance continued and it looked a matter of time before McCluskey would pick the ball from the net again.
Clark went close with a header before Danny Carmichael tested the Albion number one with a right-footed effort.
And on the stroke of half-time it seemed that a tough afternoon for the Coatbridge men was about to get tougher when Jamie Gilmartin was given his marching orders.
Gilmartin launched into an awful two-footed challenge which left Ryan McGuffie on the deck in agony and referee Charleston with little option but to show a red card.
The Albion striker barely had a complaint while McGuffie had to replaced by returning star Willie Gibson just after the break.
And nine minutes into the second half Rovers had a golden chance to hit an unlikely equaliser from the spot after some slack passing across the Queens midfield led to Mark Durnan bundling over Kieran Brannan inside the box.
Jason Crooks stepped up but his weak penalty was pushed round the post by Palmerston number one Lee Robinson, much to the relief of the Dumfries faithful.
Albion, still searching for their first goal of the season, offered little threat after this in what a supremely dull second half.
Both sides were guilty of a succession of misplaced passes and numerous offside calls as Queens chased a second.
Substitute Gavin Reilly and Clark both had decent opportunities but Rovers keeper McCluskey kept them at bay.
It wasn’t pretty but the Doonhamers got there in the end, moving up to joint top on goal difference with this weekend’s opponents Arbroath.
Albion offered little yet ultimately almost left with a point and this will act as a boost to the Litchies ahead of their Dumfries jaunt this weekend.