There have been some classic midweek cup ties played at Palmerston, unfortunately this wasn't one of them. A solid workmanlike performance was the order of the evening as Queens went about securing their place in the semi-finals of the competition with a no-frills victory over second division new boys Dumbarton, the Sons though for their part put in a determined display and with a bit more luck in front of goal, particularly in the second half, could have caused Queens some problems.
It was a definite 3-5-2 formation tonight with the usual midweek team line changes, Scott for Goram, Crawford for Allan, McColligan for Bowey and O'Neill all starting. New loan signing from Celtic, Paul Shields was on the bench.
The game opened very quietly with neither side looking dangerous, it actually took until the ninth minute before either side had a decent effort on goal and when it came it was for the Sons with Tom Brown firing in a free kick from just outside the box that Colin Scott had to touch onto the bar and over for a corner. The best effort for Queens in the opening period was a header that flew wide of the post from Andy Aitken following a corner on the right. Although the second best chance came a minute later as Peter Weatherson headed just over the bar from a tight angle.
The match had the air of a friendly about it though and chances were few and far between, Derek Lyle was next to liven proceedings up a bit as firstly he connected with a Joe McAlpine cross, unfortunately his contact was just too slight and the 'keeper had little difficulty in collecting his effort and then moments later the ball was almost cleared out of the Sons defence as Lyle managed to nip in and test the 'keeper slightly more severely with a stabbing effort toward goals.
Finally the deadlock was broken in the twenty fifth minute as a nice triangular movement between Lyle, Weatherson and then O'Neill created an opening on the edge of the box, last seasons top scorer made no mistake with his effort as he sent it round Grindlay and into the back of the net.
The match then slowed down again for the next fifteen minutes until Derek Anderson gave away a free kick on the edge of the box with an obstruction, he did however redeem himself as he headed the resultant free-kick off the line and away to safety.
Anderson clears off the line
The final action of the half was a neat turn on the side line by Nellie before stepping around his marker and laying the ball off to John O'Neill, Jonjo raced down the wing and sent a superb ball across the goal that Derek Lyle just couldn't get on the end of.
HALF TIME 1 - 0
The second half started with a deal more urgency and within the first couple of minutes Derek Lyle had broken clear of his marker and headed goalwards, his effort though cleared the 'keeper and the crossbar. Five minutes later and John O'Neill looked to have increased the lead as his swivel and shot from the edge of the box looked net bound, unfortunately though his effort too was to end up past the post.
Queens then sat back seemingly content with their lead and allowed Dumbarton to come at them, with a strike force of Flannery and Brown, both who had interested Queens last term, it was no surprise that they made a few good chances that Colin Scott was forced to make decent saves from. First up was Flannery as he turned Derek Anderson on the edge of the box and cut to his left, his effort though was wide but Scott may have been troubled if it had been on target. Moments later and with the pressure still applied the Sons won a corner, the resulting melee in the box left Peter Weatherson injured but after half a dozen headers the goal was still intact.
John Connolly then decided to make a couple of changes with firstly Steve Bowey entering the fray to shore up the midfield area, Brian McColligan going off, then four minutes later new loan signing Paul Shields came on with Peter Weatherson making way for the Celtic youngster. Five minutes later and the final substitute was used as Brian McLaughlin came on to the park and Joe McAlpine left.
Unfortunately the changes did little to alter the pattern of the match and Dumbarton continued to make but not take chances. McEwan and Brown both having good chances that they failed to convert. Then with almost the final kick of the ball Queens doubled the lead, Derek Lyle chased down along ball, his pace beat his defender and the striker rounded on goal, his first effort was directly at the 'keeper but the keeper could not hold the ball and the rebound fell kindly for Lyle, although the opening still had to be made but Lyle showing great composure cut the ball back across th keeper wrong footing him and burying the ball in the back of the net for number two and his first of the season.
The victory was secured and the final whistle blown, Queens progressing to the semi-final of the Bell's Cup where we will face one of Queen's Park, Brechin City or St.Mirren for a place in the final.