Queen of the South today won their first national knock-out competition as they lifted the Bell's Cup in front of over 6400 fans. The victory over Brechin City was well deserved as the Angus side failed to make an impression on the Doonhamers goal and Andy Goram was rarely troubled.
The line-up today was the same as has been fielded for the past two matches with the exception that Brian McColligan started in midfield with Peter Weatherson lining up with Derek Lyle up-front, the man to lose out was Paul Shields. On the bench there were two returnee's from injury as both Paddy Atkinson and Sean O'Connor sat alongside Brian McLaughlin, Eric Paton and Colin Scott.
Queens made a bright start, however it was Brechin who managed the first serious threat on goal as Grant latched onto a long ball and shot from the edge of the box, fortunately though there was not enough power in it to trouble Goram.
Lyle Rises High
There was some sharp tackles going in in the middle of the park, but Robbie Neilson was looking particularly impressive down the left and a cross by him beat the 'keeper but also John O'Neill's toe as the midfielder came rushing in at the far post.
Brechin though were looking dangerous as they broke forward and as Queens defence struggled to get back it took a last gasp Robbie Neilson challenge to unsettle the Brechin forward enough to make him shoot wide.
Nellie Comes Close
The deadlock was broken however in the thirty third minute as Neilson took a short throw to Derek Lyle, the front-man took the ball to the bye-line and crossed hard and low into the box, the ball was knocked goalward a couple of times by different Queens players before eventually falling to John O'Neill who managed to get enough power on it to push it across the goal line before a Brechin defender could clear. The well positioned linesman had no doubt that the ball had crossed the line and the goal stood.
Celebration - part 1
Queens took heart from this and upped the pace with the Brechin 'keeper making a good save from a Derek Lyle header that had come from a chipped cross by Joe McAlpine, then on the stroke of half-time Peter Weatherson missed a great chance to double the advantage as the last defender, under pressure from Nellie, and the 'keeper managed to leave the ball to each other allowing Nellie to step past them, his effort though somehow managed to screw past the post.
HALF TIME 1-0
Queens had obviously been geed up by the half-time team talk and came out with all guns blazing, the result was that within two minutes of the restart it was 2-0. Joe McAlpine and Peter Weatherson both chased the same ball into the corner, Joe arrived first and hammered a cross into the six yard box, the ball bounced once and Derek Lyle was on hand to nod the ball as it rose from the bounce into the net past the stranded 'keeper.
Celebration - part 2
Brechin then threw caution to the wind and played a much more attacking style of football without ever threatening the Queens goal seriously. Whilst McAlpine, Weatherson and Lyle enjoyed the freedom of an under manned defence to make some good chances.
On seventy five minutes the Doonhamers fans gave one of the biggest cheers of the afternoon as Sean O'Connor made his return from injury in the very competition that had seen him hurt quite badly a couple of months earlier. The big man could also have put his name on the score sheet as he had a couple of chances in those last few minutes and went very close with a header that just went the wrong side of the goalpost.
All in all it was a competent performance and a game in which we never really looked like losing, hopefully our cup success will now be reflected into our league campaign, but for the moment it is congratulations to Queens and in particular our most successful manager of all time - John Connolly.