Four one going on six one tells the story of this game, the Doonhamers dominated from start to finish and in the end ran out more than worthy winners.
The side lined up with a number of surprises, rested to the bench was last weeks two goal hero Peter Weatherson, Sean O'Connor taking his place whilst the centre of the midfield saw the other changes with Davidson and Connell starting in place of the injured O'Neill and the former Warrior Donald who made it onto the bench.
The game started quietly, for the first eight minutes anyway, until Alan Gray fed a ball back to Paddy Atkinson for the utility man to cross onto the head of Derek Lyle, the red-hot front man sending a looping header over the home 'keeper and the visiting fans into a state of euphoria as the Dumfries faithful celebrated yet another early lead. Unfortunately though it was to be short lived as within a minute a looping cross at the other end was met by Chris Wood for Stenny who had beaten Paddy Atkinson to the ball and sent it around Scott and into the net to level the scores.
Queens though were looking like a side with tons of confidence as they continued to launch attack after attack on the Stenny goal, in fifteen minutes a Sean O'Connor cross trundled across the six yard box without anyone managing to get to it, Des McKeown was the only Stenny defender attempting to clear the ball as Alan Gray eventually got a touch on it to send it past the post.
Derek Lyle was a continual thorn in the flesh of the Warriors and on eighteen minutes he rifled a loose ball from the edge of the box against the bar/post junction, the ball crashed down and bounced out, however Stuart Davidson was first to react and the midfielder was happy to head home his second goal of the season into the same net and almost in the same manner that he had scored his first of the season back in November.
Stenhousemuir were playing more like an away side and trying to catch Queens on the break, the defence were having none of it though and Jim Thomson certainly got the better of Ian Ferguson in this meeting.
Derek Lyle was the main man today and on twenty two minutes got himself to the byeline but possibly held on just a moment too long before attempting a cut-back to the unmarked Davidson and Gray in the home box, the on-loan strikers effort being cut-out just in time.
Queens almost were caught out on the half-hour mark as Jim Thomson attempted top play a passing game at the back with Colin Scott, the pair yet again caused a problem as the ball was lost to Stenny with JT well out of position and Colin Scott back pedaling, fortunately though the eventual cross was poor from the Stenny front men and the re-composed Queens defence cleared their lines.
Des McKeown was playing a central defensive role today and managed to rescue the homesters on a number of occasions as Queens were threatening to overrun Stenny. Lyle and O'Connor were combining very well as was Lyle with Gray and O'Connor with McAlpine, indeed Queens looked as though they could score almost every time that they pushed forward.
The third goal came just before the break as Joe McAlpine made an excellent run forward and pushed all the way to the byeline before chipping the ball to the far post where Derek Lyle was waiting to head the ball into the back of the net to make it three goals to one.
The half time whistle went with O'Connor receiving some treatment for a slight knock, however the big front man was not to re-appear as his knock was a slight tightening of the hamstring and the manager felt it better to not to risk another injury, especially when three goals to one up. Peter Weatherson joined the fray for the second half.
Worries about whether the change would unsettle the side were unfounded as after fifty three minutes a long ball from Colin Scott found Peter Weatherson running in on goal and despite the very close attention of Des McKeown, Nellie lobbed the 'keeper with great skill and the game was won with the score now four goals to one.
Some of the football from Queens from this point on was exceptional, almost every Stenny ball was met by a Doonhamer and almost every loose ball was won by a Queens man, Derek Lyle was showing some exceptional skill as he continued to torment his ex-team mate at Partick Des McKeown. Efforts from Lyle, McAlpine and Weatherson were all blocked or cleared before Stenny had their second best chance of the game, fortunately though Colin Scott had remained alert when a home side corner was headed goalward, the Queens No. 1 dived across his goal and smothered the ball on the line to maintain the advantage.
Gordon Connolly was introduced after seventy five minutes as a direct replacement for Alan Gray.
Stenhousemuir though were still capable of creating a chance on the break and their trialist number 15 looked particularly useful as he collected a ball on the edge of the box, made space for himself and curled a shot that would end up going just past the upright.
In the last few minutes Derek Lyle almost completed his hat-trick with a stunning drive from the edge of the box that Andy Carlin in the Stenny goal did well to beat away. Queens then made their last substitution bringing on Barry Donald in place of Joe McAlpine and on the restart the referee blew for full-time.
Queens looked the part today, not at any point did they look like losing and with the defeat of Clydebank have now an eight point lead over the Bankies and a five point lead over second place Alloa, it's all to play for in the final six matches of the season.
Queens press in the first half
Midfield action as Ferguson loses out
Second half goal mouth action
Queens go close again
Thanks to David Gow for the behind the goals photos