Saints 3-0 Queen of the South

Last updated : 10 December 2013 By Stuart Gillespie

The scoreline suggests it was a fairly convincing victory and, judging by the commentary, it was. We were the better side in the first half but could only make one chance count and had to cope with a bit of an onslaught after the break. However, once we got a second it was pretty much game over, a late goal adding some gloss to the scoreline.

The worrying team news was Paul McGowan was missing through injury, some suggestions he could be out for as many as 10 weeks - although the player himself denied that at half-time. However long he's out for it's a huge blow, but Gary Harkins took his place for tonight. We also saw changes in the fullback areas, David van Zanten and Danny Grainger recalled at the expense of youngsters Jason Naismith and Sean Kelly.

We were easily the better side in the first half, Kenny McLean forcing a good save from Zander Clark before we went in front - Steven Thompson knocking down McLean's cross and Harkins scoring at the second attempt. Thankfully, we weren't prepared to sit on our lead - Thompson having a stunning effort ruled out for a foul before Harkins put an effort just wide after a great run.

Clark was tested again from John McGinn's header before Queens almost drew level, Marian Kello making a wee mistake at a cross and the ball falling for Derek Lyle who put it just over. Iain Russell did similar at the start of the second half as the Doonhamers upped things in a bid to find an equaliser, Kello turning behind a Mark Durnan header before Russell's shot was deflected off of Goodwin and clipped the top of the bar, Stephen McKenna heading the corner wide.

A rare foray forward saw Clark save from Conor Newton before Marc McAusland went close to scoring against his old club. The defender played a big part in our second, taking a pass from Thompson before returning it - either with a pass or a shot - to the striker who popped it away. That came on the break and, with Queens pushing, we nearly grabbed another on the counter when McGinn and Harkins exchanged passes before the youngster's shot was saved by Clark.

Of course, this is Saints and you can't take anything for granted, a mistake letting Lyle in but his shot was deflected behind. However, sub Sean Kelly - on for McGinn - ensured there wouldn't be any late drama when he scored his first senior goal in emphatic style after a good pass from Newton. That allowed fellow youngster Anton Brady to get a rare run out when he replaced Harkins, Thomas Reilly having earlier come on for Thompson.

Job done and finally we've beaten Queens. Phew!

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