Queen of the South ultimately cruised into the second-round of the League Cup, but, for almost an hour, the first-ever competitive derby between these two Dumfriesshire sides was threatening to produce an upset.
Annan more than held their own for more than half of the game, and it was only when Peter Watson was sent off for a second bookable offence, with the game goalless, that their Championship hosts were able to seize control. Derek Lyle, pictured, would prove to be Annan’s tormentor in chief, with the striker bagging a hat-trick in the space of ten minutes midway through the second half.
The hosts started well, and Alex Mitchell had to tip former Annan youth player Iain Russell’s low effort from the edge of the box behind for a corner after four minutes. At the other end, visiting midfielder Steven Sloan tested Callum Antell with a low 20-yard strike. The Dumfries side should have gone ahead in 13 minutes but Ryan McGuffie, another who came through the ranks 16 miles east at Galabank, headed over from eight yards out after being picked out by Chris Mitchell’s cross.
Annan almost took the lead in 20 minutes after some slack Queens defending, but centre-back Andy Dowie did just enough to stop Ally Love knocking in Iain Chisholm’s low cross. The League Two side went close again when captain Steven Swinglehurst forced a save out of Antell with a header from Love’s corner.
McGuffie then spurned another opportunity when he nodded Mitchell’s delivery wide after 38 minutes. The visitors thought they had gone ahead just second after the restart but Antell did brilliantly to scramble the ball out after Iain Chisholm had ghosted in at the back post to connect with Love’s delivery.
Annan were dealt a huge blow as Watson was given a second yellow on 59 minutes. Within seconds, Queens took advantage as Lyle glanced home a header from Stephen McKenna’s cross from the right. The same player put the outcome beyond doubt in 67 minutes when he tapped into an empty net after Mitchell could only parry Michael Paton’s strike. And two minutes later Lyle completed his hat-trick, powering home a header from Kevin Holt’s free-kick.