The dream is over

ANY faint hopes of winning Division Three have faded for Queen’s Park after a 4-0 defeat to Alloa.

The league leaders swept the Spiders aside through a fine display of clinical finishing at a sunny Recreation Park.

Stranraer’s weekend win moves them second, with Queen’s now in third.

In an evenly contested opening spell, a crowd of 807 witnessed Owen Ronald and Alloa’s Robbie Winters miss early chances.

But on 14 minutes, ex-Dundee United and Aberdeen striker Winters made no mistake in putting the Wasps 1-0 up.

James Doyle’s thumping drive from the corner of the box came off the inside of Neil Parry’s post, and Winters reacted quickest to steer home from eight yards.

Their lead was almost doubled three minutes later when Steven May got on the end of Ryan McCord’s through ball. May, on loan from St Johnstone, rounded Parry but shot off target.

Left-back Ross McKinnon’s heart was in his mouth on 19 minutes when his misplaced back-pass had Wasps’ goalkeeper Scott Bain sprinting to clear off the line.

Ian Watt and James Brough had half-chances for Queen’s before Jamie Longworth forced Bain to tip over a 25-yard effort on 32 minutes.

McCord, at his creative best in Alloa’s midfield, saw his shot stopped by Parry’s foot as half-time approached.

As the second half commenced, a train trundled past on the nearby railway line and the Spiders’ almost got back on track via Michael Daly’s glancing header.

But Paul Hartley’s side soon increased their lead to 2-0.

Good work by Kevin Cawley and May allowed 37-year-old Winters to take a deflected shot that trickled in off the post on 58 minutes.

A Queen’s penalty shout was turned down in the 64th minute.

Peter Bradley’s tasty cross was well controlled by Ronald, who appeared to be caught by Bain, but claims were ignored by referee Don Robertson.

Sustained Queen’s pressure gave Longworth a golden chance to pull one back on 82 minutes, but he fired over from Paul McGinn’s cut-back.

Referee Robertson irked visiting fans further by sending off Brough two minutes later, judging he had elbowed May in an aerial challenge.

May recovered quickly to tap in Craig Campbell’s square pass on 86 minutes, extending Alloa’s lead to 3-0.

Graeme Holmes piled more misery on Queen’s in injury time, a defensive mix-up letting the midfielder to stroke the ball into an empty net for 4-0.

Gardner Speirs said: “We didn’t take the opportunities we made. Alloa did and that’s why they’re 11 points clear.”

Paul Hartley said: “Today was top versus second and we showed how good a team we are.”

Queen’s Park welcome seventh-placed Peterhead to Hampden on Saturday.