Match Summary | QotS Reserves (H)
Kilmarnock extended their unbeaten run in the cinch SPFL Reserve League following a solid 2-0 win against Queen of the South at The BBSP Stadium, Rugby Park on Tuesday 21st March 2023.
The hosts fielded a strong starting XI featuring the likes of Ryan Alebiosu and Fraser Murray who got valuable minutes under their belts going into the international break.
It was the two aforementioned young wide players that started in wing-back positions, with Jack Sanders and Chris Stokes at the heart of defence. A trialist positioned himself in the midfield holding role, allowing Kerr McInroy, Brad Lyons and Blair Alston to push on and support Steven Warnock and Scott Robinson who looked a threat in attack from the very first whistle.
It took no more than a minute after that first whistle for Killie to open the scoring.
An ambitious 25-yard strike from Kerr McInroy was rifled towards the bottom corner, forcing Charlie Cowie in the Queens goal to make the first of numerous impressive saves as he tipped the shot around the post. The resulting corner was picked up by Killie’s captain, Steven Warnock, who drove a low cross back into the six-yard box towards Scott Robinson who turned the ball home from close range.
High on confidence following a perfect start, Killie continued to push numbers forward. It was their desire to kill the game early on which inadvertently gave the visitors a sniff at an equaliser. A lofted through ball instigated a rapid counter-attack as Queens broke through the back line and saw a shot stopped by Zach Hemming in front of the Moffat Stand goal, which capped off a fast and furious first five minutes.
It was much of the same for the next quarter of an hour. The ever-energetic Ryan Alebiosu was next to hit the target as he carried the ball forward into a shooting position after cutting inside from the right-wing. Moments later, excellent vision and an arrowed pass from Scott Robinson unleashed Steven Warnock who burst over the halfway line on the opposite touchline, before skipping past a defender and forcing another fine save from point blank range.
Killie continued to put pressure on the Queens No.1 and almost capitalised when he failed to deal with a high ball orbited towards the middle of his penalty area, which was parried towards Blair Alston who directed a volley narrowly over the bar from around 8 yards out.
Fraser Murray continually made himself available in possession, and proved too hot to handle when he was upended on the edge of the box with just under half an hour played. It was the winger who inevitably stepped up to hit the free-kick he had earned; his strike agonisingly pulled wide of the post and nestled in the side netting.
The visitors began to get a foothold on possession in the latter stages of the first period, but it was Killie who continued to create chances and cause a prominent threat from crosses into the box.
The Doonhamers were fastest out of the traps after the restart and missed a glorious opportunity to equalize when a free-header from 12 yards out found its way into the welcoming arms of Zach Hemming.
Paul Sheerin called on the bench to re-energize the team and Kian Leslie got a nod to join the action with just over half an hour to play. The electric winger instantly added a spark to the attack as he fed a quick cutback into the feet of Kerr McInroy whose shot was halted by Charlie Cowie despite taking a slight deflection.
It was Kerr McInroy who would turn provider a couple of minutes later when Brad Lyons was first to meet his in-swinging corner with a glancing header which found the net and doubled Killie’s lead.
Kerr McInroy continued to pull the strings and almost bagged himself a second assist through a diagonal ball which flew into the path of Fraser Murray who struggled to fully connect a first-time volley from just inside the box.
A quiet end to the match was a stark contrast to the opening stage, but there was still time for Kilmarnock to earn their clean sheet. A fine piece of defending from Jack Sanders saw him read the movement of the Queens attacker before executing a perfectly timed slide-tackle to deny a clear shooting opportunity with a couple of minutes left to play.
Kilmarnock starting XI: Hemming, Alebiosu, Sanders, Stokes, *Trialist (Leslie 57’), Murray (Quigg 87’), Alston (Singh 87’), Lyons (Craik 87’), McInroy, Warnock (Craig 45’), Robinson
You can watch the match highlights – HERE