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QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 1 : 1 AYR UNITED 1st January 2003
Rating: 6.06
Rating: 5.83
Rating: 6.60
Rating: 5.30
Rating: 6.06
Rating: 7.81
Rating: 6.70
Rating: 5.70
Rating: 6.55
Rating: 4.96
Rating: 4.64
S1 - 29
Rating: 6.57
S2 - 58
Rating: 6.64
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Following an equally matched first half Queens went on to dominate the second and made enough chances along the way to win a couple of games, in the end a combination of poor luck and poor finishing meant that the points were shared with Campbell Money undoubtedly the happier manager.

Queens line-up saw a major change today as the 4-4-2 system was reinstated following the departure of Robbie Neilson back to Hearts, Steve Bowey was passed fit and took his central midfield role along side Brian McColligan with Brian McLaughlin on the left wing and Peter Weatherson on the right. There was no place for John Crawford in the four man defence but Alan Gray started today at right back and Derek Anderson at left. The front-line was occupied by Paul Shields and Derek Lyle.

Ayr started very positively and played a neat brand of attacking football that had Queens on the back foot for the first twenty minutes of the match. Indeed it was only a superb block by Andy Goram followed by the intervention of the woodwork that saved Queens from going behind in only the fourth minute as first Stewart Kean and then Paul Sheerin shot goalward.

'The Goalie' had to look lively again only a few minutes later as he had to tip an effort over the bar for a corner, the resultant dead-ball was cleared at the second attempt by the packed Queens defence.

Whilst Ayr were definitely on top they were being restricted to long range efforts that didn't really threaten the home goal. Queens meanwhile had precious few chances in the first half the first real effort coming in fifteen minutes as Brian McLaughlin hit the bye-line and crossed for Paul Shields to flick on, his effort though was straight at Craig Nelson in the Ayr goal.

JT Heads Clear

In twenty nine minutes Queens suffered some more of the bad luck that has blighted this season as Derek Lyle went down heavily in a challenge and appeared to take quite a bad knock to the head, it was bad enough that he was immediately substituted with Eric Paton coming on into a right midfield role and Peter Weatherson being promoted to the front-line.

The move, whilst enforced, certainly appeared to help Queens cause as the side took on a more attacking look to it, almost immediately an Eric Paton flick over the defence gave Paul Shields an opportunity but the on-loan Celt could only blast high and wide. Again Paton was the provider as Steve Bowey was set up on the edge of the box, his drive cannoned off a defender though and out for a throw in.


The second half started with Ayr dominating for the first five minutes, a Willie Lyle angled drive from the right hand side being blocked by Goram and only gathered at the second attempt.

Queens though were in determined mood and seconds after this early scare a Peter Weatherson driven cross from the right was just whipped off Steve Bowey's toes a fraction of a second before the midfielder could make contact. Queens really lifted the pace at this point and made numerous chances. A Brian McLaughlin corner was met by Eric Paton and his effort was blocked on the line and pushed away by the visiting defence, then McLaughlin himself had an effort as he almost reached a loose ball in the box to put it past Nelson. Eric Paton then made space for himself as the Ayr defence opened up but this time the midfielders shot was just too close to the 'keeper to cause Nelson any trouble.

Ayr were not totally out of the match but again their efforts were more long range and Marc Smith sent a looping shot over the bar after 57 minutes. Seconds later Paul Shields made way for John O'Neill and Jonjo made for the same berth as Shields had exited as the midfielder became a striker for the last thirty minutes.

This substitution again had an immediate impact as within a few minutes Peter Weatherson latched onto a deep ball to the far side of the box, Nellie carried it wider and ended up facing away from goal with a defender at his back, a quick turn put him face to face with Campbell and a neat flick of the ball got him around the player and into the box, Peter then headed away from goal to give himself an angle before driving the ball past the helpless Nelson and into the net for a superb goal.

A minute later and the game could have been wrapped up as Queens continued to harry their opponents, the ball was fed by John O'Neill to Steve Bowey and as Bowser rode one challenge he found the ball running away as he prodded it goalward, Nelson reacted quickly and managed to get a hand onto the ball.

The lead though was only to last four minutes as Ayr equalised through Stewart Kean following a goal mouth scramble and a deflected effort that Kean was able to get his head to.

Queens heads did not go down however and they were soon back at the other end, a corner from Brian McLaughlin was met by Jim Thomson, his knock down was inches away from Eric Paton as the midfielder swung round to meet the ball. Five minutes later and Queens produced a superb move as McColligan and Weatherson combined to send McLaughlin down the wing, the cross was perfect for Steve Bowey and his contact looked perfect for a glancing header, the ball though shaved the back post and the Ayr goal escaped unscathed.

Two minutes later and another superb opportunity as John O'Neill broke through the defence, his effort was blocked by the 'keeper but only as far as Bowser, however his effort went wide of the post again. Another defence splitting move between Eric Paton, Peter Weatherson and Steve Bowey ended with Peter Weatherson toe-poking an effort in Nelsons arms when a square ball would have found two free Queens players.

One of many Queens attacks

The last ten minutes of the match saw Queens continue their dominance and efforts from Eric Paton that flew over the bar from a distance, John O'Neill again making way through the middle but shooting just past the post, Steve Bowey beating the keeper to a Brian McLaughlin cross but also beating the post and finally a John O'Neill run and shot that brought out the best in Craig Nelson.

All in all it will be considered as two points dropped, however Queens can take heart from the second half performance when a much more positive approach had the opponents on the back foot for the majority of the half.

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