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QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 2 : 1 FALKIRK 1st March 2003
Rating: 7.99
Rating: 7.34
Rating: 8.03
Rating: 7.27
Rating: 7.41
Rating: 6.79
Rating: 8.38
Rating: 7.38
Rating: 6.97
Rating: 7.62
S1 1
Rating: 7.18
S1 - 79
Rating: 6.77
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With an identical line-up to Tuesday evening save for the swapping of Alan Gray on the bench with the fit-again Brian McLaughlin Queens must have gone into todays match with league leaders Falkirk with a certain amount of trepidation, an early season draw at Palmerston followed by two heavy away defeats against the side that is widely acknowledged as the best in the Scottish Football League was not the ideal preparation for the match.

And the first twenty-five minutes showed why Falkirk are so highly regarded as they pushed the ball about with confidence and demonstrated, mainly through Collin Samuel, that they are a side that posses plenty of speed and skill.

Queens had their early moments too, a neat John O'Neill cross that eluded both Bowey and McAlpine, a smartly taken free-kick that Bowser attempted to play round a man as he ran the other side, he made it there just as the defender did and the ball was cleared.

Coyle and Samuel were causing Queens problems as the back four were stretched and finding it difficult to come to terms with the Trinidad and Tobago internationalist as he enjoyed a free role across the Falkirk front-line. It was a combination of Coyle and Samuel that gave Queens their first shaky defensive moment as the two of them managed to swap passes through the centre of the home defence, to the rescue came Joe McAlpine with a thumping no-nonsense clearance.

Scott saves well early on

Colin Scott had to look sharp on fifteen minutes as a long range effort had him diving full length to push away, however a couple of minutes later and he had no say in the matter as the post saved Queens from falling behind. Samuel collected the ball on the right and with a burst of speed left Derek Anderson trailing, he cut inside and shaped a thunderous effort goal-ward that had Scott beaten but which rebounded off the base of the post and out to safety. Falkirk were pressing hard and had a penalty claim turned down moments later as Derek Anderson appeared to hold down Lee Miller as the young Falkirk striker tried to climb for the cross.

On the half hour mark came an important moment in the match, the previously untouchable Samuel won the ball from Andy Aitken and sped off toward the Queens half, Aitken though wasn't for being beaten and matched the highly rated striker for pace whilst also managing to take the ball off him, Samuel didn't seem to be quite as effective after that and the resulting ball found its way to Peter Weatherson on the edge of the box but his shot was deflected wide for a corner.

Queens upped their tempo and created a few more chances on the run in to the end of the half, John O'Neill was unlucky not to connect with a through ball whilst Steve Bowey did well to feed Peter Weatherson who couldn't quite get his effort on target.


The second half began with Falkirk looking hungry to secure the lead that their first half performance had perhaps merited and only five minutes into the half player manager Owen Coyle missed what would have been one of the easier chances of his long career as he side footed a cross ball against the junction of the bar and post, a major let-off for Queens without doubt.

Just as Queens were coming back into the match the referee awarded a free kick some twenty five yards out for what appeared to be a good tackle by Brian McColligan on a Bairn. With much debate on the terraces about who would take it up stepped Lee Miller to curl the ball around the wall and into the net out of Scott's reach with a very well taken effort.

Millers free kick beats Scott

As the half wore on the expected dominance of Falkirk did not materialise as Queens demonstrated that being the best footballing side is not necessarily a guarantee of victory with a battling performance that had the visitors often on the back foot.

In another Queens attack Steve Bowey broke free down the right hand side and was heading into the box when a clumsy tackle saw him brought down and lying flattened in the corner of the penalty area. The referee had no doubt as he pointed straight to the spot. Up stepped John O'Neill and as usual he hammered home the ball to square the score at 1-1.

Falkirk pressed forward following the equaliser in search of a quick goal to restore their lead, thirty minute into the half and Colin Scott made another top quality stop as he pushed a David Nicholls long range effort over the bar, then from the resulting corner Joe McAlpine headed clear on the line.

On seventy nine minutes John Connolly made his only change of the afternoon as he, surprisingly to many people, brought on Brian McLaughlin for John O'Neill, as with most of his decisions though it was to pay dividends later.

Derek Lyle then received a yellow card from the referee for what appeared to be receiving a head butt from Nicholls, the Falkirk player having the temerity to hold his head after dishing out the nod. However Falkirk were awarded the free kick for Lyles original challenge and thanks to a world class save by Colin Scott the ball was kept out of the net, however Scott could only push the ball up and to the side where Collin Samuel was waiting to strike it back into the goal, this time Steve Bowey was in close enough attention to block the ball and concede the corner.

Steve Bowey broke with the ball from the corner and sped past Mark Kerr, the highly rated Bairns midfielder could do nothing legal to stop Bowser so hauled him to the floor, a yellow card was his reward.

With four minutes to go Peter Weatherson appeared to waste what you would have thought was our last real chance to snatch a victory as he blasted high and wide when faced with only 'keeper Ferguson to beat, however Peter is a class striker and his miss with four minutes to go did not affect his finishing with only two minutes to go as he stole around John Hughes and converted superbly a cross ball from Brian McLaughlin coming in from the right.

Queens then had a nervous end to the match as Falkirk went in desperate search of an equaliser, however the home defence was in outstanding form and mopped up everything that the league leaders could throw at them in those last few minutes.

Top class defending today

So Queens who have for so many weeks been turning victories into draws and draws into defeats managed to turn a defeat into a victory today with a battling performance and some really good football thrown in. Falkirk are certainly the best footballing side to have been at Palmerston this season and should be worthy champions, however today they were taught a lesson by Queens that total commitment and effort for ninety minutes can have its rewards too.

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