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STRANRAER 1 : 0 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 2nd January 2006
Rating: 6.15
Rating: 5.41
Rating: 3.47
Rating: 6.00
Rating: 5.38
Rating: 6.79
Rating: 4.53
Rating: 4.91
Rating: 4.19
Rating: 4.70
Rating: 6.32
S1 - 73
Rating: 4.82
S2 - 73
Rating: 5.06
Members of the Internet Fan Club can award players marks out of ten for their performance today. The player with the most points awarded in the two days following a match will be the IFC Man of the Match. All of the points will then be added to a running total for each player and the results published in the mom League Table.

Name or IFC No.
The manager called it a "Must Win", I think we all saw it as such, but not only did we not win, we lost, and it's surely a forlorn hope that we might now catch Stranraer in the race to avoid the play-offs. An effective 13 points is a very big "ask" over 15 games with only the one head to head meeting to come. In fact the focus must now simply be to remain above Brechin and at least get a chance in those play-offs.

Ian McCall had a full squad to choose from though there were no new players on view. He opted to go with a 3-5-2 line up with Gary Wood restored up front as partner to Derek Lyle and Tommy English the man dropping to the bench. Stranraer were along expected lines with Steven Swift not making it due to injury.The home side had Queens under immediate pressure at the start with Barnard only just clawing away a deep left sided cross under pressure from Moore. Queens were not long in making their own presence felt though and after six minutes Paton's quick throw released John O'Neill to lift a cross into the back post area where Gary Wood nodded a header goalward which didn't really have enough power to trouble Corr although he did fumble it and Lyle almost latched onto it.

Reid beats Moore
It would be fair to say though that the game wasn't exactly action packed and the next chance of any note arrived in the 40th minute when Lee Sharp whipped a free kick a yard or so wide from 30 yards. A minute later though the home side came much closer to grabbing the lead. Leigh Hinds made a fine run down the right side and beat two or three players before cutting into the penalty box and curling a shot at goal. Michael Moore flicked a header at it and diverted the ball which forced a magnificent reaction stop out of Richie Barnard who changed direction quickly to tip it wide.

Five minutes into the second period Gary Wood nodded on a long ball from the back and Bowey burst clear. However, referee Iain Brines adjudged that he controlled the ball with his arm and in any event the shot was scuffed well wide of target. Four minutes after that another fine Queens move after Lyle won possession on the right side saw Paton feed Lovell who picked out Wood unmarked at the back post. Wood however looked to play the ball back across the face of goal to O'Neill rather than go directly for goal and the defence smuggled it clear. Just before the hour mark Michael Moore picked up the game's first booking for persistent fouling although the adjudged high feet offence on Lovell seemed very harsh. A minute or two later Craig Higgins joined him for a foul on Gary Wood.

Thomson beats Moore
The crucial goal arrived on 66 minutes courtesy of a terrible error by Stuart Lovell. Under no great pressure he sliced a clearance inside his own penalty area so horribly that it dropped towards his own net. Barnard actually got a decent punch to the ball under great pressure but the ball dropped to the edge of the penalty area where Lee Sharp rifled it into the bottom right corner via the inside of the post.

On 68 minutes a Burns foul on Moore saw a melee break out which resulted in a Queens player being booked though it wasn't at all clear whether it was Burns or indeed Gibson or Bowey who got involved afterward who actually picked up the yellow card. We'll need to find that one out later. From the resulting free kick though Moore flicked a header at goal which narrowly missed target. McCall decided to make a couple of changes to freshen things up and on 73 minutes Lovell and Gibson came off to be replaced with English and McLaughlin. Five minutes later Lyle latched onto a loose ball in the box and tried a shot from an acute angle which Corr saved easily rather than look for a pass into the middle.

Queens break
With two minutes remaining Bowey sent Lyle clear for our best chance of the match but his shot from 12 yards was well saved by Corr and turned away for a corner. The resulting set piece was played too close to the former Motherwell keeper by McLaughlin though. Neil Watt used up a little time by bringing on Trialist Willie Martin in the final minute in place of the industrious Hinds. He needn't have bothered though as despite indicating several times that he was adding time on for time wasting Mr Brines played about 20 seconds over the 90 minutes and that in a match that had three second half substitutions as well!

Next up its Hamilton in the cup and whilst progress would be nice I'd trade a win for three points against them the following week in the league.

Ewan Lithgow
Photos - David Gow

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