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STRANRAER 2 : 1 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH
2nd August 2003
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Name or IFC No.
Queens, the defending champions of the Bell's Cup went into the match today with only one surprise, the omission of Brian McColligan whose place was taken by Joe McAlpine making his first start in a central midfield role for the club. The other talking point was the preference of John Dodds to Colin Scott in goal, although it was not surprising following the impressive performances put in by the borderer in pre-season. The side looked strong with the usual Thomson and Aitken in the centre of defence flanked by Paton on the right and Hodge on the left. Midfield had the ex-Kilmarnock wingers in Burke and Bagan with Steve Bowey making his first start of this season and being partnered by Joe McAlpine. The front two were as expected Lyle and O'Connor. The bench did not present John Connolly with any striking alternatives due to injuries so Paddy Atkinson, Derek Allan, Brian McColligan, Willie Gibson and Colin Scott made up the sixteen.
Dodds preferred to Scott today
Queens started the stronger and in the opening minutes forced a couple of corners without really threatening the goal. At the other end it took the home side only seven minutes to pose a threat as Allan Jenkins proved difficult for the Queens defence to dispossess, he turned the ball back into the path of Lee Sharp and the striker's shot was fortunate to meet a Queens defensive leg and block away.
Queens were still looking the better side at this point and a quick break from defence released Steve Bowey who fed Derek Lyle, Lyle then crossed the ball back for Bowser to head over the bar. Sharp and Jenkins though were causing problems to the Dumfries defence down the right hand side.
Bowser very nearly put his name on the scoresheet as he took the opportunity to lob the McCondichie in the Stranraer goal, following good work by Derek Lyle in winning a throw in on the left hand side, the Stranraer 'keeper though made an impressive save to tip the net-bound shot over the bar.
With twenty minute of the match gone Stranraer began to take control of the midfield, three minutes later and they could well have gone in front as Paul Kerr charged down an attempted clearance by Andy Aitken, Kerr then crossed the ball for Jenkins to tee-up a shot. Jenkins though was well off target with his effort on goal.
John Dodds was called into action only a minute later as Kevin Finlayson laid a ball back for Michael Moore to strike goalward, it was well on target but Dodds did a superb job in tipping the ball over the bar. Corners were proving troublesome for the Queens defence, Dodds looked comfortable when the ball was played into the centre of the box, however Stranraer altered their tactic and in thirty one minutes it paid off as a corner from the left was played deep to the back post where it was headed back across goal for Michael Moore headed the ball into the back of the net to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
1-0 was almost 2-0 as Eric Paton was dispossessed on the right giving Paul Kerr the opportunity to run in on goal, his effort though was off-target. The home side had a bother couple of corners before the break, both played deep and both dramatically defended by the visiting defence but neither coming to anything. The only good thing to note was that Queens were coming back into the match towards the end of the half.
Queens began the second half with much more purpose and spent virtually the entire half in the home side's half of the park. Five minutes in and Derek Lyle setup Sean O'Connor but his effort was blocked. Ten minutes in and the same players effort, this time headed from an Alex Burke cross, had to be cleared off the line by Wingate. Twenty two minutes and from a corner Club Captain Jim Thomson connected to a low near-post corner with his foot to fire and effort just over from ten yards.
Jim Thomson almost scores with his foot
Disaster struck though when from a rare second-half Stranraer corner the ball was played out but was then returned via a deflection off a Queens defender to Moore who was clear on goal, he slotted his cross past Dodds to make the score 2-0.
Moore steers home the second
The substitution that John Connolly had been waiting to make was then made with Willie Gibson introduced at the expense of Alex Burke and in a straight swap. Gibson made an immediate impression and soon provided Eric Paton with a free-kick opportunity after the youngster was brought down on the edge of the box. Paton's effort though was wide of the mark.
A goal was coming from Queens and it was Derek Lyle who netted it in eighty minutes as he raced in at the far post and slammed the ball home.
Queens then stepped up the pressure for the last few minutes looking to take the game to extra-time. A Willie Gibson cross was headed over by Eric Paton, Steve Bowey shot from the edge of the box but the home 'keeper did well to push the ball away and finally a free kick on the right caused trouble in the home goal mouth but nobody for Queens could finish and the ball was cleared.
All in all a disappointing first half performance and result from Queens in what is realistically the only trophy they have a real chance of winning this term.