John O'Neill yet again demonstrated a killer touch in front of goal as he notched both goals in this afternoon's hard fought victory over bogey team Stenhousemuir. His first was a glancing header on twenty minutes and his second a cool lob over the advancing keeper just six minutes from the end.
Both sides started positively with chances being made at either end, Stenny making the first as Graeme Davidson sent in a rasping shot which clipped the upright on six minutes. Queens responded and from a corner the ball was headed goalward by a Warriors defender only to be cleared, eventually, by the man on the line at the front post.
It was an all action opening as next Craig Feroz put the ball through but just behind the inrushing Peter Weatherson, John O'Neill was first to collect and he laid it back for Graham Connell to have a crack, Connells effort was deflected by Peter Weatherson and the 'keeper managed somehow to push it over for a corner, although it is unlikely that he knew too much about it.
The 'keeper then made an excellent save as he just managed to get a glove onto a curling Craig Feroz shot from the edge of the box. The front men seem to be building a good understanding as Nellie sent in a pacey cross that Feroz dummied, intending John O'Neill to run on to it, fortunately for Stenny though the ball was cut out just before it reached O'Neill's boot.
Whilst Queens were enjoying the bulk of the possession the Warriors were not content with sitting back and themselves made a few good chances that saw Colin Scott put through his paces.
It was Queens though that made the breakthrough as John O'Neill managed to get the slightest of touches onto a Peter Weatherson cross, the touch being enough to send the ball past Graham in the Warriors goal and into the back of the net. This spurred the Doonhamers on and for a ten minute spell they threatened to overrun the Warriors.
Stenhousemuir are a good side, however, and it was they who finished the half on the ascendancy, one notable chance on thirty six minutes fell to their central defender Simon Vella and fortunately he finished in the manner hat Jim Thomson had also attempted to finish a few moments earlier as he hit the ball high and wide from a good position.
The onslaught by the men from Larbert was so worrying that for the final five minutes of the half Queens played with four at the back, abandoning the three five two formation that they now favour. The whistle for the end of the half was a welcome sound when it came.
HALF TIME 1-0
The second half saw Queens revert to the three, five two formation and immediately saw Queens make a few good goal chances, notably a Paddy Atkinson effort after he was fed by Feroz through Weatherson, the final effort from Atkinson being well saved but both he and the defender making the saving tackle were injured in the clash. The injury would later see Atkinson replaced as a precaution.
A second half goalmouth scramble
Ten minutes into the half and Jim Thomson picked up a booking for a tackle that appeared to win the ball, the resulting free kick split the Queens defence apart and fortunately Ian Ferguson had left his shooting boots at home and missed a reasonably straightforward chance.
Derek Allan was brought on to replace the injured Paddy Atkinson as a straight swap and the former Southampton man proved that there is more to his game than a central defender as he helped to push the side forward for the final ten minutes.
Stenny then had their chance of the match as a cross ball was met by the diving Ferguson, it looked as though he must score but somehow he managed to fluff his header and the danger was cleared. The ball was then picked up by John O'Neill in midfield, he strode past one defender and then spotted the 'keeper off his line, no invitation was needed and the coolest of finishes was applied by the midfielder as the ball dropped over the 'keepers head and into the back of the net to make it 2-0 to Queens.
Not a brilliant performance but Stenhousemuir are a good side that will be challenging come the end of the season and Queens proved today that they have the battling qualities to mix it with any of the sides in the league this season.