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STENHOUSEMUIR 1 : 2 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH
2nd September 2003
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Queen's tonight progressed to the second round of the CIS Insurance Cup competition in a game that was as close as the scoreline suggests. The second division side gave as good as they got for much of the match and the only thing that could separate the sides at the end of the ninety minutes was a spectacular long range effort from David Bagan.
The Doonhamers started with almost the same side that finished on Saturday, O'Connor and Burke getting starting places whilst fellow sub on Saturday Paul Burns started on the bench. The inclusion of O'Connor and Burke meant that Willie Gibson sat on the bench and Derek Lyle moved back to right side of midfield meaning that Eric Paton also had a seat for the night.
Queens started with a bang as within six minutes they opened the scoring, Gary Wood also opening his personal account for the club with a clinical finish following a block by his former team-mate at Berwick Willie McCulloch in the home side's goals. It then looked as though Queens would go on and dominate the match as an Alex Burke effort was blocked and Sean O'Connor fired the rebound past the post. Wood was again on hand shortly after as he struck a shot just over the bar following a throw in from Derek Allan.
It was fifteen minutes before the home side made a real move forward such had been Queens dominance in the opening spell. The first came from a free-kick conceded by Brian Reid on the edge of the box, the shot being blocked well by Gary Wood. On twenty three minutes the home sides Carr put a great ball across the face of the goal but luckily for Queens there were no takers. The inevitable was delayed for only another seven minutes though as Laughlan whipped over a cross that was met by Harty who had a free header and was able to pick his spot to put the ball past Dodds and tie the scores.
Queens slowly recovered from this over the remainder of the half and as they approached half-time certainly looked to be the stronger side, even having a goal disallowed from Gary Wood, who strangely, had to beat a man to convert the chance but was still adjudged to be offside.
The second half opened with both sides determined to impress, Wood and O'Connor looked sharp upfront and combined well to allow Sean to get a cross in that almost provided and opening for Gary Wood. The Warriors though had other ideas and following a series of free-kicks to the home side they had an opportunity from the edge of the box. Stevie Mallan and McKenzie stood over the ball and then Marv dummied the ball and ran into some open space in the box, the free-kick came in and Mallan should have done better as he was presented with a clear header on goal with no one even challenging him.
Frustration appeared to be setting into Queens play and a series of needless free kicks saw McKenzie presented with another chance from the edge of the box, his effort beat the wall well but also beat the post.
McKenzie fires his free-kick wide of the post as the wall watch
On sixty two minutes John Connolly made his first change giving youngster Paul Burns another run out by replacing Alex Burke.
Former Queens favourite Stevie Mallan was proving to be a thorn in the side of the defence with his typical style of committed play, however on sixty -two minutes he had his name taken by the referee for persistent fouling.
Back to the action and Queens almost took the lead as Derek Lyle rose well at the back post to meet a Sean O'Connor left wing cross, the 'keeper though was well positioned to collect. Shortly after another O'Connor run down the left and low cross this time, evaded everyone including Bowser as the ball passed just inches from his toes with a clear shot on goal beckoning.
At the other end a Stevie Mallan cross had to be punched away by John Dodds as Andy Brown arrived at the back post.
A long kick out by John Dodds presented Queens with their next chance as Paul Burns controlled the ball and then made for the byeline, his low hard effort was missed by Derek Lyle as he slid in but it also missed the far post.
The goal that the travelling fans had been waiting for came with just four minutes of play remaining. David Bagan was the provider as he struck and effort from well outside the box that beat the 'keeper and hit the inside of the 'keepers left hand post finishing up in the net.
Other than a last minute free-kick by McKenzie that took some time to organise the action was complete and Queens progressed to the next round.
The draw will be held on Thursday and will see Queens as a seeded side in the draw.
Thanks to Gordon Harper for his assistance with the details of the early part of the match.