Queens put in an impressive performance today in their last match at Palmerston this season in what has been their most successful year in decades. Whilst the match held little for Queens it was extremely important for County as a win from them today would have ensured their first division status.
Queens played the game with only two recognised defenders on the park, Jim Thomson and Andy Aitken, their fellow 'defenders' today being left-winger Joe McAlpine at left back and right midfielder Eric Paton at right back. Missing today were Derek Allan through injury and John O'Neill who hasn't trained for four nights.
Queens started brightly and could have had a penalty within the first minute as Derek Lyle was pushed over in the box, perhaps though it was too early for the referee to award a kick, it certainly appeared as clear cut as you could imagine.
An easy gather for Scott
Four minutes further in and Steve Bowey almost opened the scoring with a strike from the edge of the box that Bullock managed to push away then on just seven minutes Sean O'Connor looked sure to score as Eric Paton released Derek Lyle down the right with Lyle producing an excellent cross that landed at the feet of Sean, however the big man must have been off balance as by the time he had composed himself the danger had been cleared.
Derek Lyle was producing some excellent work today and another superb ball found Peter Weatherson in twelve minutes, Nellie beat his defender and the 'keeper but also beat the post, a minute later and Derek Lyle presented Peter Weatherson with a great chance via Bowser but again Nellie couldn't find the target.
It was certainly all Queens at this stage and Ross County looked like a team struggling for survival. Derek Lyle was next to test their defence as he weaved his way from the right hand side of the box right across to the left and firing off a shot goalward that was gathered comfortably by County captain Bullock.
Just as Ross County were coming back into the match, slightly, Queens pounced. A strong defensive tackle on the edge of his box by Steve Bowey saw him winning the ball and feeding Derek Lyle, Lyle then in turn fed Peter Weatherson who produced a sublime flick into tht epath of Sean O'Connor who bore down on the 'keeper before firing his effort under the Bullock and into the net to make the score 1-0.
A County free-kick comes to nought
It took until the fortieth minute for Ross County to have a real effort on goal and it was from a free kick wide right that Brian Irvine that had a chance that Colin Scott did well to tip over the bar. Almost immediately though the ball was at the other end and Peter Weatherson found himself with some room to make a shot, he seemed surprised though and shot straight at Bullock. That was the last action of the half and the sides went in with Queens 1-0 up.
The second half did see a more spirited County side and they contributed well to an entertaining half and could well have equalised was it not for some superb work by Colin Scott in the home goal.
Despite their better start there were no real clear cut chances and it was Queens who were first to create a good chance with Steve Bowey being played through and attempting to beat the keeper low down, Bullock stood up to Bowser well however and beat away the effort with his legs.
Brian McColligan was introduced on sixty four minutes for Ben Dawson in a direct swap, the tall midfielder having another impressive match in midfield.
Queens regained the upper hand with the right hand side of the pitch proving the most productive with Paton and Lyle looking very positive. It was from a Derek Lyle cross that Peter Weatherson almost increased the lead, however his header went just the wrong side of the post.
Ross almost equalised with fifteen minutes left as 'left-back' Joe McAlpine attempted to back-heel a ball to Andy Aitken inside the box, his effort was weak and the ball was collected by a Staggie attacker who squared across goal for what looked to be a gilt edged chance for Robertson, fortunately though Colin Scott was on top form and managed to block the effort away and clear the danger.
Queens were playing some exhibition football with the ball being moved around the park with some style. Derek Lyle and Steve Bowey combining in a one-two that really deserved a goal as Lyle fed Bowser on he edge of the box before the midfielder chipped a delicate ball over the defence for Lyle to almost latch onto, however Bullock again proved his worth as he collected the ball just ahead of Lyle.
Willie Gibson was given a further taste of first team experience with a run-out for the last five minutes that turned into ten somehow. That was it though as the best of the last few chances fell to Queens as Ross realised that they were to take nothing from this trip to Palmerston.
This was a surprisingly good performance from a Queens side who looked as hungry as ever and played very positive attractive football throughout the match, the points were deserved and the battle for first division survival goes to the line after Alloa recorded a win at Arbroath today.
The Queens team left the pitch to a standing ovation from everyone present and the players showed their appreciation of the support of the fans by acknowledging their applause and returning the compliment. Next season already seems too far away.