With the Second Division Championship Flag flying proudly at Palmerston this afternoon Queens produced a performance that will send out a warning to the rest of the division that we mean business and are not just here to make up the numbers.
The team lined up with a couple of surprises, John O'Neill and Derek Lyle on the bench, certainly Lyle had been rated doubtful prior to the match but O'Neill made way for Eric Paton in the centre of the park. Alan Gray today played further forward than his natural position of right back with Paddy Atkinson filling the more defensive right sided position.
The match started with Queens immediately pressurising their opponents and Clyde giving back as good as they got, both sides making fast accurate crisp passing movements as they both attempted to penetrate the others defence. There were numerous corners for both sides with the first for Clyde in only three minutes as a low near post ball was turned goalwards and Andy Goram immediately showed his quality by blocking the effort away with his legs. The Bully Wee went on to win three consecutive corners and the pressure was finally relieved when Andy Millen sent a looping header goalward that cleared the home sides bar.
For Queens big Sean O'Connor was grasping his chance upfront and was impressive both on the deck and in the air, causing no end of trouble for the visitors Mensing who had no answer to the runs of Sean. Joe McAlpine too was proving troublesome with all the Queens pressure in the early stages coming from the left wing, the opening goal involved the two as Joe broke down the left and cut in, his ball across the face of the goal to Sean was well weighted and the big man turned past his defender and sent an effort goalward, whilst the ball was on target it did take a deflection off Clyde's Potter to beat 'keeper McEwan and end up nestled in the back of the Bully Wee net and for Queens to open their first division goal scoring account.
Big Sean celebrates his deflected goal
Minutes later though and the Clyde fans in the East Stand were on their feet to celebrate what they believed to be an equaliser, those with a better angle though could see that the ball had hit the rear net support after clearing the post by a few feet.
On fifteen minutes Queens produced a move that was really worthy of a goal, Eric Paton collected the ball wide right, looked up and sent it across the full width of the pitch to Joe McAlpine, Joe produced some fancy footwork to outwit the defender and turned onto the ball as he headed to the bye-line, his low hard cross was flicked by Sean O'Connor on the inside of his foot as the ball flew between his legs, agonisingly though the flick was a fraction too light and the ball went just past the post.
The game 'settled' for a period with no real chances being made but some excellent football being played. Queens were next to threaten and again it should really have ended in a goal as Joe McAlpine latched on to a superb through ball, he reached the bye-line and put the ball just over Steve Bowey's head, fortunately though Peter Weatherson was waiting at the back post and his volleyed effort should have made it 2-0, however the hit man blasted wide of the upright.
McEwan deals with this first half effort
Before the half was played out big Sean had another effort that had he not been clipped before lashing his shot goalward may well have resulted in number two, infact in a similar move a minute later he was again felled as he was about to create his chance.
HALF TIME 1-0
No changes at half time but with only four minutes of the half played Sean O'Connors' ankles finally succumbed to some more rough treatment and the big man had to leave the field and be replaced by Derek Lyle.
Queens though renewed their efforts and in fifty five minutes Joe McAlpine struck a shot from outside the box that had McEwan scrambling at, the 'keeper only able to push it away for a corner. Shortly afterwards it was Paddy Atkinson's turn to blast the ball goalward, after he was set up by some superb play between Bowey and Lyle, with Bowey laying the ball into the path of Paddy as he ran into the box, the defenders effort though screamed over the cross bar.
Derek Lyle was also making a nuisance of himself in the Clyde backline and was soon to find himself receiving treatment from Kenny Crichton, from the resultant free-kick the ball was played wide of the wall and into the corner area for Paddy Atkinson to run on to, his excellent cross though flew through the goalmouth without a single taker from either team.
Another goal looked likely as Queens continued to press and Andy Goram enjoyed a relatively trouble free afternoon, the goal did come and a contender for goal of the season it is sure to be. Eric Paton picked up the ball just inside his own half, he had some space and chose to turn inside rather than take the ball down the wing, the spaced was not closed up and the midfielder continued forward, he spotted the top left hand corner of the goals and let fly with a terrific effort that McEwan had absolutely no chance in getting to. The home fans were ecstatic.
The last fifteen minutes then would be played out without to much incident, no this is Queens remember, ten minutes later and a mix up between Andy Goram and Paddy Atkinson led to an unnecessary corner as Paddy attempted a headed pass-back that Goram had no chance with. The initial corner was not properly cleared and the ball eventually fell to Andy Millen, his effort though was straight at the well positioned Andy Goram, until the leg of Derek Anderson instinctively came out to attempt a clearance only to deflect it over the head of Goram and into the net. Clyde had a lifeline with only around five minutes left.
Millen strikes what was to be the only Clyde goal
Although the last few minutes were typical nervous Palmerston minutes, the best chance came at the other end as Derek Lyle burst clear with no support at all, the striker though made himself some room and opened up the goal, his effort though was just over the bar. The final whistle was blown and Queens secured their first home win in the first division since beating Forfar 2-1 on the 17th September 1988.