Queen's unbeaten away League record went crashing this afternoon in an abject performance at Greenock. The side was already shorn of three first choice players due to Scott's injury, Weatherson's suspension and Connell's work commitments and John Connolly made a further change, bringing back Paddy Atkinson in place of Alan Gray on the right side. Jamie Campbell and Stuart Davidson replaced Scott and Connell and the on loan Murray McDowall retained his place up front alongside Hawke.
With only two minutes on the clock, Warren Hawke had a decent chance to give Queens the lead when he outpaced a square defence in the race for a through ball from Jon Crawford. Though Warren was well out and near the left touchline, Henry Smith was well out of his goal and the chip looked on but the striker elected to run in on goal and finished with a weak shot straight at Smith. Four minutes later Hawke was just beaten to the ball by the veteran keeper after working a neat one-two with Murray McDowall on the edge of the penalty area. Despite the positive start however, it was the Bankies who took the lead two minutes later. It stemmed from a corner needlessly given away. The ball was flighted into the middle of the box but a Queens head got to it first and it dropped to the ground six yards out. Unfortunately three different defenders seemed to leave it to each other to complete the clearance and simply watched as Paul McGrillen nipped in controlled the ball and drove past the helpless Campbell.
Queens tried to hit straight back and after ten minutes a Warren Hawke flick on left John O'Neill clear in on goal but the prolific midfielder failed to make proper contact with the ball and Smith was able to catch it comfortably. Soon after, referee Willie Young incurred the wrath of the travelling Doonhamers when he played on an advantage when Paddy Atkinson was caught by a high challenge in the act of clearing the ball from his own box. Quite what advantage he saw when the ball was returned back into the box by Clydebank and the player who had injured Paddy had plenty of time to set up a chance for a colleague which was narrowly missed.
In the 25th minute, the Bankies doubled their advantage and, if the first goal was poor defending then this was right out of the Keystone Cops! It all started with a big punt forward from the Clydebank defence. Jon Crawford was always under the ball but, anticipating the back header, an alert forward nipped in and cut it out. Jamie Campbell initially did well, advancing to the edge of his area to meet his opponent and managing to get a hand to the chip. The ball was sufficiently diverted to allow Crawford to get back on to his line and clear. However, his clearance was a poor one and went straight to Eric Paton. The midfielder hit a shot from well outside the box which seemed fairly tame. However, Campbell obviously thought it was going wide and stood aside only to be horribly embarrassed as the ball nestled in the corner of the net.
To complete a farcical hat trick of errors, Gordon Connelly handed the Bankies a third goal in the 37th minute. The ball was heading harmlessly out of play at the end of an attack when, for no obvious reason, Connelly grabbed hold of Brian McColligan's shirt. It was a completely needless tug and had no affect on the striker's inability to reach the ball but down he went as if hit by a sniper's bullet and Willie Young had little option but to award the penalty kick. There was momentary hope when Campbell dived to his right to keep out Alex Burke's kick but he could only parry the ball pack to the former Killie man and his second effort was buried down the middle of the goal.
At half time John Connolly reorganised the defence, replacing Jon Crawford with Alan Gray. Gray slotted into his usual right back role with Atkinson switching to the left side. McAlpine was pushed further forward and the formation became a 4-4-2 but, to be honest, the second half was pretty poor fare. In the 53rd minute, John O'Neill was narrowly wide with a 25 yard direct free kick and a minute later Warren Hawke created himself some space in the box following a flick on by O'Neill but a covering defender cleared over his own bar before he could shoot. In the 67th minute, Hawke volleyed a McAlpine cross just wide from the right side of the penalty box. With nine minutes remaining Joe McAlpine's first touch let him down when clear on goal and Smith gathered the ball safely. Those were the only real chance of the half.
With three minutes remaining, John O'Neill picked up the game's only booking for a two footed challenge. During the second period, Connolly also introduced Jon Sunderland and Paul Hollier in place of McDowall and Connelly.
Goalmouth action as Queens threaten
Queens press again
Warren Hawke is pressured as Gordon Connolly looks on
Photographs courtesy of David Gow.