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AIRDRIE UNITED 0 : 1 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 4th September 2004
Rating: 8.07
Rating: 7.77
Rating: 8.13
Rating: 8.16
Rating: 7.06
Rating: 7.24
Rating: 6.65
Rating: 6.59
Rating: 6.83
Rating: 7.10
Rating: 7.94
Members of the Internet Fan Club can award players marks out of ten for their performance today. The player with the most points awarded in the two days following a match will be the IFC Man of the Match. All of the points will then be added to a running total for each player and the results published in the mom League Table.

Name or IFC No.
Crisis, what crisis? Injury hit Queens travelled to Airdrie with just 13 fit first team squad members but produced three points with a battling performance to snap a four game losing streak. Ian Scott made two changes to the midweek line-up that lost at Perth. Chris Armstrong and Chris Scott dropped to the bench with David Bagan and Stephen Payne returning to the starting line-up. That meant Paul Burns returning to his recent right back role whilst Brian McLaughlin moved up front to partner McNiven and Steve Bowey pushed wide left. The home side also didn't have their troubles to seek with both teams winless over the past few weeks.

The home side settled the better early on and took the early initiative. After 7 minutes Marvyn Wilson's strike from the edge of the box was acrobatically tipped over by Colin Scott. The resulting corner was only partly cleared and, when helped back into the area by Alan McManus, Jerome Vareille found himself all alone at the edge of the six yard box but somehow tucked his shot wide of the target when it seemed easier to score. Immediately up the other end Stephen Payne beat Lovering before delivering a very dangerous cross into the box which was headed away for a throw. A few minutes later and an elusive ball across the face of the penalty area somehow found its way through to Payne in acres of space but he took too long to get his shot away and it was blocked. At this time all the Queens danger was coming down the right side and on 13 minutes good work from Payne and McLaughlin laid a chance on for Bowey on the penalty spot but again a defensive block arrived just in time. Airdrie however were giving as good as they got and a minute later a Vareille header from ten yards or so almost crept over the line before Colin Scott could grasp it.

In the 21st minute came what possibly proved to be the game's defining moment. David McNiven went up to challenge for a high ball with Airdrie's Neil McGowan and Paul Lovering. When the dust settled McNiven remained unscathed whilst the two defenders were lying on the ground clearly hurt having cannoned into one another. It took fully five minutes to clear the incident up with both physios and a doctor on the park before the clearly unconscious McGowan was stretchered off and Lovering made it off under his own steam. Neither player was in any condition to continue though and Sandy Stewart was forced to make two early substitutions, bringing on Willie Wilson and Kevin Barkey and having to make a few positional changes.

The home side were the first to show after play restarted though with Stephen Docherty heading powerfully at goal from a left sided corner only to see the agile Colin Scott parry away again before Jim Thomson completed the clearance. Two minutes later Thomson lost possession bringing the ball out from the back and the home side sprung the offside for the first time all day. Colin Scott was off his line like lightning to meet the striker though and blocked before Paul Burns completed the clearance. this time. A minute after that though it was Queens who broke the offside trap with McLaughlin put through only for his touch to desert him and the ball ran through to McGeown. In 37 minutes a superb flowing move involving McNiven, McLaughlin and Bowey sent Stephen Payne clear towards goal but he lashed the ball well over the goal and into the stand.

The goal was coming though and duly arrived in 40 minutes. Gary Wood lifted a ball over the top of everyone and Brian McLaughlin was after it like a hare. McNiven had possibly been standing offside but made no attempt to go for the ball and referee Mr Smith rightly allowed play to go on. Given all the time in the world wee Brian advanced inside the box before placing a low strike into the bottom left corner beyond the dive of McGeown. There were no further chances before the interval despite the playing of fully five minutes of injury time.

The first action of the second period saw Stephen Docherty become the game's first booking for a very late challenge on Bowey on 48 minutes. Seven minutes later Stephen McKeown did well to turn Jim Thomson and get a shot in from 15 yards but again Colin Scott was equal to the task of turning the ball wide. Queens should have killed the game off just after the hour mark when great work between McLaughlin and McNiven gave the latter the chance to run in on goal. McGeown came from his line quickly to save with his feet but the rebound went only as far as McLaughlin who should have knocked into the empty net. However, he failed to get enough purchase on the ball and Docherty was able to get the ball off the line. On 69 minutes another gilt-edged opportunity went begging when McNiven and Christie challenged for a near post cross and the ball broke to McLaughlin just six yards out. Rather than blast the ball though he went for placement and gave McGeown the chance to pull off the save at the bottom left corner of goal.

On 71 minutes Alan McManus picked up the game's second booking for a terrible late challenge on McLaughlin. On this occasion he might well count himself fortunate it was only a yellow card he saw. Three minutes later McNiven's turn and shot inside the box went narrowly wide as McGeown threw himself across goal. However, within five minutes Queens had two names in the referee's book themselves. First Payne for a high challenge on Willie Wilson and then McNiven for using his weight in a challenge and then complaining about it. Despite the importance of the game though, neither side could really come close to scoring in the final quarter of an hour and it was Queens who were the happier about it.

So an important three points for Queens which lifts us into mid-table and above today's opponents whilst building a gap on Raith and others. We also move above next week's opponents Hamilton and will look to break the home hoodoo against the Accies.

Ewan Lithgow

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