|2004/05 Season Review
||A serialised account of our season by our man who has been at every match home and away - Ewan Lithgow
|Part Two - August 2004|
I call it August but the season actually got underway on the final day of July with a trip to Second Division Champions Airdrie United in the Bells Cup. Queens were always in control of the game to be honest but it took the introduction of Emilio Jaconelli as a half time substitute in place of the injured McNiven to inject a cutting edge. His afternoon ended in disappointment though as he was stretchered off with a hamstring pull in the closing stages. The second round draw for the competition brought a tricky away trip to John Connolly's St Johnstone though.
The league campaign though started much more disappointingly with a 1-0 home defeat by Ross County. Needless to say their goal was scored by former Queens favourite Alex Burke, the man who wouldn't have departed at all had Connolly gone a few weeks earlier.
The following midweek brought an unwanted first for Queens, the first time we'd ever had a match postponed in August. The CIS Cup tie against Albion Rovers fell victim to a waterlogged pitch following a Tuesday deluge. However, it was not all bad news as a surprise defeat for Connolly's St Johnstone meant we moved up to a seeded ranking in the competition provided we eventually overcame the third division side.
McLaughlin curls an effort goal ward
McNiven celebrates his second
By coincidence the next game up was a trip to see our former manager and his new charges at McDiarmid. It's fair to say the squad were "up" for this match in a way they've probably never been before or since. Many felt they had a point to prove. Iain Scott flew home from his holiday early to retake charge for this one. Queens ran out comfortable 3-1 winners, a scoreline which very much flattered St Johnstone. Gary Wood opened the scoring early before David McNiven added a double. It should have been a hat-trick but he missed an open goal after rounding the goalkeeper late on. Martyn Fotheringham's spectacular consolation from distance was all the home side could achieve.
If Saturday was superb though then Tuesday was diabolical. The rearranged Albion Rovers tie brought a rare cup shock for Queens as the visitors soaked up a load of pressure, fell behind to McNiven's penalty after Bagan went down rather easily in the box but still scored twice in the final five minutes through Mercer and McKenzie to grab victory. They would go on to meet Hibernian in the competition and make a bit of cash which should have been ours.
The following weekend brought yet another home defeat, this time to a Falkirk side who would go on to become Champions. They'd made a distinctly average start though and at the time it looked a winnable game. Falkirk were well worth their 3-1 win though, given to them by goals from Nicholls, Duffy and McAnespie, although all three were poor goals to lose. David McNiven had equalised in the first half from the penalty spot after Bowey was brought down. That meant we'd had three penalties in the first five games but it also turned out to be the last one we were awarded all season.
One week later three home defeats became four when Clyde staged a smash and grab act with a 1-0 win provided as usual by Ian Harty's goal. This meant we finished the first month very much paying more attention to the bottom sides than the top ones. The month wasn't quite finished though. There was still time for St Johnstone to avenge their league defeat with a crushing 3-0 Bells Cup victory. A shocking performance got all that it deserved with all three of the home side's goals coming from set pieces. The scorers were all defenders with Ian Maxwell, Kevin Fotheringham and Kevin Rutkiewicz doing the damage. Paul Hilland also departed the club at this time as a result of a serious breach of club discipline.
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