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QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 1-4 STRANRAER9th Septemebr 2000
Rating: 4.48
Rating: 3.17
Rating: 6.48
Rating: 4.59
P Atkinson
Rating: 4.21
Rating: 3.97
Rating: 5.66
Rating: 5.34
R Atkinson
Rating: 5.10
Rating: 4.69
Rating: 5.00
46 mins
Rating: 5.03
46 mins
Rating: 5.76
60 mins
Rating: 6.17
Rating: -
Rating: -
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A defensive blunderland is what best describes the proceedings at Palmerston this afternoon as unforced errors accounted for three of the four visitors goals, the other being either a tremendously skilful hooked shot or a complete fluke.

Queen's on the other hand matched the Stair Parker's in open play and had the majority of possession with seventeen goal attempts to their eight. The Dumfries forwards did not carry any luck this afternoon with at least a couple of efforts cleared off the line and one crashing off the woodwork. Still it's the goals that count and Stranraer gave the Doonhamers a lesson in finishing today.

The game started at a steady pace with the unusual sight of three former and present, four if you count Billy McLaren's two stints, Queen's managers conducting events on the pitch. Willie McLean, standing in for the touchline banned Billy McLaren and taking instruction from him a mere two feet away on the terracing, looked after the Stranraer team for the afternoon with former Queen's left back Ally McMillan making a bench appearance for the Ferrymen.

The first real action came as Stranraer adopted a route one tactic with 'keeper McGown clearing to Gerraghty on the right side of the box and the striker twisting as he turned to rifle the ball into the top left hand corner of Mathieson's goal.

Queen's remained composed and worked forward, within three minutes home debutant Steve Preen was put through on the right side of the box but had to check his run then find a little more space before unleashing his shot, the effort taking a slight deflection well spotted by the stand side linesman who corrected the referee's decision and awarded a corner.

Peter Weatherson then broke through but, unusually, his first touch let him down and the ball was taken off his toe just as he was attempting to tee his effort up.

It wasn't all Queen's however, at the other end the Stranraer attack was enjoying lots of space down the left hand side as the 4-4-3 formation that had started out was finding itself being pulled out of shape time and time again, Phil Nixon having a particularly torrid time of it from both Blair and George. Andy Aitken around this time made a tremendous saving tackle as he tracked back into the box to disposses the tricky Andy Paterson just as the front man was about to pull the trigger.

On the half hour Andy Aitken found himself unmarked at the near post for an incoming corner ball but could only manage to bundle it past the post as he failed to cleanly connect with it. Queens continued to press and next up was Paddy Atkinson who shot from the edge of the box but failed to get enough power behind the shot to trouble the 'keeper.

The best chance of the half for Queens came in the fortieth minute as Steven Pickering worked a good opening with Paddy Atkinson and managed to get clean through on the 'keeper, his shot however was well saved by McGown with a one handed effort to deny the youngster his first Queens goal.

Half time saw a formation re-adjustment for the Doonhamers with the three at the back system re-employed, the casualties being Paddy Atkinson who made way for Sandy Hodge and Steven Pickering who moved over for Dean Muir. This upped the tempo immediately and within a minute of the restart Queens had forced three corners, all of which saw the Ferrymen make dramatic clearances the last being a goal line clearance from an Andy Martin header.
[Sandy sends in a free kick}
Sandy Hodge fires in a free kick
Queens appeared more determined this half and were pushing forward at every opportunity, next chance fell to Warren Hawke who managed to get on the end of a tremendous cut back from Sandy Hodge who had hit the line from a through ball from Peter Weatherson, Hawke, however. could only watch as his header crashed off the bar and away to safety. Ten minutes into the half and Sandy Hodge was put through again by Peter Weatherson and his curling shot looked to be creeping in at the bottom right hand corner just as 'keeper McGown got an outstretched finger to it to knock it away.

Then disaster, after all that pressure Stranraer steal another goal as Walker knocks a cross field ball into the net as the Dumfries defence stand and wait for an offside decision that was never to come.

Another change as things were becoming desperate, Weatherson off and Caldwell on, again to lift the tempo, however just as the change was made the Dumfries defence pressed the self destruct button as substitute Blaikie waltzed through and slotted home, the worst of the goals and both Martin and Nixon left sitting on the turf.

Bryan Caldwell was providing some problems up front and along with Hodge provided the most consistent threat to the visitors defence this afternoon. Caldwell warmed up with a free kick through the wall and at the 'keeper in the sixty-eighth minute, but that was just a taster for his second attempt on seventy-five when the 'keeper was well beaten and Queen's got their consolation. In between times Hawke had another effort cleared off the line and Caldwell another shot from a tight angle that was deflected wide.
[Hodge in aerial challenge}
Atkinson and Nelson look on as Sandy nods it back in
Within a minute of the joy of scoring Caldwell had the agony of missing a sitter as Sandy Hodge sent Dean Muir away with a beautifully flighted cross field ball, Muir then sent over the perfect cross for Caldwell to nod into the empty goal, however Bryan attempted to drive the ball in only to see it hit the ground and screw away for a goal kick.

Queen's still were not finished and Andy Aitken showed exceptional skill as from the middle of the park he lifted a ball over the Stranraer defence for Warren Hawke to launch himself full length at only to again see it very well saved by the visiting 'keeper.

Almost the last action of the match came when the defence was posted missing and Walker notched his second and his sides fourth goal of the game.

All in all a disappointing performance in front of a large expectant crowd, the chances were there but not taken whilst our arch rivals again took great pleasure in returning along the A75 with maximum points, deservedly so it has to be said.

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