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EAST FIFE 0 : 1 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 10th January 2004
Rating: 7.56
Rating: 7.47
Rating: 6.52
Rating: 6.84
Rating: 6.63
Rating: 5.74
Rating: 6.45
Rating: 6.61
Rating: 6.50
Rating: 7.26
Rating: 6.17
S1 - 68
Rating: 6.07
S2 - 71
Rating: 6.70
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.
A single goal victory in darkest Fife and "Mission Accomplished". Queens earned a trip to Motherwell with a hard earned win over East Fife in what was a very poor game overall and a very poor first half in particular. A draw which Terry Butcher was "delighted" with!

John Connolly resisted the temptation to start either of his new ex-SPL signings and sent out exactly the same team which drew at Ayr last weekend. Changes were necessary on the bench though with Derek Allan out for several weeks due to his midweek ankle ligament injury and Derek Lyle departed for Stirling Albion. On to the subs bench came Stephen Payne and Emilio Jaconelli.

The first half was frankly terrible fare. East Fife as a side seem to be made up of extras from 'Land of the Giants' and, with so many six footers in the side, the tactic seemed to be to knock high balls up to the strikers all day. Fortunately though such tactics are 'meat and drink' for Brian Reid and Jim Thomson and the Fifers made little capital from this approach. In fact it was fully 18 minutes into the game before I saw fit to note down any sort of a chance at all with Sean O'Connor taking too long to control a Burke cross in the six yard box and a defender managing to scramble the ball clear. Ten minutes later John Dodds did well to catch a corner kick on his goal line before it could drift directly into goal. Just before the half hour mark Brian Reid picked up the games first booking for a trip.
Paton heads clear with Bagan in attendance
The first effort on target of the game arrived on 31 minutes when Eric Paton's direct free kick from 20 yards was knocked directly into the arms of Garry O'Connor in the home goal. The home side were capable of causing problems though and, in the course of the next five minutes, a run down each wing caused havoc in the middle of the Queens defence but fortunately there were no takers for East Fife either. Five minutes before the interval O'Connor's pass freed Alex Burke to have a run at the home defence but, though he made space for a shot, his effort lacked power and didn't trouble the keeper greatly. Two minutes later, Wood's lay-off was volleyed well off target by O'Connor. A minute before the break Bowey flashed a header from a Burke cross across the face of goal but O'Connor couldn't quite reach the ball at the back post.

The second period was only two minutes old when McColligan struck a couple of feet over the bar from 20 yards. Two minutes later Kenny Deuchar didn't miss the target by that much with a header from a right sided corner. On 54 minutes Burke and McColligan combined to set up Sean O'Connor for a run into the box. O'Connor shot for the bottom left corner but narrowly missed the target, though it seemed to me at least that the home keeper had helped the ball on its way.Queens were beginning now to exert a little more control over the game and, just before the hour mark, Aitken's left sided cross was perfect for the head of Gary Wood but the striker failed to hit the target from six yards. Immediately East Fife made their first change when Willie Stewart replaced Jonathon Mitchell. It was Queens again who were pushing for a goal immediately and, after a centre half misjudged a high ball forward, Bowey and O'Connor found themselves through on goal. Bowey took the early shot from 18 yards though and didn't find enough power to trouble O'Connor in the home goal.

Eric Paton soon picked up a yellow card for dissent having been warned by the frankly erratic Alan Freeland in the first period. The same player though was unlucky in 66 minutes, just failing to latch onto Alex Burke's clever chip forward as O'Connor saved at his feet. East Fife made a second change before Connolly made two of his own, first Paul Burns replaced David Bagan and then, on 70 minutes, came the critical change when on loan Hearts youngster Paul McMullan replaced Gary Wood, with Alex Burke moving up front as a result. Brian McColligan joined the list of Queens players in Mr Freeland's notebook for a foul in midfield though the home side were allowed to continue the attack and shoot across the face of goal first.
The moment that decided the game arrived on 75 minutes and initially from an East Fife attack. The cross from the right side was too deep and Eric Paton was able to clear despite the presence of two opponents, He fed Paul Burns who brought the ball up the right a little before passing inside to Bowey on halfway. "Bowser" ran forward before picking out a pass to McColligan blazing down the left side who struck a glorious cross into the six yard box which was just perfect for the diving Sean O'Connor to head into the right side of the net beyond his namesake's dive. Straight away John Dodds made an excellent double save to deny Kenny Deuchar an equaliser after he got behind Reid and past Thomson. First he blocked the striker's initial shot from 12 yards as he broke into the box and then he was down quickly to collect the ball at the Deuchar's feet before he could turn the rebound home. Shortly thereafter the home side made their final throw of the dice with Deuchar withdrawn to make way for Brian Fairbairn.

McMullan though was causing no end of trouble down the left side and another fine cross set up Paul Burns at the back post but he missed his kick and the chance was gone. On 88 minutes a Burke pass sent him away again and this time a perfect cross picked out Burke again for a huge 1-2. However, Burke struck over the cross bar when he might have finished the tie. Mr Freeland added about three minutes to the game but, despite this, East Fife never really threatened to score an equaliser. In fact, on the break from a corner Queens should have done better with a 4 against 3 situation but it was irrelevant as the final whistle soon went and secured an all too rare place in the 4th round for Queens.
Bowser applaudes the large travelling support at the end of the match(Photo by Andy McMurdo)
So the job was done with little drama. The important thing today was to get the win and that was what we did on a windy day in darkest Fife when a shock could easily have been on the cards. It wasn't a stellar performance by any means but we did enough, scored a good goal and saw enough of Paul McMullan to suggest he will have a big impact on the remainder of this season. The draw is not ideal but could have been a lot worse. It's yet another away draw (Terry Butcher has a cheek complaining about Motherwell's lack of home draws!) and we will certainly be underdogs but it's convenient in distance and should be a decent game. That tie will take place on February 7th but meantime it's back to league business next week with a home game against East Fife's near neighbours Raith Rovers.

Ewan Lithgow
Photographs - David Gow

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