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GRETNA 5 : 0 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 11th November 2006
Rating: 4.22
Rating: 3.81
Rating: 3.83
Rating: 4.00
Rating: 4.67
Rating: 3.89
Rating: 4.75
Rating: 5.06
Rating: 5.92
Rating: 5.03
Rating: 5.17
S1 - 46
Rating: 4.36
S2 - 53
J Thomson
Rating: 3.66
S3 - 73
Rating: 3.94
A Thomson
Ferguson (T)
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.
It's back to the drawing board for Ian McCall and his team after two fine home performances were followed by a footballing lesson dished out by derby rivals Gretna at a sodden Raydale Park. McCall stuck with his 3-5-2 game-plan but made two changes to the side that had served him so well over the previous two games. Injury to Colin Scott meant a return in goal for Barry John Corr and a first place on the bench for 'Trialist' Allan Ferguson whilst Warren Moon dropped to the bench in a tactical switch with Stephen Swift finally making his first start for the club. That meant Eric Paton switching into a central midfield role. Finally, Sean O'Connor replaced John Henry on the bench. Meantime there was only one ex-Queens player in the opposing team, Derek Townsley, but plenty of ex-Doonhamer favourites in the home dugout with Rowan Alexander, Davie Irons, Kenny Crichton and Anton Stuart all former Queens men.

The pitch may have been sodden but it wasn't holding up Gretna's play, nor detracting from their style unfortunately. They made a whirlwind start and could have opened the scoring on 7 minutes when David Graham, the game's outstanding player for me, reached a ball at the by-line and swept over a perfect cross for midfielder Eric Paartalu to meet with a near post header that looked destined for goal until Barry John Corr produced a wonderful reaction stop. The goal was delayed only a few seconds though a right sided cross was met with a punch by Corr from under his own crossbar. The ball didn't get enough distance on a windy day though and dropped perfectly for Steve Tosh on the edge of the Queens box. He took aim and curled a wonderful shot into the top right corner via the goalpost.

The 19th minute was a pivotal moment of the game. Some good work by Eric Paton set up Willie Gibson with a shooting chance but his shot was charged down and though John O'Neill almost broke through off the loose ball he was denied by a fine challenge from Innes. The home side broke upfield immediately down the right side and McMenamin did well to make the by-line before cutting the ball back for David Graham to give Corr no chance from about 12 yards out.

As if that wasn't bad enough things went from bad to worse on 26 minutes as Queens contrived to give away a penalty kick. There seemed to be little danger as Graham attempted to pressure two defenders into an error but the error was duly made and the diminutive front man was in behind and bearing down on goal when he was basically rugby tackled from behind by Jim Lauchlan who almost pulled the shorts off of him! There was no doubt at all that a penalty would be given and Lauchlan was lucky in my view only to see yellow for it. I'm not sure how much more clear cut the goalscoring opportunity could have been for him to have seen red? In any event Annan's Colin McMenamin despatched the penalty past Corr comfortably.

Ten minutes before the interval it should have been four as Graham picked out McMenamin with a wonderful ball and the striker clipped the ball over Corr but wide of the target from 18 yards. On 41 minutes Queens best chance of the match saw Weir latch onto a ball over the top that held up in the wind and force a super reaction stop out of Alan Main from 15 yards and fortunately for the home side Chris Innes was first to the loose ball with an acrobatic clearance.

Queens defend
Ian McCall made a half time tactical switch with Warren Moon introduced in place of Scott McKenzie. That meant Swift dropping into the back three with Lauchlan at sweeper and Paton switching over to right wing back again. Gretna were still doing all the attacking though and the half was only three minutes old when Paartalu broke through a challenge and set up Skelton for a shot from outside the box which gave Corr work to do. Five minutes later Queens were forced to make a second change when Neil Scally failed to run off a knock he'd picked up and club captain Jim Thomson replaced him. That meant another re-shuffle with Willie Gibson switching to right wingback from left, Paton going into the middle where Scally had been and Des McCaffrey moving to left wing back from his central defensive position.

On 55 minutes David Graham ran rings round Jim Lauchlan before playing the ball to Gavin Skelton in front of goal. The Cumbrian really should have scored himself and surely could have done but he played the ball back to Graham and the former Cleyholer took a bad first touch which allowed Corr to claim the ball. A minute later, on a rare foray forward, Queens earned a free kick for a foul on Weir and from the resulting restart the former Hearts man hammered the ball goalward. Sadly his efforts didn't pay the same dividends as last week, though it did force a decent save again from Main. Seconds later though Graham again was the problem man as he shot from a tight angle but failed to fool Corr. On the hour a cross-shot was flicked onto the bar and over by Corr as Gretna continued to push for more goals.

On 62 minutes Moon got a rare opening at the other end and from the edge of the box he really should have done better than to lash a shot just over the top but a minute later Willie Gibson produced a wonderful last ditch challenge to deny Gavin Skelton a certain 4th goal. The 4th was delayed only short while though and arrived on 69 minutes. A ball into the middle of the park found Eric Paartalu with enough time and space to leather a drive from twenty odd yards into the bottom left corner before Corr could react to it.

On 72 minutes McCall made his final change introducing O'Connor in place of Weir but two minutes later the scoring was completed when Townsley's ball over the top caused more trouble in the Queens back line. Colin McMenamin went for the ball along with Thomson and Lauchlan and somehow emerged with it before looping a shot over the helpless Corr and into the top left corner.

Gretna replaced Townsley with Jenkins before the restart and almost added a 6th straight away with Graham's shot only being blocked by a last ditch effort. On 76 minutes, with the game clearly won, Rowan Alexander had the luxury of replacing his front pair of McMenamin and Graham with Deuchar and Grady. Queens final effort of the day came in 82 minutes when Sean O'Connor managed to turn a shot goalward but Main was again equal to the task. As time wound down Gavin Skelton picked up a daft booking for his reaction to two successive Queens throws and then Willie Gibson got a similarly stupid one for back chat after an admittedly ridiculously soft free kick had been given against him and for Tosh. In between times Corr managed to make a wonderful reaction save from Grady's point blank header.

So a disastrous result and poor performance. Even in the conditions the clearly better side won the game and the only good thing to come out of the day (other than Lauchlan somehow avoiding a red card) was Airdrie's late defeat at Hamilton meaning we remain off the bottom and in the playoff position. We need to revert to the home form against a Dundee side who had a good result today at Palmerston next week.

Ewan Lithgow
Photo - David Gow

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