If last weekend at Inverness wasn't exactly action packed then the third leg of our three long journeys in a row was even more typical end of season fare. This was generally dull stuff to be fair and, whilst Queens certainly were the better side compared to our doomed opponents, who fended off relegation for another week with their point, we never really put them under much concerted pressure. There were three changes to the team which lost narrowly at Inverness last weekend with McLaughlin, Paton and O'Neill replacing Atkinson, Lyle and Weatherson in the starting line up, the latter three having to make do with seats on the bench. That meant Joe McAlpine returning to his original left back position to accommodate McLaughlin in front of him.
The first disappointment for most Queens fans was the complete lack of any programmes when they entered the ground. Apparently Arbroath had encountered "printing problems" and had only managed to print 60 in total, very few of which went on public sale. I have to thank a certain individual, who shall remain nameless but you know who you are, for ensuring that my own collection which covers every first team game since 1991 remained intact.
It was the eighth minute before anything of note happened on the pitch but that really should have seen Queens take the lead when Brian McColligan crossed into the box from a left sided free-kick and Derek Allan rose virtually unchallenged to head beyond Hinchcliffe but against the post and the rebound was scrambled clear. A minute later Allan turned provider to set up O'Neill but his chipped effort from the edge of the box was caught on the line by the back-pedalling home 'keeper. After 15 minutes Sean O'Connor won a header on the halfway line, collected the ball himself and powered through the home defence towards goal before shooting over the top from the edge of the penalty area.
In the 21st minute came the game's major talking point. Steve Bowey burst out of midfield to get on the end of a punt over the top of the defence. O'Connor was clearly yards offside but ran the opposite way and Bowey was allowed to go on towards goal. He was then unceremoniously dumped to the ground by Craig Hinchcliffe about ten yards outside his box, slightly left of centre. It really looked a "stonewall" red card offence but referee Craig Thomson allowed the 'keeper the benefit of any doubt and showed only a yellow card. The resultant free kick came to nothing.
Arbroath made their first serious effort on goal in the 24th minute when a corner kick "pinballed" around in the box before Joe McAlpine lashed it away from his own line. Queens were soon back in the ascendancy though and had a strong penalty appeal turned down on 36 minutes after a flowing move. Scott played the ball out to Paton who played it up to O'Connor before it was moved on to Bowey bursting into the box. The midfielder was challenged from behind and went to ground but Mr Thomson awarded only a corner. A minute later Derek Allan's right sided cross flashed across the face of goal, missed by O'Connor and turned behind by a defender just in front of O'Neill at the back post. On 41 minutes another break forward saw O'Connor feed McLaughlin on the edge of the box and he drew the defence before passing sideways to Paton on the right side of the box but his shot was blocked by a defender before it could cause Hinchcliffe any problems. As the home side broke clear with the ball, Brian McColligan pulled back his opponent on halfway and was duly booked as a result. In the final action of the half, McLaughlin's cross was headed narrowly over the bar by Paton from 12 yards out with Hinchcliffe wrong-footed and stranded.
The home side made a half-time switch with Farquharson replacing Florence. Queens were first to show again five minutes into the half with Bowey and O'Neill both having shots charged down from a right sided corner before O'Connor had an effort saved by Hinchcliffe. Immediately up the other end though and a right sided cross was cleared over his own bar by Jim Thomson with Scott struggling to get there. Two minutes later it was Scott who made a great interception of a deep cross before Andy Cargill could get on the end of it.
Our best chance came in the 57th minute. O'Neill went up for a header just inside the Arbroath half and seemed to be fouled but, as the ball broke to McLaughlin, Mr Thomson waved an advantage on and the winger split the defence with a great ball which left O'Connor clean through on goal. His finish wasn't up to the job though and Hinchcliffe was able to block with his legs. The loose ball broke back to McLaughlin on the edge of the box though and he chipped it to the top right corner only to see the 'keeper make another acrobatic save.
Both managers then decided to change their personnel around with Brownlie bringing on Graham and McGlashan for McMullen and Cargill and Connolly replacing Paton and O'Connor with Weatherson and Lyle. Five minutes later Lyle very nearly broke the deadlock, picking up a pass from McLaughlin, cutting inside and shooting from 25 yards out. The ball flashed past Hinchcliffe before he even moved but struck the post and bounced clear. With fifteen minutes to go Greg Henslee glanced a header wide of goal after a good cross by Heenan as Arbroath pushed forward again. With six minutes left, young Paul Burns got another taste of the first team action replacing Brian McColligan but there was no further action of note.