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QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 1 : 1 NEWCASTLE UNITED
12th July 2003
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The pre-season got off to an impressive start today as Queens and a young Newcastle United side served up a lively display to please the superb crowd of almost 1400 that turned up.
Queens started with a strong line-up that had Mark Canning, formerly with Kilmarnock as a trialist in midfield and new signings John Dodds and Alex Burke all starting the game. On the bench were, Stuart Robertson, back training with the side again, new signings Emillio Jaconelli, Sandy Hodge and Paul Talbot with trialists Ryan Davidson, previously at Hearts, David Bagan, formerly of Kilmarnock and Inverness CT and Craig Coates formerly of Manchester United and Wimbledon as the new faces.
The game was much more lively than previous pre-season openers and the visitors played their part as they demonstrated their fitness in terms of speed and skilful control of the ball. The Queens side was a strong one and it didn't take too long before an opening was made as Willie Gibson showed great skill down the left to set up Derek Lyle with first a header and then a shot on goal early on.
Newcastle also looked hungry with both Ferrell and O'Brien looking impressive for them. Ferrell bursting through on the quarter hour and shooting high over the bar. It was Queens though that had the best chance of the opening twenty-five minutes as Alex Burke was clean through on the 'keeper but just couldn't shape the ball around Collin in the Magpies goal.
It was to be Newcastle that opened the scoring however as Craig Bates found space to create a chance on the edge of the box and took the opportunity to curl an effort around Dodds and into the goal to make it 1-0 to the Geordies.
The lead was not to last though as Eric Paton stepped up for a free-kick on the edge of the visitors box only a few minutes later. He displayed the quality that we will be looking for this season as he beat the wall and the 'keeper all ends up to nestle the ball in the back of the net to square the game at 1-1.
Patons effort beats the 'keeper and levels the score
The equaliser spurred Queens on and Paton could have scored a second a couple of minutes later but his effort was pushed away, the follow up from Willie Gibson screwing well wide.
The second-half saw no fewer than five changes to the Queens side, Hodge swapped with McAlpine, Jaconelli with O'Connor, Canning with Bagan and McColligan with Allan although the change here was really Paton into midfield and Allan to right back, add to this a couple of Newcastle substitutions in the early stages of the second half. This upset the rhythm of the match and it took a while before things settled down again.
The game was now being run by Eric Paton in a second half midfield role, it was he who almost scored his and Queens second as he shot just over from a Jaconelli lay-off, in the sixty fifth minute it was Paton again who wanted just too much time to tee up an effort and then saw the ball taken off his foot as he was about to strike.
Queens fans were buzzing moments later as Paton again set-up Bagan and the former Inverness man struck a thirty-five yard shot off the bar. Ten minutes later and Paton again had a hand in the move that sent Alex Burke clean through onto goal but just as he was about to strike the ball was whipped off his toes and cleared from the danger area.
With five minutes to go Bagan almost won the game for Queens as he struck another effort this time from a mere thirty yards that struck the junction of the post and bar and bounced clear.
That was about the sum of things today and both managers will be pleased that their sides took part in a competitive match today that will have helped their match fitness.