The first part of the Broadwood double header ended in a disappointing defeat on a wet day in Cumbernauld. The Queens support was reduced a little on the day, partly due to a few of the notables having gone over to Iceland for the International game and partly due to the Travel Club bus failing to turn up, leaving thirty or so fans stranded in Dumfries. Most of them made it up eventually via cars and an Arnold Clark minibus but question will have to be asked of and answered by Gibson's in respect of the unsatisfactory service. Back to the football though and those who did make it to the game would not have been surprised to see the same eleven on the field for the third game running. There were returns to the subs bench though for Colin Scott and Alan Gray in place of Stuart Robertson and Eric Paton.
It was the home side who created the first chance of the afternoon when Steve Bowey conceded a free kick in the middle of the park after just two minutes. The kick was floated into the box and headed comfortably over the bar by player-boss Alan Kernaghan from about 10 yards out, though he really should have done better unchallenged. On five minutes, Queens had their first chance when John O'Neill had a shot from outside the box charged down and the ball broke for Paul Shields standing on the 18 yard line. Shields struck a fine effort which was well tipped round the post by former Wimbledon 'keeper Bryn Halliwell in the home goal. From the resulting corner kick, John O'Neill headed wide of target. Back up the other end though after 11 minutes and Colin Nish freed Leigh Hinds to shoot at goal on the run from outside the penalty area again. Hinds' effort was on target but didn't have the pace to trouble Goram low to his right.
The breakthrough came on 21 minutes. Joe McAlpine sent a fairly poor cross into the box beyond Derek Lyle. However, two home defenders got in each other's way trying to head clear and the ball dropped to Peter Weatherson to volley from the edge of the area. His shot flew narrowly wide of the right post having been deflected. Joe McAlpine trotted over to take the kick and delivered perfectly to the back post area where Jim Thomson finally delivered the set piece goal we've all been waiting for from him, heading into the bottom left corner past the despairing Halliwell. Queens were keen to capitalise on the advantage and, five minutes later, a short back-pass saw Halliwell only narrowly beat John O'Neill to the ball. His clearance spun back off the midfielder and, fortunately for the "Bully Wee", spun wide of the post too. On the half hour we missed a gilt edged chance to double the lead. Peter Weatherson caught a defender in possession and swapped passes with Shields before bursting into the penalty box. However, eight yards out and with just the 'keeper to beat, he lashed his effort well over the bar when a little composure was needed; not like Peter at all.
Clyde tried to fight back though and Derek Anderson was forced into a tremendous tackle to block a good cross ball in 34 minutes, with Jim Thomson heading over his own bar to complete the clearance. The resulting corner saw Paul Kane strike wide of the post from 20 yards with Goram stranded at the other side of goal. In 41 minutes Goram was able to comfortably catch a long range effort from Jack Ross. Just before half time Shields broke up the left side and fed in the overlapping Bowey. Bowser's shot from the corner of the penalty box was acrobatically tipped past the post by Halliwell again. Jim Thomson again won the header from the resulting corner but headed wide this time. There was just time before the break for Pat Keogh to pick up the game's first booking for a late challenge on Steve Bowey.
The home side made a half time change, bringing on John Fraser for Leigh Hinds and the change very nearly paid immediate dividends when Fraser broke up the right and crossed for Jack Ross to slice wide of goal from about 8 yards out with the goal gaping. A minute later, Derek Lyle robbed John Potter and found himself one on one with Alan Kernaghan. The veteran though is still a good defender and guided Lyle out wide before deflecting his shot wide of goal too. However, things were about to go pear shaped for Queens. The equaliser arrived on 51 minutes and started from a free kick on the halfway line. The ball was played up to Nish on the edge of the box and he held it up well before slipping the ball to Fraser running wide right. The hanging cross was powerfully headed into the back of the net by Alan Kernaghan who climbed above Jim Thomson. If that was bad, worse was to follow as Clyde struck again within a minute. This time Bowey was forced to concede a free kick right on the edge of the penalty area on the right trying to stop an opponent from running past him. The goal was simplicity itself with the cross just swung in to the back post again and Pat Keogh this time rising above Thomson to head home.
In the 55th minute came the game's major talking point. Andy Millen lost control of the ball near the touchline and Robbie Neilson managed to win it cleanly. Millen though launched himself into a challenge on the Hearts full back and both players were hurt as a result. John O'Neill was clearly incensed by the challenge and "had words" with the prone Clyde player before players from both sides became involved in calming the scene down. The referee, Charlie Richmond, was well placed to have seen the challenge closely though and, after a couple of minutes treatment to both players, he issued a straight red card to Millen as soon as he got up. Neilson was able to continue after treatment but was harshly booed by the home crowd for the remainder of the game.
Clyde decided to shut up shop with their reduced numbers and play on the break for the rest of the game and, to be honest, we rarely looked like breaking them down. In the 75th minute we appeared to have a strong claim for a penalty when Paul Shields seemed to be shoved off the ball in trying to get to a long ball forward from Thomson. A minute later, John Connolly threw on Brian McLaughlin in place of Derek Anderson, a sensible move as Clyde were playing with just one up against the three man defence. In 81 minutes, a Neilson long throw was half cleared out to John O'Neill whose shot was deflected and spun towards the bottom left corner of goal but the pace had been taken off enough to allow Halliwell time to get across his goal and gather. Two minutes later Connolly withdrew Paul Shields and introduced Alan Gray, with McLaughlin pushing forward to partner Lyle. With a couple of minutes remaining Bowey struck a shot from 20 yards following a corner but, though he kept it on target, he failed to get sufficient power to trouble the goalkeeper. Seconds later, a McLaughlin cross fizzed along the six yard line with Lyle just failing to get a toe on the ball. In the 89th minute, Neilson struck a fierce drive from 25 yards which Halliwell did well to parry away from goal. The rebound was launched back into the box and Thomson headed back across goal where O'Neill, Lyle and Bowey almost seemed to get in each others way before the latter made space to shoot but his effort screwed over the bar from seven yards out.
This wasn't a great performance by any means and we certainly seemed to lack the ability to trouble Clyde after they got their noses in front and sat back on the lead. However, we didn't play particularly badly and should certainly have been at least another goal in front at the interval, which might have made all the difference. On such narrow margins points can be won or lost. It's back to Broadwood next weekend for the Challenge Cup Final and we'll be looking for a better result next time.