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QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 3 : 2 St JOHNSTONE 15th April 2006
Rating: 6.37
Rating: 6.33
Rating: 6.99
Rating: 6.75
Rating: 5.76
Rating: 5.88
Rating: 5.93
Rating: 5.12
Rating: 6.07
Rating: 6.87
Rating: 8.22
S1 - 23
Rating: 6.24
S2 - 55
Rating: 5.48
S3 - 73
Rating: 5.17
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.
There wasn't much missing from this match, penalty kicks, masses of bookings for the visitors, a sending off, lots of action, plenty of goals and to cap it all a win for Queens and a defeat for Stranraer giving us a four point lead over our south west neighbours with only six left to play for.

Ian McCall sent out a side with only two personnel changes form last time out. Steve Bowey dropped to the bench, Gary Wood moved over to cover the left side of midfield and more importantly as it would turn out to cover the dangerous Martin Hardie whilst Eric Paton was restored to the starting eleven. Also making his first start on his return was Sean O'Connor who displaced Derek Lyle, the 'Tan man' settling for a seat on the bench. The bench itself saw Sean Dillon's place go to Tommy English.

Fortunately both sides had something to play for in this game, Queens scrapping for every point possible whilst St Johnstone still had a faint hope of catching St Mirren if they could win every game and the buddies lose all of theirs.. The result was a match that saw two sides determined to win and some good football mixed in amongst the effort.

It was Queens that threatened first with Graham Weir shooting for goal from a Sean O'Connor knock down on ten minutes, former Carlisle United goalkeeper Matty Glennon saw the effort late and could only block the effort, however there was no other Queens forward close to the spilled ball and the danger was cleared. Stuart Lovell almost opened the scoring a few minutes later, fortunately though he was just off target or it would have been a spectacular headed own goal from a Goran Stanic cross from the left.

O'Connor and James at full stretch
Graham Weir looked to be hauled down in the penalty area as he chased down a Sean O'Connor through ball, however much to everyone's amazement the referee waved the claims away - initially, however his assistant referee was directly in line with the incident and his flag remained aloft. After a moment or two's discussion the assistant had made his point and the referee pointed to the spot. John O'Neill had no problem as he usually does in stroking the ball into the net despite the best attempts of Glennon.

The ball flies under Glennon from O'Neil's penalty kick
Seconds later and Gary Wood was left holding the inside of his thigh following a clash with Martin Hardie, the referee was closer than most people and had no hesitation in holding aloft the red card and sending the striker from the pitch. Oddly enough it was also to signify the end of Gary Woods's game as his role up until then had been to man mark Hardie. The versatile Wood was not best pleased to be substituted five minutes later with Steve Bowey taking up the midfield berth.

Saints seemed to be in self-destruct mode around this time, with the penalty, bookings and a sending off and then to make matters worse for them a Sean O'Connor shot was only half cleared by Kevin James and picked up by Graham Weir, the diminutive front man fairly smashed the ball from an angle past Glennon and into the net to make it 2-0 for Queens.

Weir hammers home from an impossible angle
Queens looked as though they were certs to take the points at this point, 2-0 up and playing against 10 men. But no, a moment of brilliance from Jason Scotland as he single handedly made and setup a goal scoring chance for Kevin James to convert on thirty nine minutes. The nippy World Cup star had run around the back of Jim Thomson, along the goal line and placed the ball onto the toe of James who had the easiest of tasks to poke it home.

Maybe then if Queens could settle down and take the 2-1 lead in at half-time, but no it was the home sides turn to self-destruct as Eric Paton just couldn't seem to clear a ball in the heart of the box, Paul Sheerin knew what to do with it though and he pulled it one way then the other and fired past Barnard to put the home fans heads in their hands just as the half time whistle was approaching.

The second half started with the ten men of St Johnstone looking to press Queens back into their own half as much as possible. Queens made an early substitution with Sean O'Connor being replaced by Derek Lyle. Quarter of an hour in and Willie Gibson let loose a long diagonal ball that John O'Neill looked like just about latching on to but the linesmans flag was up in any case as O'Neill stretched but didn't connect.

Aitken looks for a flick on
The main threat to Queens in the early stages of the second period was not Scotland but No. 2 Ryan Stevenson who was proving a handful on both the left and right side of the box every time he stole forward. Queens though were not spent as an attacking force and when a throw-in was flicked on by Jim Thomson to the back post Derek Lyle had two chances to score, both though he could only blast straight at Matty Glennon.

Then came a bit of luck for Queens as Kevin James headed the ball backwards toward Glennon, unfortunately for the big man Glennon was off his line as as soon as it left his head there was only one place it was going - straight into the back of the net 3-2 Queens.

Big Kevin wasn't too pleased!
There then followed a nervy few closing minutes interrupted only by the frequent bookings of the not so Saintly visitors and a late free-kick that seemed to be set up for ever and then finally played weekly into the wall by Scotland.

The final whistle went to the delight of the home fans and players alike and with the news that Stranraer had lost things looked not to bad.

The penalty, the own goal and the crowd - from David Gow on the terraces.
It's up to Brechin next week for a game where we could secure our first division status - a large crowd is expected.

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