At the end of the day Queens picked up the Scottish Brewers Trophy for a 4th time in 5 attempts and kept up our unbeaten record in the competition other than on penalties but after yesterday's 'Lord Mayor's Show' against Ayr this was much poorer fare. Stranraer left out two of their best performers from yesterday in Tade and Keogh but still controlled the game for long periods although the longer the game went on the more Queens got on top. If anyone went along expecting wholesale changes in the Queens line up they were to be surprised because Chis went for a similar side with only 4 changes from yesterday's starting line up. As expected Stephen Grindley replaced Jamie MacDonald in goal and Neil Scally came into midfield fro Scott Robertson. The other two changes were at centre half where Andy Aitken and Trialist Carl Jones were selected instead of Lauchlan and Neil McGowan from yesterday. Another Trialist on the bench was young Graham Eaglesham though he didn't get on.
The first half was far from action packed and to tell the truth Stranraer were on top for most of it. John Kane forced a save from Grindley after being left unmarked at a corner before on 20 minutes Andy Gibson curled a shot from the left corner of the penalty area over the top right corner via a deflection off the cross bar. That proved to be just a sighter as Queens failed to heed the warning a minute later. From slightly further out Andy Gibson unleashed an identical curling effort that didn't give Grindley any chance as it found its way to the postage stamp top right corner.
A minute later Queens showed their abilities for the first time as Steve Tosh got in behind the back four but the ball bounced up awkwardly on the hard surface and his header across the face of goal was cleared. Before the interval Ian Cashmore and Stephen Dobbie each had decent efforts miss target but the interval was reached with Stranraer holding a surprise but deserved one goal lead.
Queens made two changes at the interval in a bid to inject some urgency. John O'Neill and Scott Robertson replaced Dobbie and Scally which meant Bingham moving further forward. Stranraer meanwhile brought on Jamie Donnelly for Ryan Caddis.
Sean pressurises the Stranraer defence
Three minutes in and Queens created their first chance of the half as O'Connor knocked down for McFarlane to shoot high over the bar. A minute later though Donnelly seized on an error by Tosh to force a decent low save from Grindley. On 54 minutes Paton curled a free kick over the bar also as Queens began to exert territorial advantage but by and large failed to trouble Allan Ferguson unduly. The equaliser finally arrived in the 65th minute when Andy Aitken's big clearance was misjudged by John Kane and Sean O'Connor escaped behind the back line. The ball sat up perfectly fro the big striker to lift over Ferguson and into the net from the edge of the penalty area.
Two minutes later Stranraer introduced former Queens player Stuart McColm up front in place of Derek Anderson and in 72 minutes Queens made their third switch when Burns replaced McFarlane. The change almost paid immediate dividends when Burns made the bye-line and cut back across the face of goal where only a super last ditch challenge by McLaughlin denied John O'Neill a goal. Seconds later Bingham and Robertson carved Stranraer open down the other side and this time Ferguson denied O'Connor at his near post with a point blank block. Stranraer brought on Beggs for McKinstrey before Robertson on a burst through missed what proved to be the last decent chance of the game when he hammered over the bar from 12 yards.
There's no extra time in the Annan Tournament so it was straight to penalties and in the end the defining moment of the shoot out happened straight away as Stephen Grindley moved sharply to his right to parry Andy Gibson's effort. John O'Neill hammered Queens' first high down the middle before Danny Mitchell, Steve Tosh and Ian Cashmore all buried their kicks in the bottom left corner. David Bingham was next up and first to go to the right side of the goal with his unstoppable effort. Steven Bonnar equalised again for Stranraer before Eric Paton re-established the lead, both kicks again to the bottom left corner. Jamie Donnelly then had to score to keep Stranraer in things and duly did so to the right of the goal although Grindley was unlucky to almost dive over the ball. That left all the pressure on Sean O'Connor but the big striker was equal to the task despite the banter from Annan's PA man Henry McClelland as he walked up to take the kick. Sean beat Allan Ferguson to that popular bottom right corner again to clinch the cup.
Grindley saves the spot kick
And Sean nets the decisive penalty
That only left the formalities to deal with. Stranraer's Andy Gibson was awarded the player of the tournament despite his penalty miss in the final whilst a special presentation of yesterday's match ball was made to Stephen Dobbie for his double hat-trick before Andy Aitken collected the trophy for Queens.
Mission accomplished - Cup retained
Earlier on in the day Ayr United had despatched the hosts 5-1 to take third spot.
Report - Ewan Lithgow
Photographs - Sandy Robertson