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STRANRAER 0 : 0 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 17th September 2005
Rating: 7.12
Rating: 7.03
Rating: 7.00
Rating: 6.53
Rating: 6.33
Rating: 5.48
Rating: 5.73
Rating: 6.27
Rating: 5.82
Rating: 4.79
Rating: 7.93
S1 - 85
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.
The first ever Dumfries & Galloway Division One derby match produced a damp squib of a clash and a scoreless draw which probably, in the circumstances, kept both managers relatively happy. Iain Scott sprang a pre-match surprise by bringing in Colin Scott in place of Richie Barnard in goal whilst Stuart Lovell was the perhaps surprising replacement for the injured Derek Lyle with Brian McLaughlin playing a more advanced role alongside John O'Neill and Eric Paton taking the spare slot on the bench. Stranraer's Neil Watt also rang some changes with Andy Dowie unavailable through injury and Gary Higgins, Ian Ross and Leigh Hinds all dropped to the bench, perhaps with this week's cup tie against Aberdeen in mind.

Queens made a fine start and John O'Neill tested Corr in the opening minute with a decent effort from 20 yards which had the former Motherwell man scrambling across goal to smother. Two minutes later, from a left sided corner, Gary Wood's back post header across goal was almost turned home by McLaughlin but cleared away from the line by a home defender. Queens continued to hold the upper hand for the opening ten minutes and in the 11th minute we had the bizarre sight of Willie Gibson getting himself booked for retaliation after he was fouled just outside the home box. The free kick came to nothing though.

It took 20 minutes before Stranraer found their feet in the game but thereafter they probably held the upper hand possession-wise at least for the remainder of the game. Their first effort at goal actually came from a free kick on halfway given away by Gary Wood. The long ball hit into the box was missed by everyone and almost went straight in. Back up the other end though and a good move down the right side saw Paul Burns cross met in the middle by a glancing header from Willie Gibson that flew wide of target. On the half hour mark Jim Thomson won a challenge on the edge of his own box but the ball ran to full back Stephen Swift who hit an exocet toward the top left corner which looked destined to break the deadlock until Colin Scott flew to tip it onto the bar and over. A fabulous save but incredibly referee Kenny Clark failed to notice it and awarded a goal kick.

I feel obliged to mention the half-time "entertainment" which saw quite the worst set of cheerleaders I've ever seen run through a dreadful routine in some horrible weather. Fair play to them though, they may have been poor at the dancing but they certainly got into the derby spirit, waving as they were cards with the message "Queens Suck" on them!

Gibson and Hill in action
The second half was much duller fare in general but in 54 minutes Queens had a let off when Dene Shields cut in from the right side and struck a cross off Stuart Hill's left arm. Fortunately Mr Clark saw fit to award only a corner. That was Shields last action as a minute later he was replaced by Leigh Hinds. On the hour mark a fine run by McLaughin ended with a shot clipped over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty area. Two minutes later though, from a right sided cross, Michael Moore finally won a header for the first time all game and sent the ball back across the face of goal and just past the right post. In the 72nd minute though Gibson set up Steve Bowey for a shot at goal which had Corr moving sharply but went just over the crossbar. A minute later the home side should have taken the lead. Allan Jenkins went on a fine run, beating several Queens defenders before Gary Wood won the ball off him. The loose ball fell to Jim Thomson but he gave it away to Leigh Hinds again and Hinds stood a fine cross up to the far post which really ought to have been converted by one of the three Stranraer players in the immediate area.

If Stranraer could have won it in 73 minutes then Queens could have done so three minutes later. A fine ball slid into McLaughlin in the penalty area was cut back to Stuart Lovell who seemed certain to score from 18 yards out only for Barry John Corr to fly to his left and parry wide for a corner. In 84 minutes it was Stranraer's turn to go close again. A right sided corner was headed goalward, possibly by Swift, and cleared off the line by Paul Burns at the post. The loose ball was hammered back in by Keddie and smothered on the line by the impressive Scott.

With five minutes remaining Iain Scott made is first and only change when Eric Paton replaced Stuart Lovell, with Burns moving into central midfield. A minute later Paton could even have won the game when he found himself on the end of a Paul Burns hanging cross from the left with a six yard box header but he got well under the ball and skied it. In injury time Stuart Hill only half won a header with Moore and Jenkins burst onto the loose ball. Jim Thomson came cannoning into a challenge which got no ball and was a stonewall booking which duly appeared. The free kick came to naught though and the game finished scoreless.

The points tally was doubled then but the goals tally remains at just one from six matches and we remain bottom of the division, albeit a point closer to Brechin than we were at kick off. Next week remains a crucial game at home to Hamilton.

Ewan Lithgow

Photograph courtesy Queen of the South Mad

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