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QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 3 : 0 ARBROATH 18th March 2003
Rating: 6.76
Rating: 6.81
Rating: 7.19
Rating: 7.04
Rating: 6.91
Rating: 7.79
Rating: 7.32
Rating: 6.74
Rating: 6.45
Rating: 8.08
S1 1
Rating: 7.27
S1 - 62
Rating: 6.19
S2 - 69
Rating: 6.08
S3 - 84
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The side tonight certainly had a fresh look about it after Saturday with some forced changes and some re-jigging throughout the line-up. At the back Andy Aitken moved into his favoured central defensive berth as Derek Anderson missed out through injury, this freed a space at left-back for Paddy Atkinson to return from injury and the right back position was given to Steve Renicks at the expense of Derek Allan who had to be content with a seat on the bench. The midfield too appeared much more balanced than Saturday as Eric Paton started on the right and Brian McLaughlin on the left, Ben Dawson was the other change as the young Geordie made his Queens debut alongside Steve Bowey in place of the injured Brian McColligan. Upfront saw a further change as John O'Neill partnered Sean O'Connor for this match. The final change was on the bench as Under 18's star Paul Burns made his debut for the first team.

The match itself turned out to be a relatively one-sided affair with Queens dominating for most of the ninety minutes. Their intentions were made clear early on as John O'Neill cannoned a shot off the underside of the bar in only eight minutes, the ball came down well on the safe side but the follow-up header by Sean O'Connor was comfortably collected by the Arbroath man of the match Craig Hinchcliffe.

Andy Aitken showed a moment of sperb skill as he played a ball almost from the edge of his own box onto the toe of Eric Paton almost on the edge of the Arbroath box, the effort by Paton however was almost as poor as Andy's was good as Eric crossed high and wide of the goals.

A goal was overdue but it eventually did come for Queens on fourteen minutes following a couple of corners, the second corner from the right was taken short by Paddy Atkinson to Eric Paton, Paddy got the ball back and swung it onto the head of John O'Neill who was on hand to bullet past 'keeper Hinchcliffe.

O'Neill heads the opener (screw your eyes up, it looks a lot better!!)

Brian McLaughlin was next to threaten as Queens were encamped in the Arbroath half, the diminutive winger almost lobbing the ball into the net but having just too much on it this time. There was controversy a few minutes later as Eric Paton appeared to be bundled to the ground in the box but the referee waved play on.

Arbroath then had their best effort of the game as they were allowed a free header in the box and would have scored was it not for the well placed boot of Steven Renicks who managed to block the effort and clear it away from danger. It was right back Renicks who within minutes found himself on the edge of the visitors box and who rifled a shot goalward, Hinchcliffe this time spilled the effort and John O'Neill managed to take the ball off him, however the 'keeper did enough to block the resulting shot from O'Neill as the top scorer looked to increase his tally.

Jim Thomson almost found himslef on the scoresheet again this week in the thirty sixth minute as he rose to head a corner from the left down toward goals, Hinchcliffe though produced another fine stop to keep the score at 1-0. The second goal was not too long coming though as good work on the edge of the box by O'Neill set up Sean O'Connor the big striker turned and shot past the stranded 'keeper to make the score at half time 2-0.

Arbroath came out for the second half and looked fdangerous for the first few minutes of the half, however it wasn't long before normal service was resumed as Bowser struck what looked like a goal all the way from the edge of the box that Hinchcliffe somehow managed to throw himself at to push it away from the top left hand corner of the goal.

Sean O'Connor appeared to pick up a slight knock and his replacement with Derek Lyle on sixty-two minutes appeared more cautionary than anything else. Nine minutes later and Joe McAlpine replaced Brian McLaughlin on the left as Queens looked to inject some more pace into the match. The effect was almost immediate as Joe made a dash down the wing and crossed to Eric Paton on the far side, Eric's effort was blocke inadvertently by Derek Lyle, however the front man managed to turn and fire his effort towards goal, Hinchcliffe again manageing to pull-off a save.

The third goal was not long in coming and stemmed from a Derek Lyle run down the left and superb shot that the 'keeper this time could only parry, it was John O'Neill that was on the end of the ball this time and he burried it from twelve yards to complete the scoring.

The final point to note in the game was the introduction of Under 18's starlet Paul Burns, the youngster played eight minutes or so and showed some nice touches in that time in particular a cross field run that saw him send in an excellent cross that just missed the toes of both Lyle and O'Neill.

In summary the game was well won by a Queens side that never looked in any real danger of losing the match, the refreshed look seemed to re-charge some of the players that have not been regular starters and they will have all made a claim for a first team spot this Saturday at Dingwall.

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