This was much better fare than our recent games have been. Two sides always looking to attack, end to end stuff, four goals, four penalty incidents and a sending off! I'm sure that both sets of fans went home thinking they could have won the match but not altogether unhappy with a point.
With goalkeeper Colin Scott recovered from the injury sustained against Forfar last week, John Connolly made two changes from the team that started that match. In came John O'Neill to start in midfield in place of the injured Derek Allan with Alan Grey dropping into the right sided centre back role and Gordon Connelly dropping to right wing back. Up front former Brechin and Stirling striker Craig Feroz came in as a trialist in place of Alan Hogg.
The tone was set from the early stages and the game was only two minutes old when Feroz broke up the right and centred. The ball was headed out of the box but half-volleyed narrowly wide right by Warren Hawke. Straight up the other end and Allan Moore went similarly close to the left post with a shot from twenty yards out. However, despite some positive play from both sides, chances were few and far between in the early stages. Right on the half hour mark John O'Neill clearly felt that he was pushed over on the edge of the Morton box but didn't get a free kick. His response was a heavy challenge on the clearing defender and a booking which would become much more relevant later.
Pretty much out of nothing, Queens took the lead in the 40th minute. The ball found it's way to Warren Hawke on the right wing and he turned in towards the penalty area. As he ran into the right corner of the box he was upended by a clumsy challenge and, after a moment of hesitation, referee Dougie Smith pointed to the spot. John O'Neill did his customary job and rammed the ball high down the middle of the goal.
There were no changes in either team at half time and, in the 52nd minute came the second potential penalty incident. A long cross was played in from the Queens right beyond the left post. Peter Weatherson was there and headed back towards the penalty spot but the ball was clearly blocked by the flailing arm of a defender. The Queens players protested to Mr Smith but he waved the protests away. To rub salt in the wound, from their next attack Morton equalised. The move went down the left and somehow a forward broke through wide heading towards goal. Colin Scott came out to meet him and looked favourite to get there first but his clearance struck the striker and fell back to Earth in Morton's favour. The striker (I'm not sure who it was) kept his composure and picked out John Gibson on the edge of the box. The midfielder also kept his composure well and, with Scott stranded but two defenders on the line, steered a shot into the top right corner of the net.
In the 64th minute came one of those seldom seen sights; a player was applauded off by both sets of fans. That man was Warren Hawke, still idolised by Morton fans following his time there, who had picked up a knock. He was replaced by Mark Patterson.
Four minutes later, Queens so nearly re-took the lead. A good move down the left saw Paddy Atkinson cross towards the back post. Gordon Connelly arrived to volley goalward but Coyle in the Morton goal managed to block with his legs. As Morton broke clear following this, Graham Connell was booked for a foul on Allan Moore. Stephen Frail hit the resulting free kick narrowly high and wide of the left post. Back up the other end and a fine run to the goal-line and pull back from Gordon Connelly couldn't quite be forced home by the combined efforts of Weatherson and Feroz.
With quarter of an hour to go, one time Queens defender Ally McMillan came on as a sub for Morton (with Stewart Greacen in the centre of their defence and Derek Kelly still their physio there were some familiar faces around) and it was he who had a hand in the next major incident with just four minutes remaining. A corner kick from the right was headed part of the way clear towards the edge of Morton's penalty area. Mark Patterson was underneath waiting for the ball to come down when he was barrelled over by McMillan. It was the sort of challenge which routinely results in a free kick on the halfway line but rarely sees anything given in the penalty area. This was one of those rare occasions and Mr Smith awarded us our second penalty of the day. As per usual, John O'Neill was deadly from the spot, this time to the bottom right corner of the net.
Back came the Greenock side though and in their next attack they seemed to have a very similar shout for a penalty from a Jim Thomson challenge. Fortunately Mr Smith was in no mood to even things out and waved the appeals away. However, Morton were not to be denied their point and, with two minutes remaining and the defence standing off just a little, Allan Reid struck an absolute screamer past Scott from all of 25 yards out. In the aftermath of the goal, the ball ended up at the feet of John O'Neill in the middle of the park. Unfortunately he chose to vent his frustration by lashing it into the crowd leaving Mr Smith with little alternative but to issue a second yellow card to the two goal man and send him from the park. A stupid sending off and he will now miss the vital match with Clydebank, who have won three from three so far, next week.
Thanks to Ewan Lithgow for this afternoon's match report.