This was the scene shortly after three o'clock this afternoon as Queens and Arbroath contrived to provide what turned out to be an entertaining ninety minutes of football in what were unusual, to say the least, circumstances.
Indeed the match itself, looked in no danger of a call-off as Dumfries awoke to a slight frost but relatively clear skies, by lunch time however the snow was starting to fall and became particularly heavy. Referee Mr Cassidy was forced to make a last minute inspection and only at two forty five declared the pitch playable.
Queens today fielded a team with a number of changes over last weeks squad. In came new signings Warren Hawke and Allan Preston while Marc Cleeland started in the middle of the park and George Rowe had recovered well enough from a twisted knee to take the field. Out went Geoff Paterson and Kevin Robison, the later relegated to the bench whilst, free from suspension, captain Stevie Leslie did not make the squad due to a minor illness. The biggest surprise in the team lines was reserved for the bench where co-boss Ken Eadie found himself stripped and ready for action.
Queens continued their recent trend of beginning brightly, however this time early pressure paid off. In the fourteenth minute the ball was played across the box by Warren Hawke to Stevie Mallan, just inside the penalty box on the left, who demonstrated to the Arbroath fans how to finish clinically as he crashed his shot past the helpless Wight in the Lichties goal. Queens looked well in contention at this point, playing controlled football on an impossible pitch and restricting the midfield directions of Tam Bryce.
It was from that man Bryce that Arbroath had their best chance of the game, the veteran, on the sixth anniversary of his Guinness Book of Records two minute hat-trick, against his present team at Palmerston, curled in a free kick from the left only to watch as the Queens defence struggled to clear and his team mates contrived to hit the cross bar.
Arbroath were looking lively and veteran hitman Colin McGlashan was causing problems to the Queens back four as he forced Hillcoat into a couple of good saves and set up Devine to hit the side netting.
Just before half time Allan Preston had to be replaced when he came of the worst in a midfield tussle and ended up with a broken rib. On came Ken Eadie to loud applause all round and Queens formation now became 4-3-3.
Half time came and the snow seemed to have stopped, the next fifteen minutes seeing the Queens grounds staff clearing the lines in a desperate attempt to keep the match playing. The match resumed with the sky darkening and the crowd crossing their fingers and hoping that the next fifteen minutes would pass without any of the recent slips.
The second half was another evenly matched period with both teams having chances and both defences coping well, particularly considering the conditions. Indeed former Queens favourite, the sun tanned, Jim Thomson had an excellent game in the heart of the Lichties defence and looked to be back to his best again despite a scything tackle that went unpunished early in the second half.
Chances of note for Queens in the second period included an excellent through ball from Eadie which found John Dickson on the edge of the box but the hardworking Dickson scuffed his shot with only the keeper to beat. Then a great run and cross from the improving Sandy Hodge was met by the lively Warren Hawke who should really have done better with his "glancing" header which he didn't quite glance.
The final action of the game saw Alan Kerr waltz through the Arbroath defence only to be blatantly tripped by a Lichties defender, amazingly however the referee decided that Kerr had dived and sent him off for a second bookable offence. Add to this the blatant pass back that the Arbroath keeper picked up in the second half and Queens fans may well have felt agrieved.
The result today was all that mattered and the victory was the best Christmas present that the team could deliver to the fans who left this week more than happy at the result and performance.