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MORECAMBE 2 : 1 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH
19th July 2003
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A first defeat of the pre-season for Queens this afternoon, not many miles from where JC suffered his only previous friendly defeat in Southport. That said, the team played pretty well, especially before the substitutions started, and it took the intervention of the homes side's star player off the bench to give them a scarcely deserved win.
Queens lined up similarly to the Penrith game with just two defensive changes. Joe McAlpine replaced Sandy Hodge at left back and Jim Thomson was back in the middle in preference to Derek Allan. Derek Lyle continued up front with Burke on the left wing and Gibson on the right side.
Queens were first to show and dominated the early proceedings. Just one minute had passed when McColligan forced a save out of Mawson in the home goal with a shot from the edge of the box following Paton's free kick. The home side were not without chances though and Dean Howell cut in from the left side to lash a shot against the chest of Dodds before being squeezed away from the rebound in the 8th minute. Burke though seized on McAlpine's clearance to play a long one-two with Gibson before shooting powerfully for Mawson to show his ability again. In the 20th minute a fine flowing move started by Burke and involving Lyle and O'Connor almost played Bagan clean through on the burst but the ball was just behind him and he couldn't get the shot away. Back up the other end though, Garry Thompson cut in from the right and managed to shoot from the edge of the box before being gang-tackled. Dodds though produced an acrobatic tip over.
Dodds tips the ball over the bar
The first substitution for the home side arrived after 23 minutes with the withdrawal of Jim Bentley and the introduction of Dave McKearney. The move was no great surprise as O'Connor had been terrorising the big defender. Five minutes later Gary Hunter almost lobbed Dodds from 20 yards but again the keeper was equal to it. On 33 minutes, Burke's left sided cross was headed goalward by O'Connor who had found space for himself in the box but the ball was at a "nice height" for Mawson and he again dealt with it. Four minutes later it was Dodds turn again to make a fine block from Thompson's shot on the charge. A couple of minutes later Dodds made a fine stop from Wayne Curtis' flick but it looked like the striker was well offside. In the 40th minute, as Morecambe continued to assert themselves, Thompson did well to cut in from the right and fizz a ball across the six yard box which Howell should have turned into goal but mis-controlled. On the break forward though O'Connor half-volleyed a fine cross from Derek Lyle over the bar from the back of the six yard box. The final action of the half saw McColligan send the bursting Bagan clear again but the ball again wouldn't sit in front of him and he had to hit from 18 yards forcing a good save out of Mawson.
Queens made two half time changes with Allan and Hodge replacing Gibson and McColligan. Paton moved forward to a right midfield role whilst Hodge went into central midfield!
The half was just ten minutes old when Queen finally broke the deadlock. Hodge knocked a long ball forward, Burke turned it on and Sean O'Connor out-muscled a defender before shooting into the roof of the net past the advancing keeper from 12 yards. After this though Morecambe dominated the remainder of the game as they sought an equaliser. On the hour mark Dodds made a fine block with his knee from Thompson and the rebound was bundled away from the line. Immediately we withdrew Derek Lyle to give Craig Coates another run out. A few minutes later Talbot was introduced for Burke and a minute later O'Connor burst through towards goal again but almost lobbed the stand with his effort!
Mawson cuts out a McAlpine cross
With 20 minutes remaining Dodds made another good block from Perkins shot from distance and immediately Morecambe played their "trump card". Adriano Rigoglioso was the subject of a big money bid from Hull City last week apparently and he came off the bench with the aim of saving the match. Within 2 minutes the "super-sub" had forced a decent block out of Dodds with a thirty yard effort. On 75 minutes Dodds was again in action saving Howell's free header from 8 yards out.
The equaliser was long overdue to be fair and it duly arrived in 76 minutes though in a farcical fashion. The ball dropped to Rigoglioso on the edge of the box to hit. His effort was heading wide of target but struck Garry Thompson on the backside and deflected past the stranded Dodds. Two minutes later the goalscorer was withdrawn and replaced with Lee Dodgson. In 83 minutes Queens made a double change with Jaconelli replacing O'Connor up front whilst Derek Lyle returned to the game in place of Bagan with Paton moving inside to accommodate him.
Sean just couldn't get enough power into his header
In 85 minutes Paton nearly grabbed a winner, shooting powerfully just over the right post after seizing on a loose ball which Derek Lyle hadn't quite converted. A minute later it looked like the home side had grabbed a winner when Dodds spilled a long range shot for the first time all day and Curtis arrived to knock home the rebound. However, the linesman came to the rescue, flagging for offside. Straight up the other end Coates got in a great cross to the back post but Jaconelli couldn't convert it.
Unfortunately a winner did arrive for the home side with the last kick of the game. Wayne Curtis gained possession on the right and ran across the front of the penalty area evading a couple of challenges as he went. Managing to turn he played the ball back to that man Adriano Rigoglioso who hit a stunning drive into the top right corner from 20 yards.
All in all a decent work out for the team against one of the top Conference sides at pretty much full strength. It was a match we might have won and should have at least drawn but there were still plenty of positives to find. Next up Darlington on Wednesday.