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ROSS COUNTY 1 : 1 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 23rd April 2005
Rating: 6.25
Rating: 7.90
Rating: 5.14
Rating: 6.90
Rating: 5.80
Rating: 5.80
Rating: 6.00
Rating: 5.90
Rating: 6.22
Rating: 6.11
Rating: 6.50
S1 - 81
S2 - 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.
End of season fare in the bright sunshine at Victoria Park today. The two teams were trying but, with both certain of mid-table finishes, there was no enormous pressure to obtain a result for either. Iain Scott had said during the week he would be taking a look at a couple of fringe players today and he duly made three changes to the side which drew with Raith last weekend. In for a debut came Chris Carr with Brian Reid dropping out of the sixteen altogether. In too came Willie Gibson and Gary Wood replacing Brian McColligan and Derek Lyle respectively. The home side included former Queens favourite Alex Burke in their line up again.

It was a slow start to the game and fully 13 minutes before I made any note at all. Unfortunately when I made that note it was a goal for the home side. It came out of nothing too. A big punt forward should have been harmless and Chris Carr seemed in complete control. However, he clearly expected Richie Barnard to come to the edge of the box and collect the bouncing ball whilst Barnard expected Carr to deal with it. As the two hesitated in nipped Steven McGarry to lift it over the stranded Barnard from 18 yards to open the scoring. Two minutes later County could have doubled their advantage as Thomson, English and Paton all failed to clear a ball pinballing around the penalty box. Eventually the loose ball was hammered into the side-netting with some of the County support thinking they had scored. Just seconds later McGarry beat the offside trap down the right side and cut into the box to shoot from a tight angle producing a fine save from Barnard with his feet.

Queens showed at the other end for the first time in 19 minutes as Willie Gibson lofted a ball into the penalty area and Lovell arrived to head across the face of goal from about six yards out. The equaliser was delayed only three minutes though and what a goal it was. Eric Paton picked up a loose ball on the halfway line and looked up. Seeing Colin Stewart miles off his line he took a step forward and hammered the ball into the roof of the net past the stranded keeper from all of fifty yards. A strike which had fans all over the terrace seeking out Ross Corbett to change their Goal of the Season vote taken earlier in the day!

Paton is congratulated as the side re-group
Queens then took command of the play but didn't come very close to scoring until the 40th minute when Paton's cross picked out Jim Thomson in the penalty box and his looping header narrowly missed the top right corner of the net. Immediately though County broke forward and McGarry's low strike was tipped past the post by Barnard though it was probably heading wide anyway. A couple of minutes later and County could have taken the lead again. This time it was John Rankin who ended up clear on goal only to be foiled by a fine block at his feet by Barnard.

Two minutes into the second period Tommy English came close with a 25 yard effort following McNiven's lay-off but the ball just eluded the top left corner. On 54 minutes, from Payne's right sided corner, Jim Thomson headed down and Gary Wood should really have scored from six yards but failed to make any contact on the ball under pressure. Back came the home side again though and on 65 minutes, from McGarry's cross, Alex Burke glanced a header across the face of goal.

On 75 minutes Alex Smith made the first change with David Winters replacing Sean Kilgannon and three minutes later Rankin whipped a free kick from 25 yards just over the crossbar. Two minutes later came the best effort of the second half when the impressive Rankin accepted a pass on the left of the penalty area and fairly hammered the ball against Barnard's crossbar before Tommy English appeared to complete the clearance. Queens were shocked into action though and Willie Gibson slipped a fine ball into Bowey who made the bye-line before firing across the face of goal. In a scramble McNiven failed to force home at the near post and then Wood at the far side failed too, with the ball eventually trickling out of play off the prone McNiven.

There basically followed a succession of substitutions. Iain Scott replaced Bowey and McNiven with McColligan and Lyle whilst Alex Smith sent on Higgins and McKinlay for Burke and Tiernan. With seven minutes remaining Steven Payne took too long to get his shot away after a fine ball in from McColligan and allowed a defender to block. A few minutes later Payne's deep cross was headed onto the roof of the net by Wood and the final chance of note was gone.

So County remain a point ahead of Queens with two games to go but the abiding memory of this game will undoubtedly be of that goal.

Ewan Lithgow
Thanks to Haydn Gleed for the photographs

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