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QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 3 : 0 St.MIRREN 23rd November 2002
Rating: 7.11
Rating: 7.04
Rating: 6.46
Rating: 7.04
Rating: 7.12
Rating: 7.58
Rating: 7.20
Rating: 7.15
Rating: 6.78
Rating: 6.63
S3 1
Rating: 8.82
S1 - 72
Rating: 5.55
S2 - 76
Rating: 5.68
S3 - 88
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Despite a less than convincing first half performance Queens eventually wore their opponents down and recorded a comfortable win against a side that had last been at Palmerston on league business in 1977.

Early fitness tests to both Sean O'Connor and John O'Neill were successful and the duo made the starting line-up despite their midweek training knocks, missing though were Derek Lyle and Paddy Atkinson, who had to make do with seats on the bench as Paul Shields and Brian McLaughlin were favoured. The suspended duo of Peter Weatherson and Brian McColligan had their places taken by Eric Paton and John O'Neill respectively. Other than those changes the side was the same as last week at Inverness. The bench did however see the return of Joe McAlpine.

The sizeable Buddies support were in good voice from the off and continued their vocal support until they realised that the match was lost, it was however good to see such a large and good humoured travelling support at Palmerston.

The game itself was no classic in the first forty five minutes, the first action of note was a Sean O'Connor break from thirty yards, the striker running on a further five yards before unleashing a shot that young Kris Robertson in the Saints goal did well to hold as Eric Paton was ready to pounce.

Next to their feet were the Paisley support in fifteen minutes as a cross from the right was won by Martin Cameron at the back post, his downward header looking to the Buddies fans, at least to have gone into the back of the net but having actually gone the wrong side of the post for them.

It was soon Queens that were back in command though and again it was Sean O'Connor causing all sorts of trouble in the visitors defence, the big man broke down the left and shrugged off a strong challenge to set himself up for a shot on goal, a square ball to Bowey or Paton may have been a better option but the striker struck only to see his effort again well saved by the young 'keeper.

Whilst Queens were having the majority of the possession the Buddies were playing some nice football and did threaten the Queens defence a couple of times, however a back three that have had ten shut-outs in twenty two matches this season needed a sterner test. The twenty seventh minute saw the best chance of the game so far as a long throw by Robbie Neilson was flicked on by Sean O'Connor and with Robertson posted missing, having gone for the original ball, the goal was gaping. Brian McLaughlin was there to try to take advantage but his effort was blocked on the line as a Buddies defender also made it back.

Saints then won their first corner and it gave the defence a scary moment as nobody managed to get a touch onto the ball and it ended up reaching the back post where it was eventually put passed the post.

Queens then upped the pace some more and a ball played across the box just eluded John O'Neill, the ball ended up on the edge of the box and Paul Shields fired an effort across the face of the goal but rising over the bar at the far post.

An Eric Paton free kick on the right fell to Paul Shield on the penalty spot, the on loan striker saw his goal bound shot deflected over for a corner. Two minutes later and Queens were in the lead, a long ball from the right by Robbie Neilson was flicked on by Sean O'Connor to Brian McLaughlin, the winger fed it back into the path of Sean and the striker slotted the ball past the Buddies 'keeper to open the scoring.

Not content with a 1-0 lead the Queens defensive trio of Neilson, Thomson and Anderson somehow managed to play themselves into trouble on the edge of their own box leaving St.Mirren substitute Jamie Dunbar with a clear sight of goal from the edge of the eighteen yard box, unfortunately for the Buddies he was unable to maintain his composure and fired wildly over and wide of the target.

Queens in rare defensive mode

With just two minutes left of the half Queens increased their lead as Andy Aitken found Eric Paton with a long ball, the midfielder escaped the St.Mirren defence and rounded the 'keeper, he looked to have taken the ball too far wide and too close to the touchline but somehow his acutely angled drive found the back of the net for a superb goal.


St.Mirren started the half quite positively and won a couple of corners within the first five minutes of the half, it was Queens though that had the best early effort as Sean O'Connor beat his marker for pace down the right again and fired in an effort that flew just past the upright and it was the Queens fans in the old stand that rose to their feet this time thinking that Sean had notched a second.

Just two minutes after and Andy Aitken almost scored his first of the season as he rose to meet a Brian McLaughlin corner and sent the ball heading towards the opposite top corner, it was only saved by a last second clearance from the man on the back post.

The third goal was not long in coming though as Queens continued to press, a combination of Sean O'Connor and John O'Neill on the edge of the visitors penalty box eventually saw Jonjo breaking through the defence and placing the ball well past Robertson in the Buddies goal to take the score to 3-0 and more or less wrap the match up.

Eric Paton had tried to connect cleanly with efforts from the edge of the box a few times earlier and on seventy minutes he succeeded as a corner found its way to the edge of the box, his volley looked a certain goal but somehow Robertson managed to stop the effort and gather it at the second attempt.

For the second time in a week Queens had to play part of a match with only nine men as both O'Neill and Paton had to receive attention following challenges and both had to leave the field before being allowed to resume their roles. Referee Willie Young undoubtedly had good reason to leave the players off the park despite the ball going dead from the drop ball. Eventually O'Neill and Paton re-joined.

The tempo of the match was reduced as the substitutions were made, firstly Lyle for Shields followed shortly after by McAlpine for McLaughlin.

The last really good chance of the match fell to St.Mirren as a corner ball bobbled across the goal and the goal bound effort was pushed away by Andy Goram.

The final change of the match saw Alan Gray come on for Sean O'Connor, but with only second left this had no real impact.

In summary Queens played well enough to win and in particular the second half performance merited the points.

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