A disappointing afternoon for Queens in a match that really should have been all over by half time but that in the end they were fortunate to escape with a point from.
The starting eleven was exactly as last Saturday in terms of formation and personnel with the only changes being on the bench where Martin Glancy took the place of Paul Hollier and Stuart Robertson the place of Jamie Campbell. Queens started well and immediately looked comfortable in their 4-4-2 or more 4-4-1-1 formation, within the first five minutes John O'Neill almost scored as his header from a short corner curled in by Stuart Davidson crashed off the bar. Alan Gray and Gordon Connelly were again combining well and in the tenth minute the pair managed to set up John O'Neill who expertly turned past his defender opening up a shooting opportunity that he could only send wide and high of the goal.
Then in the fifteenth minute Peter Weatherson broke through the home defence and calmly slotted the ball past the Stenny 'keeper, whilst he was celebrating the goal the stand side linesman made the first of a number of controversial decisions and lifted his flag to indicate that the scorer had been offside, the delay in his reaction clearly angered the players and the large travelling support.
Queens were very much the superior side and within a minute of the Peter Weatherson 'goal' John O'Neill should have scored when put through by Nellie, with only the 'keeper to beat the league's top marksman screwed the ball wide of the post.
The 'keeper clears this O'Neill effort with his feet.
Stenny were being limited to breakaways and a rare defensive slip by Alan Gray allowed the Warriors a chance to set up an attack, fortunately though there were no takers for the cross and the danger was easily cleared.
Queens continued to dominate and a Peter Weatherson effort was deflected for a corner from which ex-Stenny man Jim Thomson could only head past the post. A goal was inevitable and eventually it came as Gordon Connolly controlled a high ball on the edge of the area before feeding Peter Weatherson out wide, Nellie then sent in a perfect cross that Stuart Davidson managed to direct into the back of the net with a fine header.
More seemed sure to follow and next up was Gordon Connolly as a John O'Neill cross just evaded his toe and was knocked out for a corner, Jim Thomson again rose unchallenged in the box but again headed the ball past the post.
This O'Neill effort goes just over.
HALF TIME 0-1
Queens fans were eager for more as the sides re-took the field after their half time break. However it was to be Stenhousemuir that took a hold of the game and from the kick off pressed Queens back into their own half, a corner in forty seven minutes should have seen them back on level terms but their finishing was poor and the ball ended up on the adjoining training pitch roof.
The Warriors number nine then made a tremendous run across the front of the Queens defence and before a tackle was made he unleashed a superb effort goalward that crashed off Colin Scott's right hand post and fortunately bounced away to safety.
Things then began to get a bit rough as first Derek Allan was upended in front of the dugouts and then Jim Thomson clashed in the air with Ian Ferguson, Ferguson having the harder head of the two and Thomson having to leave the field on a stretcher and spend the night in hospital. This meant some restructuring at the back for Queens as Andy Aitken moved from midfield as a direct replacement for Jim Thomson and Graham Connell came on and into the midfield berth vacated by Aitken.
This appeared to help the side as Queens enjoyed some more pressure, Joe McAlpine and Peter Weatherson getting in each others way and McAlpine's shot that was going well wide ended up hitting Nellie and spinning almost into the opposite side of the goals. A few minutes later and Weatherson started and almost finished a great move as he collected the ball in midfield before feeding it out to Joe McAlpine, it then came inside to John O'Neill who in turn found Gordon Connelly wide right, the winger sent across a near post ball and Peter Weatherson was there to nod it goalwards, unfortunately it didn't have enough power and was pretty much straight at the 'keeper.
A moment of high controversy next as Derek Allan pursued David Graham down the side of the penalty area, Allan attempted to take the ball from Graham but ended up taking the player down in the box without making any contact with the ball. The referee looked happy to award a goal kick but looked to the stand side linesman for guidance and he appeared to indicate a goal kick, however there was some confusion and the referee crossed the pitch to speak to the linesman who did not appear to know what to do. Eventually the referee decided to award a penalty kick some minutes after the original offence. A player well known to Queens Willie Irvine made no mistake with the kick and the match was all square.
Play continued for a while until again the stand side linesman attracted the referee's attention, this time Colin Scott was booked for dissent.
Another strange decision followed as Andy Aitken after being bundled to the ground himself received a yellow card, another card followed as Peter Weatherson was guilty of a late challenge and also received a yellow just before being replaced by Martin Glancy.
Glancy's introduction put some new life into the side and in the limited time that he had on the pitch he made two excellent chances, the first when he turned his man inside out before seeing his shot go agonisingly past the far post and then a long range effort almost on full time that the home 'keeper managed to collect.
In summary the game should have been well won before half time, Stenhousemuir are an ordinary side who were there for the beating but again Queens lack of a killer punch has cost the side dear.