Queen of the South 3 - 3 Stirling Albion25/09/1999


74 mins

In keeping with the previous two meetings between the clubs Queens finished the match with three goals scored, this time however Stirling Albion managed to notch three themselves. Indeed it looked almost hopeless for Queens after only eighteen minutes by which time the Beano's had raced into a three goals to one lead, courtesy of a penalty and a dreadful Andy Aitken.

In amongst the carnage Queens had notched a goal themselves when the score was only one nil, George Rowe having a clear header from a right sided corner. As is customary however Queens relinquished this hard earned equaliser only a minute later when Andy Aitken, in a moment of madness, attempted to pass back to John Hillcoat, his effort was woefully short and Paul McGrillen was on hand to pick it up and slot it home despite the brave attempts made by Hillcoat.

Worse was to come as again Aitken lost possession in midfield and the ball was played across the stretched defence and onto the toe of giant striker Ally Graham who had the easiest of jobs to tap the ball in.

You may be forgiven for thinking that Queens had started poorly, on the contrary, a number of good chances had gone abegging which could easily have seen Queens three up before the visitors had even scored.

What was clear however was that the scoring was not finished as even at 3-1 Queens looked dominant and were forcing Stirling to play on the break, although the score was not to change until after half time.

The teams returned from the half time break and a similar pattern emerged, Stirling sat deep and Queens attempted to break them down. The partnership of Mallan and Adams was not being particularly successful and indeed it took the introduction of youngster Chris Strain, making his first League appearance, to inject a bit more urgency upfront.

Almost as soon as the substitution was made Queens pulled a goal back, the ball was played through the middle and as both Strain and Mallan ran through the defence, Stevie just managed to get the neatest of touches on the ball to divert it over keeper Gardiners head and into the back of the net. Stevie is congratulated below.
[Mallan celebrates his goal]
Unfortunately for Strain his first piece of real action was an enthusiastic challenge on veteran defender Brian Martin who some sections of the crowd felt made the most of what appeared to be a rather innocuous coming together, nevertheless Strain was shown the yellow card immediately by the referee.

Just ten minutes later Queens were level, a free kick was awarded about seven yards outside the penalty area, upped stepped Paul Harvey who curled an exquisite right footed curler over the wall and in off the inside of the left hand upright. As good a free kick as seen at Palmerston for many a day. Harvey celebrates below.
[Harvey celebrates his goal]
Queens then chose to consolidate for a while but were found wanting at the back on a number of occasions with Alan Kerr still not looking fully match fit and Andy Aitken not having his best game, indeed youngster Paul Stewart often appeared to be playing between right back, central defence and left back from time to time.

The plus points today were the performances of Marc Cleeland who produced some creative football from midfield, Paul Harvey for giving us a glimpse of what he can produce, Chris Strain for showing that we could have a potent partner for Stevie Mallan at last and Denis Boyle for coming on and demonstrating some lovely control.

Hopefully the team can take heart from this performance as it was one of the more constructive games seen at Palmerston this season.

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