The final score tonight of 6-5 is one of the most remarkable seen at Palmerston for many years, both team played their part but another factor had a massive hand in the way the goals were scored, the swirling wind and driving rain made the lives of the defenders very difficult indeed as the goals scored against both respective sets indicates.
The Queens side lined up with two enforced changes, John O'Neill laid low with a bug and George O'Boyle with a hamstring injury, their places being taken by Graham Connell and Peter Weatherson respectively, there was also space on the bench for Under 18's striker Lennie Walker signed earlier in the season from Hamilton.
The action started straight from the kick-off as Queens raced up the park as Alan Gray fed Bowser whose effort came back off the post to be met by a grateful Joe McAlpine who finished with ease fifteen to twenty seconds into the match. The Doonhamers fans had hardly stopped celebrating when the Ton's on-loan striker Sean O'Connor surged down the left hand side before sending a ball across the face of the goal to veteran striker Paul Wright to finish comfortably, so a minute gone and the score 1-1.
Things were not to quieten down very much and Queens pressed forward with a swirling wind possibly favouring them more than Morton in the first half. The next goal was made and finished by Peter Weatherson in the fifteenth minute as he held up a long ball on the edge of the box before feeding Joe McAlpine, Joe hit the bye-line and sent across a ball that was only partially cleared and found its way to Nellie who struck it home through a ruck of Morton defenders to make it 2-1. Next up, in sixteen minutes was Steve Bowey who was first to react to a moment of indecision by a Morton defender, Bowser dispossessed the undecided defender, ran through and placed the ball past the often helpless looking Coyle in the Morton goal, 3-1. Better was to come as Nellie chalked up his second of the evening in nineteen minutes when released by Alan Gray who had in turn been set up by Derek Lyle, 4-1 and only nineteen minutes played.
Whilst the front men were looking as if they would score with every attack the defence also had a look of a side who could concede with every Morton attack and some form of panic appeared to set in as the four attempted to find a successful way of playing in the conditions. It was so desperate that the next to score was Davie McPherson, with his boot!, Queens defence were at sixes and sevens as a ball was played across the back four without anyone being able to clear it, it ran onto McPherson who had the easiest job of tapping it home to pull the score back to 4-2. Five minutes later and another goal had been conceded as the Queens defence failed to clear a cross and Sean O'Connor had a simple task of heading home to take the score to 4-3. It has to be said that Dundee United striker O'Connor was dangerous every time he was on the ball and was able to swap wings without any difficulty, he was a thorn in the flesh of the Queens defence until leaving the pitch with an injury in the fifty-fifth minute.
The third goal seemed to spur Queens back into action and in the space of three minutes the three goal lead was restored, mainly thanks to the efforts of Derek Lyle, first the on-loan Thistle striker showed great composure as he timed his run to beat the Morton offside trap and collect a Peter Weatherson through ball and with a curling shot beat the 'keeper all ends up, then on the stroke of half-time Lyle produced a perfect cross for Joe McAlpine to run in on and hammer into the net to take the score to 6-3. In between the two goals Graham Connell had seen an effort bounce off the bar and feed Lyle only to see his turn and shot end up in the side netting.
An extremely exciting first half that had many Queens fans scratching their heads trying to think when the last time they had seen their team score six in a game let alone a half and when we had last seen nine goals in a half?
The second half saw one change to the Queens line up with Paddy Atkinson being replaced by Derek Anderson, presumably in an attempt to curb the runs of O'Connor more effectively.
Morton though should have pulled another goal back within ten minutes of the half as John Gibson received the ball at the back post totally unmarked and with Colin Scott at the other side of the goals, somehow though the Morton forward managed to scoop his effort over the bar much to the relief of the Doonhamers.
After half an hour of the second period Joe McAlpine had to be replaced after picking up a slight injury, former Morton man Allan Moore came on and Gordon Connolly switched wings.
Things were looking far from secure in the heart of the Queens defence and Alan Gray almost got himself on the score sheet for the wrong side when he screwed a clearance onto the roof of the home net. Shortly after youngster Lennie Walker was introduced for Derek Lyle.
Colin Scot then made a terrific diving save to deny the 'Ton when a free kick on the edge of the box was driven goal ward, at the other end goal chances were proving hard to come by although Lennie Walker demonstrated his skills when he turned his man very neatly and drove goal wards before sending a good looking ball across the face of the goal but could find no takers.
Queens were entrenched in their own half for the remaining minutes of the game and eventually with three minutes to go Morton scored their fourth although the initial award of a corner was hotly contested by the Queens players, never the less the ball ended up in the back of the net after the Doonhamers defenders failed to clear the first ball and allowed a second chance which was neatly finished by substitute Gavin Redmond.
So once again at Palmerston a nail-biting finish was on the cards and the scoring had not finished as former Queens favourite Warren Hawke had the last say as he headed home yet another cross ball to finish the scoring at 6-5.
As manager John Connolly said, "The only good thing we took out of the game was three points..."
So the gap on the leaders has been closed a little and the game against Clydebank, should it go ahead on Saturday, is yet another massive match, although the watching Mick Oliver and Derek Ferguson will not have been able to glean much from tonight's match.