On a gloriously sunny day in Southport, Queens concluded their pre-season preparations with a narrow defeat against a strong Southport side. Colin Scott returned to the side and the back four consisted of the four A's, Atkinson, Allan, Aitken and Anderson with Paton, O'Neill, Bowey and McAlpine strung across the middle of the park. Up front the pairing of Weatherson and O'Connor were tested.
Southport started the stronger side and with a weight advantage man for man throughout the side their more direct style put Queens on the back foot for a spell. In eight minutes their number 8 should have opened the scoring as he blasted over an open goal from six yards after the defence were caught flat footed. Queens were playing the more attractive football and big Sean O'Connor whilst making chances for himself was also guilty of a number of poor finishes. One that was not poor though came on seventeen minutes when a tremendous run and strike from the edge of the box that had goal written all over it, somehow found the home sides 'keepers foot to deflect it away for a corner.
Southport were then back on the attack and their number nine had an effort that Scott could only palm back out into the middle of the goal, fortunately for him the follow up effort was scuffed and this time he managed to collect the ball. Southport's strikers appeared rathe rusty as only moments later their number nine again failed miserably as this time when clean through he managed to step on the ball and fall over.
The difference between the sides was all in the style of play, Southport direct and strong, Queens playing more of the football, the result was stalemate but really with the scorned chances at both ends the scoresheet should not have been blank. A goal did come and it was Southport that broke the deadlock as a high ball into the box was challenged for by Derek Allan and the much shorter Southport number eight, as the ball spun up Allan was disorientated and allowed the Southport forward enough room to set up his left back, Dean Howell who hammered the ball past Scott and into the top of the net from a tight angle.
Half time 0 - 1
Resumption of play saw one change to the Queens side with trialist Neil Bennett replacing Colin Scott in goal, it too the former Airdrie player only two minutes before he had to lift the ball out of the back of the net as a misplaced back-pass by Andy Aitken by-passed the 'keeper and gave the 'Sandgrounders' the lead.
Time for changes and in the next twenty minutes the rhythmn of the match was disrupted as first Lyle replaced O'Connor, Crawford for Aitken, Gray for Weatherson and McGuffie for Atkinson. Paton was also affected by the changes and found himslef partnering Derek Lyle up-front as Gray filled his right wing berth. Moments after another change was made, this time enforced as McAlpine took a knock and was replaced by McColligan.
Once the changes had been made Queens found a new lease of life with the main man being Steve Bowey, the midfielder injected a bit of urgency about the play and had the ball in the back of the net on seventy five minutes only to have it chalked off for offside. A final change was then made with John O'Neill making way for McLaughlin and Gray moving just inside. Queens continued to press and finally were rewarded with a goal as both Bowey and Lyle were left with an empty net and the Geordie finished by slamming the ball into the back of the net.
The remianing minutes of the match consisted of Queens pressing and from one superb curling effort from Brian McLaughlin an equaliser was almost secured, only a great diving one habded save by the Southport 'keepr denied the goal.
In truth the score was just about right, although if Queens had taken half of the chances created early on it may well have been a different story.
That's the warm up over and now down to the real business next Saturday.
After match analysis