Another pre-match change was enforced upon the Doonhamers today as Paddy Atkinson pulled up, whilst warming up, with a calf strain, a straight swap was made with Alan Gray dropping back to full back and Gordon Connelly coming in at right side of midfield. Recovering midfielders making the bench today were O'Neill and Bowey, and with Sean O'Connor also on the bench, Nellie taking his place up front, the side started almost as it had finished last weekend at Larbert.
The game started at high speed and managed to continue in that vein for the entire ninety minutes, the upper hand was generally held by Queens but the Berwick forward line of McDowell and Feroz always posed problems and in particular Gary Wood had another fine game against Queens.
Despite the frenetic start it did take almost twenty minutes for a chance on goals to be generated, a free-kick from the right was floated across and onto Jim Thomson's head, his flick was almost diverted into the net by Derek Lyle. Queens then began to dominate play but any decision that was going seemed to be going the English sides way as Craig Feroz was awarded a decision on the edge of the box as he appeared to trap the ball on the floor, the resultant free kick shot past the post and Queens continued on their way forward.
Andy Aitken, a star performer again today, almost got his name onto the scoresheet as he rifled a free kick from all of thirty yards along the ground which Berwick's new goalkeeper Paul Mathers did well to fumble a round the post for a corner, it was Aitken again that almost converted the corner but was denied yet again by Mathers.
Queens were pressing quite hard now and Graham Connell, having an excellent first half drove forward and appeared to be brought down just inside the box, his appeal was greeted in the familiar way by Mr Smith as he waved play on, the ball fell to Stuart Davidson on the edge of the box who volleyed in an effort that just flew past the post.
Joe McAlpine and Craig Feroz were having an entertaining battle down the left side and wee Joe certainly began to get the better of the former Queens loan star as the half went on, from a free kick on the right Joe curled a ball over the defence that was expertly taken down by Derek Lyle, the strikers shot though found a fortunately position Mathers in the Berwick goal and the ball was cleared, the ball was cleared to the edge of the box from the resulting corner and Graham Connell sent a dipping shot just over the bar.
Berwick were still dangerous on the break and Alan Neil almost opened the scoring for the Wee Rangers as he struck a shot just past a few minutes before half time. The final action of the half was produced by Queens as Joe McAlpine made his way forward through the Berwick defence, instead of cutting back to Peter Weatherson, Joe elected to shoot, however his effort was deflected away for a corner.
The second half saw two changes to the Queens line up with top scorer John O'Neill taking the place of Stuart Davidson and Colin Scott, who had picked up a hamstring injury during the first half, being replaced by new signing Stuart Dawson, who had only met his teammates the previous Thursday evening, the former Spennymoor 'keeper having come out of retirement to sign for the Doonhamers as cover for Colin Scott until the end of the season.
The pace of the game did not alter as the second half resumed with both sides in determined mood. Gordon Connolly was first to have a real chance for Queens as the ball landed on his head six yards out, the former Carlisle star could only send his effort into the ground and then into the hands of Mathers who again was well positioned to collect.
Andy Aitken then picked up only his second booking of the season for what appeared to be a tackle on Jim Thomson, a Berwick player was involved somewhere along the line but as to why Andy went in the book is anybody's guess.
Queens were soon back on the attack however and a free kick given to the Doonhamers some thirty yards out almost paid dividends as Joe McAlpine played it short to John O'Neill, Jonjo spotted Derek Lyle breaking free of his marker and played the ball onto his head, the resultant flick by Lyle went just the wrong side of the post though.
On sixty seven minutes Peter Weatherson performed some terrific work as he dispossessed a Berwick defender and broke free, his cut-back to John O'Neill deserved better than a blast over the top and into Terregles Street.
A first for Palmerston was the next 'highlight' of the match as a run was made diagonally across the pitch from the far corner to the top opposite corner, no ball involved though as a streaker made a first appearance at Palmerston Park.
Berwick were soon back in the swing and Gary Wood had a free header from a corner that he could only head high and wide.
Queens then made their final change of the afternoon as Sean O'Connor came on for Peter Weatherson with around fifteen minutes to go.
Disaster for Queens though on eighty minutes as an off the ball incident between Derek Anderson and Gary Wood saw the Queens defender shown a straight red card, this was not the sign for an all out attack by Berwick though as Queens continued to press without causing too much concern in the Berwick box.
The last action of the game was a Doonhamers corner and hopes were high for glorious finish, however the cross was punched to the edge of the box and Graham Connell's dipping shot dipped just over the bar, from the resultant bye kick the referee blew the final whistle.
So with Alloa and Clydebank both drawing today the only challenger to win was Forfar, Queens therefore still enjoy a five point lead at the top of the table although the next seven days will be critical.
Queens press in the first half