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St JOHNSTONE 3 : 0 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 31st August 2004
Rating: 4.83
Rating: 4.56
Rating: 5.85
Rating: 5.24
Rating: 5.81
Rating: 6.45
Rating: 4.41
Rating: 5.82
Rating: 5.05
Rating: 4.86
Rating: 4.00
S1 - 64
Rating: 4.59
S2 - 67
Rating: 4.55
S3 - 78
Rating: 4.43
Members of the Internet Fan Club can award players marks out of ten for their performance today. The player with the most points awarded in the two days following a match will be the IFC Man of the Match. All of the points will then be added to a running total for each player and the results published in the mom League Table.

Name or IFC No.
Queens lost their 4th successive game tonight in Perth and with it bowed out of the Challenge Cup competition that we won in 2002. It also handed a very quick revenge to John Connolly after our 3-1 win in the same stadium a few weeks ago. Iain Scott made three changes to side that went down to Clyde on Saturday with Gary Wood returning from suspension to replace the injured Brian Reid in the middle of defence, Chris Scott returning at right back in place of David Bagan with Paul Burns pushed further up the park as a result and Craig Samson getting a rare start in goal in relief of Colin Scott. With resources stretched, Scott, Bagan and Stephen Payne were joined on the bench by Stuart Hill and Ross Beattie of the u19 squad.

Queens in fact made a decent start and dominated the opening 20 - 25 minutes. In 5 minutes Chris Scott made ground down the right and sent in a low cross that Paul Burns met around the penalty spot. However his contact wasn't great and the ball was easily smothered on the line by Alan McGregor. In the aftermath of that chance the home side were forced to make a first substitution as Sean Webb had picked up an early knock and was replaced by Kevin Rutkiewicz. In 17 minutes, from a right sided corner that was twice half cleared, Tommy English tried a cheeky chipped shot from the edge of the box which was acrobatically tipped over by McGregor.

On 27 minutes Brian McColligan picked up the game's first yellow card for tripping McManus from behind in midfield. From the resulting free kick the ball was played down the right channel into the penalty area to Michael Moore who turned Gary Wood before sending the ball low across the six yard box. Somehow Ian Maxwell found himself waiting all alone at the back post to easily steer the ball past Samson and into the net for the opening goal.

Match action
Less than a minute later disaster struck again, and again from a free kick given against McColligan, this time for handball. 25 yards from goal Kevin Fotheringham stepped up to rifle a magnificent strike into the top left corner via the crossbar for his second goal in two games for his new club. Not a bad return for a full back! Just before the interval Lee Hardy skipped away from Scott down the left side and fired a shot across the face of goal that Samson may or may not have touched on its way past. A goal kick was given however and Queens began an attack that ended with McColligan of all people heading a right sided cross down for McNiven to almost latch onto.The home defence scrambled the ball away though.

The second half began with a highly controversial incident on 49 minutes when McNiven seized on a loose ball to force his way into the penalty area before his run was halted with an unceremonious trip. It seemed a fairly clear penalty to all, including the St Johnstone fans around me but instead Mr Murray contrived to award a free kick right on the edge of the box. From the resulting free kick Tommy English fired in a shot that McGregor blocked with his chest before the rebound fell to Chris Armstrong who hooked wide from about 8 yards out. On 55 minutes Hardy again made gain down the left side and fired in a low shot that Samson smothered at his near post. A minute later Michael Moore joined McColligan in the book for persistent fouling.

On the hour mark the game was finished as a contest when the home side added their third. The ball was crossed into the area several times and half cleared including McLaughlin getting one virtually off the line before finally Paul Sheerin's cross was headed into the bottom right corner by Kevin Rutkiewicz. Three minutes later Iain Scott made his first change, withdrawing namesake Chris for David Bagan and a further three minutes later a snap shot from McNiven flew wide. A minute later Stephen Payne replaced Armstrong. On 72 minutes Payne had a run to the edge of the box before trying an audacious chip which may well have been on target however McGregor easily stepped back to catch the ball.

Match action
On 77 minutes the substitutions were completed all round when Ross Beattie got a debut in relief of McColligan and John Connolly threw Jordan Tait and Chris Hay on for Lee Hardy and Michael Moore. Two minutes later Brian McLaughlin cut in from the left side and attempted a curling shot that went a couple of yards wide of target. A couple of minutes after that at the other end Mark Baxter was only a yard wide with a low daisy-cutter from 25 yards. In the final minute St Johnstone's young full back Anderson was booked for a horrible challenge on Payne which thankfully did no lasting damage. From the resulting free kick Tommy English hit at goal from 30 yards but again McGregor wasn't really tested.

However, the final whistle went on another disappointing defeat against a team who really didn't look that much better. The players now have to lift themselves for this weekend's clash with the only other side to have lost to us so far this season, Airdrie United.

Ewan Lithgow

Photographs - David Gow

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