2002/03 Back in the First
A serialised account of our season by our man who has been at almost every match home and away - Ewan Lithgow
Part Ten - March
Alloa's resurgence had seen a few people start to worry about the relegation issue again but any worries in that direction were pretty much dispelled with a magnificent victory over the League Champions elect, Falkirk, on March 1st. To be fair, the Bairns dominated most of the game and both Samuel and Coyle hit the woodwork before they did take the lead with a 25-yard Miller free kick, though the award itself was somewhat soft. We got an even more fortunate equaliser though when Bowey was brought down by a combination of Hughes and McKenzie at least a yard outside the box on a break forward but the referee gave a penalty from the halfway line! John O'Neill duly buried the kick. Falkirk continued to dominate but, in another breakaway in the final minute, McLaughlin crossed perfectly for Weatherson to hammer home the winner. Unfortunately, Peter was booked for his celebration and that meant a two game suspension in due course.

Aitken heads clear the danger

A week later, in a much duller game, Jim Thomson's headed goal from a McAlpine free kick means a second 1-0 win of the season at Ayr. The Tuesday following brought Inverness to Palmerston and we finally got a point from them in a 0-0 draw. Queens were probably worth their draw over the piece but the Highlanders hit the woodwork twice and we also had a let off when Derek Allan appeared to handle the ball in the area but nothing was given.

However, our good run of form, which had all but assured safety, came to a fairly abject end with a 2-0 home defeat by St Mirren. It was one of those games where nobody seemed to be "up for it" and the visitors, much more desperate for the points, duly got them. Ricky Gillies and Greg Denham scored the goals in the 4th and 88th minutes. This game was also the last appearance in Queens shirts of both Derek Anderson and Alan Gray.

No way through for Paton

Three days later though a very different Queens team, showing five changes from Saturday hammered Arbroath 3-0 at Palmerston. O'Neill scored either side of a Sean O'Connor strike for a comfortable win that flattered the visitors more than us. John Connolly gave a brief debut to young teenager Paul Burns late in the second half.

The final game of a busy month of football was the rearranged game up at Dingwall. Against a Ross County side desperate for points in a bid to stay up, Queens showed no mercy and inflicted their biggest home defeat of the season by 3-0. O'Neill, O'Connor and a classic own goal from Steven Mackay did the damage. So comprehensive was the Queens win that the home sponsors even made Bowey their Man of the Match! In the week after this game though Queens announced that Andy Goram would be leaving the club at the end of the season due to the financial position meaning we were unable to offer him a new contract.

March ended with safety virtually assured. We sat back in 6th place on 40 points from 30 games and 17 points clear of Alloa with six games left. John Connolly set his players the target for the rest of the season of catching Ayr for a top half finish.

Ewan Lithgow
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10

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