Match Date 31:10:98

Queens 2 Stirling Albion 3

On the bright side you have to say that Queens were severely depleted by injuries and, of course, suspensions. The back "four" seemed basically to operate without any cover on the left as there were only three of them and they are all basically central defenders, Lilley, Rowe and Aitken. All three goals came down that channel for the Beano's. You just have to look at the players missing to appreciate the problems, Love, Doig, Thomson, the three players who would and have been regularly partnering Rowe at the back.

Midfield was about as strong as we have had it all year although it did fail to provide any service for the front players who this week included Colin McKee as a trialist, although he isn't interested in coming to Queens but was only passing through?.

The game itself was not a classic, two workmanlike teams putting in a day at the office, no superstars on show, no man of the match although Geordie Rowe must get credit for looking as though he had the only footballing brain on the pitch whilst fighting a losing battle playing a three man flat back four.

The match winner for Stirling was Alec Bone who looked lively all afternoon and could have had a couple more. Queens started reasonably brightly despite the makeshift team and made a number of early chances, none that they were able to convert. Stirling took the lead direct from a free kick from the edge of the box, from my vantage point the ball went straight through the defensive wall, their lead was unjustified at that time, however Queens soon equalised, a good run down the left from Mark Weir culminated in his shot being deflected out to Nesovic who calmly let the keeper dive the wrong way and knocked it by him into the net.

Queens looked down and out for long periods in the second half but the introduction of Mallan and Bailey for Adams and McKee livened things up a bit. Mallan had a glorious chance when through on goal but contrived to clear the crossbar by at least thirty feet with his finish. At the death Queens looked to have grabbed a goal back when the ball was clearly over the line, the linesman and referee didn't agree but the clearance went out onto the right side, was swung in again and this time Townsley got his head to it. End of story no points and I'm afraid the rest of the season is going to be a dogfight with Forfar and East Fife for survival. Maybe we need to buy some big cloggers and batter our way out of the division!!

Match Date 17:10:98

Queens 2 Clyde 1

This was a thoroughly enjoyable game from start to finish, it had most things you would want to keep the excitement going, a saved penalty, a player sent off, the ten men going on to win in style and a referee who plainly was under the influence.

The match started with Queens having made at least five changes from the starting line up just seven days ago, there were no places, even on the bench for Doig, Love or McAllister whilst Townsley and Mallan were relegated to the bench. The replacements for this lot being Rowe, Aitken, Weir, Nesovic and Bailey. To be honest for the first ten minutes or so it looked as if the street wise ex-juniors of Clyde would steam roller the more skillful but physically inferior Queens side. It was not to be however as the skill of Nesovic, guile of Cleeland and pace of Bailey soon put the cloggers in their place, there was one fly in the ointment though, the referee, a certain Mr. Clyde would you believe, his early decisions set the tone for what was to follow. He blatantly ignored Eadie getting his manhood compressed by the Clyde No. 2 who had a habit of falling down anytime someone got within five yards, every fall was of course rewarded with a free kick.

Queens pressed on regardless and were rewarded shortly before half time when Eadie fired home through a ruck of players after a Bailey effort had been pushed away from a corner. Fine we thought, no problem here hold out till half time and then regroup for a solid second half. That is until Eadie chased a long ball to the goal line with the Clyde No. 2 and both went down in the scramble, Eadies leg admittedly seeming to follow through, but no more so than you would expect in that situation. The referee however chose to book Eadie for what he had seen. His linesman however after trying for a good few minutes wasn't happy and amazingly got Eadie sent off when everybody including two Clyde players, both who thought they were being called for expected a Clyde sending off.

So you would expect ten men for more than half a game against physically larger players to have a difficult job, well it wasn't made any easier by Lilley and Rowe getting in a fankle early in the second half and leaving the ball on the toe of a Clyde forward to more than easily pop it into the empty net, but Queens to their great credit came out with more determination than has been seen of late and set about their task in an admirable fashion. Nesovic was having a solid controlled game and avoided any trouble this week, he also nearly scored the goal of the season. When breaking down the left, he saw the keeper slightly of his line and sent a right foot curling shot sailing towards the keepers top left corner, the keeper was fixed to the spot as it sailed over him only to crash against the junction of post and bar, rebounding to safety. Townsley was next with a repeat of his goal two weeks ago where he curled a right foot shot round the left hand side of the defensive wall and almost caught out the keeper. Mallan had a couple of chances before Queens won a corner late on, the ball was swept in from the right at the Terregles street end and almost exactly as his goal two weeks ago there he was at the back post to nod it into the net and seal the three much needed points for Queens.

The cheer at the end was part relief at the three points and also appreciation of spirited performance, if only our away form could be half as good as the recent results at home. Man of the match, well difficult to say but probably Cleeland who although his distribution is never perfect he is fast becoming the midfield dynamo who hassles and harries opponents into making mistakes so that others like Townsley and Nesovic get the room to express themselves.

Match Date 03:10:98

Queens 2 Alloa 1

All of the goals in this game came from set pieces in a frantic nine minute spell starting just on the half hour mark. The thirty minutes previous had done nothing to warm the crowd up on a bitterly cold day, that's if you had forgotten to take your jacket like I did.

The first goal came at the Terregles Street end from a corner taken from the right and swung in by McAllister, it cleared Townsley and Thompson, just, and found Mallan at the back post with the easiest of nod ins. Barely had the celebrations stopped when the over officious referee gave a free kick to the wasps about ten yards outside the box, up stepped Willie Irvine who placed a Beckham like free kick into the top left corner giving Mathieson no chance.

Commendably Queen's heads stayed up and they took the fight to Alloa, within four minutes Queens won themselves a free kick in a similar position at the other end but to the right of goal. My money was on McAllister curling one into the top left as he must be one of the sweetest strikers of a ball seen at Palmerston for a long time, it was not to be however, Townsley decided to sneak a low one around the right hand side of the wall and whilst the keeper got his fingers to it there was no stopping it from hitting the back of the net.

Alloa still posed a threat in the half and made a number of half chances, primarily through working much better as a unit than Queens were able to. It has to be said that it took Queens that first half hour to begin to gel as a team.

The second half was basically a case of Queens pressing and Alloa looking for a chance to break, they were however continually caught by the offside trap, always a bit nerve racking if your team is playing for offside but I must admit the defence never really looked to be in too much trouble although JT was tortured all afternoon by Paul Simpson the Alloa number nine who looked to be almost as tall as me at 6' 5".

In terms of a team performance this started poorly but improved enormously throughout the match. Star men for me were Eadie who must be an ever present starter, his footballing nonce is second to none in the team, he was making runs that Mallan couldn't even dream about, Adams, who at right side of midfield worked extremely well with another star performer Lilley, this combination needs to get another chance as Adams at times tortured the Alloa defence, Townsley who turned in a second half performance that we know he is capable of producing but must produce every week and finally Jamie McAllister who's corners and free kicks more often than not found the head of a teammate and caused panic in the Alloa defence.

Alloa's biggest strength is that they perform well as a unit without having any particularly skillful players, possibly Willie Irvine excepted. Of the ex-doonhamers in the squad Spider Ramsey was his usual self, kicking through the ball and attempting to break legs, particularly Degsy's who retaliated with his elbow and found himself booked, Stuart Wilson played an anonymous game, so nothing's changed there either.

The referee found it necessary to book(I think) Doig, Thompson, Cleeland, Mallan and Lilley of Queens but felt that the similar indiscretions that various Alloa players committed warranted only a little chat.

Hopefully that's us really round the corner now and not just through another chicane.

Match Date 19:09:98

Queens 3 Forfar 0

As the scoreline suggests this was a pretty straightforward win for Queens, infact I can't remember Mathieson having to make a save. Forfar did not seem to pose any threat at all up front and the Queens back four of Rowe, Doig, Thomson and Love dealt with anything that they attempted quite competently without ever being under too much pressure.

The game started at breakneck pace with Queens throwing everything forward but frustratingly making few chances in those first twenty minutes or so. It was a case of from defence to forward line with little in-between for most of the first half with the closest effort being a Jamie McAllister free kick from the edge of the box only just sailing past the keepers left hand post with him scrambling across his goal well beaten.

In truth the game died for at least the last ten minutes of the half and the arrival of half time was quite welcome.

The second half started very brightly for Queens and their pressure paid off with the award of a free kick in fifty four minutes some ten yards outside the box. This time Townsley took control and curled a low drive round the wall and into the keepers left hand corner, giving him no chance to save. The second goal came as we were still celebrating the first and it was that man Townsley again, only this time he out jumped the Forfar defence to send a header low in at the post. These two goals certainly made up for his almost anonymous performance in the first half of the match.

The rest of the half was a case of Queens basically holding their ground and doing enough to ensure victory without working too hard, that is until the eighty fifth minute when McAllister was fed by Love on the left and his curling cross was met by Super Sub Eadie, who unlike the man he replaced, Mallan, was in the perfect position at the right time and nodded past the keeper to secure the points, this after only being on the pitch for two minutes.

On a less savoury note want away striker Stevie Mallan demonstrated clearly today why he should be shown the door now. After a diabolical "pass" to McAllister which the young lad had no chance of getting he made out as if it was the lads fault, one of the less quiet supporters in the enclosure let Mallan know what he thought of his pass. Mallan went out of his way to fire a volley of four lettered abuse at the fan, not professional and not even grown up, he should go now there should be no place for him at Dumfries.

To end on an unusual note I would say that the referee today let the game flow, did not get fooled by Forfars Gillies when he clearly dived, infact he booked him and generally controlled the game with a level of pragmatism not seen before this season at Palmerston, well done Mr. Orr of Kilbarchan.

Match Date 29:08:98

Queens 0 Livingston 1

Despite the scoreline this was the best game seen at Palmerston this season and whilst that would not be too difficult it has to be said that Queens put in a solid and assured performance which deserved a victory, at the very least a draw.

The formation this week was much more comfortable with Kevin Doig fitting in very well and showing that he is a committed defender who reads the game extremely well, already he has built up an understanding with Jim Thomson. His inclusion pushed Geordie Rowe up into midfield at the expense of Cleeland who did not feature, even on the bench. This allowed the contrasting styles of Rowe and Leslie to combine to good effect. Up front Bailey and Eadie looked in good form and indeed most of the chances fell to Eadie who was extremely unlucky on a number of occasions.

Queens soaked up Livvie pressure for the first twenty minutes or so with the 1 million team looking to play good flowing football on the ground, much improved from last year when they chased long balls onto Harvey's head. A class above was John Robertson who produced some nice moves and at one time turned JT inside out.

After weathering this early storm Queens began to come more into the game, most coming through the centre from Rowe and Leslie in the first half, but with few clear cut chances being made.

The second half saw Nesovic come into his own making a number of solo runs and laying off a number of quality balls to feed the two front runners, a combination of good goalkeeping, good luck and good defending kept the Livvie goal intact.

The last twenty minutes were even more frantic with Queens having a one man advantage after Feroz had been sent off for a second bookable offence, again however there was no way through. And as often happens Livvie broke away, and with Robertson advancing on the keeper there was no doubt that he would score, some reports suggest that he was clearly offside, I was at the opposite end so I've no idea.

The worst aspect of the game was the referee, every game this season has been spoiled by an over officious referee, this guy had absolutely no grasp of what was going on, he had completely lost the plot. In a game that you could not in anyway claim was dirty he booked thirteen players and sent off one, in the real world maybe two yellow cards would have been deserved, but not thirteen. His incompetence was emphasised in the last few minutes when JT and John Robertson tussled, Queens were awarded the free kick, JT was booked, whilst he was being booked Robertson walked away, once the referee had finished taking JT's name he set off to find Robertson, somehow he found another Livvie player who had been on the other side of the pitch and booked him!!. Maybe if you were cynical you would say that Robertson was being protected because of his status and the ref knew full well what he was up to as it would have been his second yellow card. Any referee who calls the opposing teams players by their nicknames must have dubious integrity.

The good thing is that this week the formation was correct all the way through the team, the off form players have been dropped and the tactics were good. We may be bottom of the league but not for long.

Match Date 15:08:98

Queens 0 Arbroath 0

I was going to start with the fact that the biggest cheer of the day came when Nesovic appeared as a late substitute, but then I realised that that was the ONLY cheer of the game. This was a dire performance from two teams who if they play like this for the rest of the season will surely find themselves matched up again next season only in the basement division. Fortunately I don't believe that Queens can continue to have such bad luck and for so many of last years stars to continue playing as if they've just met. As for Arbroath, they will find life in this division a long hard slog, Queens played for seventy minutes with only ten men and Arbroath never seriously threatened the home goal.

In terms of mitigating circumstances you could point to the sending off of Townsley in the twentieth minute for a moment of Beckham like madness. Moments before the incident Deggsie had been floored by the Arbroath number eleven, despite the close attendance of the linesman the challenge went unpunished even though the game had to be held up for treatment to be administered, the same offender, no doubt encouraged by the leniency of the officials decided to again illegally challenge Townsley, only this time Deggsie lost it and after the challenge on him lashed out. You guessed it Deggsie gets the clean bath water and the Arbroath eleven sees only yellow. After this you would have expected a reshuffle and Naz brought off the bench to provide the creative inspiration that Townsley was tasked with. No on we soldiered until it was too late.

There isn't anything more to say about the game really, little action at either end and a linesman who couldn't tell obvious offsides despite the cut of the grass this week being across the pitch. Possibly a clever tactical ploy to hold up the long balls that in the end we reverted to chasing, or possibly not.

Encouraging today was David Lilley, who to be honest I had given up on after his long lay off, he seemed much more comfortable at right back than in the central defensive role that he previously occupied. The first time I have seen Potts also, he seemed to have a few nice touches but one game is too short to say anything worthwhile on. Love is still there despite the signing of Doig, maybe when his short term contract is up he will disappear. Finally Leslie AND Cleeland, no way, today they ran around together as if connected by some invisible umbilical chord, I'm afraid that it has to be either one or the other.

Match Date 01:08:98

Queens 1 Caley Thistle 4

The score says it all, we were never really in it against an Inverness side who were nothing more than solid. Pre season form went out of the window but then again so did pre season tactics. We attempted to play with three at the back but with little or no defensive cover down the wings. This was all the invitation that Caley needed to exploit this weakness, all their goals bar one came from cross balls, the fact that they were allowed to get the crosses in shows our main weakness this season, that is our static keeper.

Bright points in the game for Queens were few and far between, possibly Lee Bailey gets pass marks for his endeavour, Nesovic certainly made a big difference when he came on, he certainly made the best chances of the game and set up the best moves by actually releasing players. This was in stark contrast to the two battlers that is Cleeland and Leslie who find it difficult to be creative and thus pressurise the rest of the team.

At least we can say that the influential Townsley was missing as was the new signing Potts, both would have made a difference but maybe not a four goal difference. The game was lost on the tactics employed as the players in the Queens jerseys were the match for those from the North. To emphasise this it took an age to decide who was going to take the penalty, with Nesovic, Mallan and Leslie all vying for the ball. Leslie finally winning to the disgust of Mallan who knocked the ball away, he must have been physic as Leslie not only had the effort saved but also the rebound saved.

A the end of the day we can say that we are really only after league glory and that starts on Tuesday, who wants to play Aberdeen anyway!!

Match Date 29:07:98

Queens 1 Walsall 1

Queens are as well prepared for the start of the season as they have been for a long time. After this draw with Walsall they have emerged with an unbeaten record from all of the pre-season friendlies. Even in the drawn games they have been the better side, against Falkirk a last minute slip cost what should have been a well deserved victory, against Annan it was basically the under eighteen team and against Walsall only the softest of penalty awards, when the ball clearly struck hand, prevented Queens from securing a deserved win.

This game was not a classic but was notable for an excellent all-round performance from Lee Bailey who will undoubtedly prove himself an early favourite with the crowd. He capped off a fine display with a twenty five yard volley into the corner of the net to give Queens the lead and moments later almost snatched a second with a spectacular overhead kick which the keeper did well to hold.

Despite missing Townsley, Love and McLeod Queens managed to control the game for long periods with the ever impressive combination of Thompson and Rowe at the back dealing with everything in their usual competent way. The midfield with Cleeland and Leslie in the middle was as you would expect workmanlike with the loss of Townsley's creative abilities quite obvious. Nesovic only lasted for half an hour and in that time was lucky not to be booked for his usual off the ball capers, a candidate to top the crime count league this season if he lasts the pace. Little Dennis Boyle looks a bit left out of it over on the wing, maybe one of the battlers will have to move out of the centre to give him a go where he would be much more effective, although when Weir replaced Aitken at left back both he and Boyle linked well and caused some problems down the left flank.

Now it's down to the real stuff on Saturday.

Match Date 18:07:98

Queens 2 Falkirk 2

Pre season friendlies are never that competitive, although this match was better than some witnessed in recent years. Queens started and finished both halves quite brightly and really should have won were it not for a last kick of the ball equaliser from Falkirk.

Queens took the lead early in the match when Townsley was fed into the right hand side of the penalty box and found himself with acres of space to take the ball down turn and drive the ball into the net. Not a bad effort for a man who three hours earlier was being dragged around Binns in Carlisle by the wife.

Queens were playing well with a team made up almost entirely of last seasons players except for the inclusion of Lee Bailey who looked to be busy little player up front, making runs in a similar way to Craig Flannagan last year. The Falkirk equaliser was almost classed as an own goal by Jim Thomson when he deflected a shot past the wrong footed Mathieson. Falkirk looked a bit jaded after their game the previous evening against a strong Rangers team, all five subs had played the night before so in reality the team that started was not the first choice.

The second half started quite quietly with Queens looking for some inspiration, this came in the form of a triple substitution, Mallan, Nesovic and Adams coming on for Eadie, Townsley and Bailey respectively. Adams looks to be a lively player who in the short time that he was on the pitch caused trouble down both flanks. Naz wandered around as usual and took his return very sensibly gently after his year on the sidelines, apart from the horrendous gold and red boots. Stevie was Stevie, lots of effort and a nice goal very reminiscent of Craig Burley's strike against Norway, to put Queens 2-1 up.

The stronger team in the closing stages was Queens without doubt, but with the replacement of Thomson with Aitken and McAllister for Boyle, the defence looked a little more rocky. The self destruct button was pressed just as the referee was thinking of going home when a corner came in from the left and found an unmarked Falkirk player who had the easiest of jobs to nod it into the back of the net, especially as the keeper was rooted to the spot.

The most disappointing aspect of the match was the performance of Jim McLeod, either he's not match fit or has lost some confidence, as he was a shadow of the player that he was when he arrived at Palmerston. The most encouraging aspect was the creativeness in midfield and the sharpness of the new and old strikers.

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