Click on link for report. Download 1997/1998 Season Queens 1 Inverness Caley 4 1/ 8/98 Queens 0 Clyde 2 4/ 8/98 Queens 0 Arbroath 0 15/ 8/98 Queens 2 Partick 2 22/ 8/98 Queens 0 Livingston 1 29/ 8/98 Queens 0 Stirling 1 5/ 9/98 Queens 2 Inverness Caley 3 12/ 9/98 Queens 3 Forfar 0 19/ 9/98 Queens 0 East Fife 2 27/ 9/98 Queens 2 Alloa 1 3/10/98 Queens 1 Arbroath 2 10/10/98 Queens 2 Clyde 1 17/10/98 Queens 0 Livingston 2 24/10/98 Queens 2 Stirling 3 31/10/98 Queens 0 Forfar 1 7/11/98 Queens 2 Inverness 2 14/11/98 Queens 0 East Fife 0 21/11/98 Queens 1 Alloa 2 28/11/98 Queens 0 Partick 0 12/12/98 Queens 1 Clyde 2 19/12/98 Queens 2 Livingston 2 27/12/98 Queens 1 Ross County 3 9/ 1/99 Queens 1 East Fife 0 17/ 1/99 Queens 3 Stirling 1 26/ 1/99 Queens 0 Alloa 0 30/ 1/99 Queens 0 Forfar 3 6/ 2/99 Queens 0 Inverness 1 13/ 2/99 Queens 3 Partick 1 20/ 2/99 Queens 3 Arbroath 0 27/ 2/99 Queens 3 Stirling 0 6/ 3/99 Queens 2 Livingston 1 13/ 3/99 Queens 5 Alloa 3 20/ 3/99 Queens 2 East Fife 0 3/ 4/99 Queens 1 Forfar 2 10/ 4/99 Queens 1 Inverness 1 17/ 4/99 Queens 2 Clyde 1 24/ 4/99 Queens 2 Arbroath 0 1/ 5/99 Queens 2 Partick 2 8/ 5/99 Season Review
This was a season that started with so much promise as the team, largely unchanged from the the one that went so close last season, went through there 7 pre-season friendlies undefeated. The changes from the previous year were Charlie Adams and Lee Bailey in and Robert Conner, Tam Bryce, Des McKeown, David Kennedy, Craig Flannigan, oh hell, just see the Partick Thistle team sheet, out. The bookies made us 4th favourites and it looked like it would be another season challenging for promotion.
This illusion ,however, was short lived as we were crushed in our first competative game, 4-1 at home to Inverness in a League Cup game. My opening line for the report on this game really summed up what was to come the rest of the season, That's Shocking Alexander! At least he got his worst tactical decision of the season out of the way early by playing Denis Boyle at right back. Our first league game of the season, away to Clyde Juniors, was a sign of what was to come as 10 man Queens went down 2-0. And really these first few sentances sum up our problems in the first half of the season, no discipline, no width from full back, no creativity in midfield and little punch up front. When we went to Glasgow to draw with Partick Thistle in the best game of the season so far we moved of the bottom of the table for the fist time and equal with Livingsoton. 3 defeats in a row then followed by the time we finally got our first win of the season, taking Forfar appart in a 3-0 win at Palmerston. The struggle continued until the midle of November when high flying Inverness came to Dumfries and were lucky to get away with a 2-2 draw in the best game at Palmerston so far. Lee Bailey scored his only goal of the season in this game but it gets my vote as goal of the season. The pattern continued until the begining of January when the shinty rejects from Ross came to town for a cup game and a very ordinary looking team with one player, ex Pet Shop Boy Neil Trannet, tore us to pieces. This was the final straw and Chairman Norman Blount took the brave step of giving Alexander his jotters at this point. I know I had been calling for his head all season but I wouldn't have liked to be the guy who actually had to do it. Alexander, however, did himself no favours with his refusal to accept any blame and the bad publicity he brought just before his sacking was probably the final nail.
I'll start a new paragraph now, but it should really be a new chapter as that's what the rest of the season proved to be. For the record the table at this point, with 19 games played, was :
Livingston 44 Inverness 38 Clyde 33 Stirling 29 Alloa 27 Partick 26 Arbroath 25 East Fife 19 QUEENS 14 Forfar 10
Ken Eadie and Gearge Rowe took over and in their first game Queens won their 1st away game of the season, rather luckily at East Fife. This was the start of the run that saved us as, after a blip were we drew at home to Alloa and lost to bogey team Forfar and Inverness, we went on a record breaking run of 6 wins in a row, starting of with a brilliant win at Partick, including a win at Livingston, and only brought to an end yet again by bogey team Forfar. This however was only a tempory blip again as Queens won 2 and drew 2 of their last 4 games to secure safety and indeed prove the bookies right by finnishing 4th. The final table was :
Livingston 77 Inverness 72 Clyde 53 QUEENS 48 Alloa 46 Stirling 44 Arbroath 44 Partick 43 East Fife 42 Forfar 31
The table in the 17 games since Alexander's departure looked like this :
QUEENS 34 Inverness 34 Livingston 33 East Fife 23 Forfar 21 Clyde 20 Alloa 19 Arbroath 19 Partick 17 Stirling 15
So, at least we can look forward with optimism as we look back on the second half of last season and dream of what might have been.
My Own Awards : Player of the Season : Andy Aitken Goal of the Season : Lee Bailey v Inverness (14/11/98) Game of the Season : Partick Thistle at Firhill (20/2/99 3-1) Palmerston Game of The Season : Stirling (6/3/99 3-0) Man of the Match Awards : Derek Townsley 3 Steve Mallan 2 Gary Russell 2 Ken Eadie 2 10 othes each had 1 award. Site Player of the Season : Derek Townsley : 11 Votes George Rowe : 9 Votes Full Results
Saturday, 8th May, 1999 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 2,335 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 Partick 2 ? (23) Lachlan (4 pen, 10) Mallan (86)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McGuffie,A. Moffat (Weir 75), Aitken, Cleeland, Townsley, Boyle (Bryce 61), Adams (Bailey 69), Mallan, Caldwell
The final game of the season was played in great weather in front of our biggest crowd of the season (mainly due to Partick) and was one of the most exiting games of the season. Bring on summer football! The program advised that Queens are the fourth best supported team in the league (behind the glory hunters at Inverness and Livingston, and Partick) with an average crowd of 1,215 ( 21,871 total).
Queens started with the young Moffat brothers at either full back position, Lilley and Aitken in the center, Boyle and Cleeland in the middle of midfield with Townsley and Caldwell swapping sides now and then on the flanks. However, Thistle started like a team who had just had all the pressures of the world lifted from their shoulders and who had all the breaks going for them and before we knew it their large traveling support was celebrating being 2-0 up. Queens inexperience at right full back showed after only 4 minutes when young Adam Moffat was caught out in front of the Thistle support. I was too far away to see what happened but the Thistle player went over, the Thistle support went up, and the ref pointed to the spot. Lachlan, one of the best players in the second division, tucked the penalty away. Six minutes later Partick's pace up front showed again as they got clear while Queens claimed off side but Mathieson parried the ball away. However, Boyle dithered on the rebound and allowed Thistle to win it back to cross in from the left for Lachlan to score a second. The Thistle fans were in paradise at this point (they won't like that reference!) but it was to be about their final high point as Queens began to take control, although with Flannigan starring up front they always looked dangerous on the break. Queens pressure finally paid off after 23 minutes. Adams turned and hit a shot from the edge of the box right down the keeper's chest but he let it bounce of him for a corner. Townsley took the corner from the left and it ended up in the net, but don't ask me how. Some guys who were standing behind the goal though Mallan headed it in, I thought the keeper punched into his own net, Sky gave it to Townsley and BBC gave it to 'Scorer to be Announced'. Who cares, we were back into it. The rest of the half continued end to end but no further goals despite many close things, including a neat Thistle free kick which Des thought he was about to score from until his shot was blocked at the last minute. Queens also had a claim for an equalizer when the keeper steeped out of his box with the ball and while Partick were organizing a wall for the free kick Degsey rolled the ball in but the ref wouldn't let it stand. The proper free kick was wasted as Cleeland, who had another good game, rolled it to Townsley (why?) to blast high and wide.
The second half started as the first had finished, end to end football with Queens just edging it. Bryce came on quite early for Boyle to a rousing reception from the Queen's fans as they tried to drown out the expected Thistle response but to be fair to them a fair number of them seemed to be cheering him despite some earlier barracking. Queens continued to probe the Thistle defense and Charlie Adams went close when he got on the end of a long Neil Moffat ball and his lob went over the keeper and narrowly over the bar. Midway through the half Queens went to a kind of 3-4-3 formation as Weir came on for Adam Moffat and Bryce joined Bailey (on for Adams) and Mallan in a more advanced role and Weir in particular started to find space and cause problems with some nice crosses. It was from one of these crosses that Queen's got their equalizer as Mallan got on the end of a deep cross to head into the corner and send the Queens fans into ecstasy. The game was then played out for an honorable draw although the Queens fans were now praying for Tommy Bryce to get the dream goal, he only came close once when he had a reasonable shooting chance but shot well wide. Oh, and by the way, Flannigan was substituted before the end so he still hasn't completed a game at Palmerston. In the very last minute, in an incident incredibly reminiscent of the first Firhill game, Partick got 2 men clear on the right as Queens looked for off side but blew the chance.
So Queens finish 4th, much better than anyone would have dared guess at the halfway point, while the Thistle fans invaded the pitch to celebrate their superb 8th!, missing relegation by 1 point. The announcer sarcastically thanked the Queens fans for not invading the pitch at the end. And as a final point, Townsley did not throw his shirt into the crowd at the end!
Man of the Match - I can't believe I hardly mentioned in the report, but my Player of the Season, Andy Aitken, was on the good ship showboat today as he dominated at the back and went forward more than I have ever seen him, looking like he desperately wanted a goal this season. He even had an over head kick in the first half.
P.S. It would appear that my usually reliable sources gave me duff info this week! It wasn't Neil Moffat at left back but some guy called McGuffie who I've never heard of.
Gayfield, Arbroath Attendance : 976 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 Arbroath 0 Mallan (29,81)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Adam Moffat, Aitken, Cleeland (Bailey 64), Townsley, Boyle, Adams (Bryce 80), Mallan, Weir (Caldwell 61)
Queens officially completed their escape from relegation as this win ensures them of either fourth or fifth spot in the league (barring a 14 goal defeat to Thistle next week) although Clyde's win removes any lingering hopes of 3rd place and an unlikely back door promotion if Clydebank, Raith, Morton, Airdrie...... take your pick, go out of business. Come to think of it, the whole league could still get promoted! AT the same time Partick's win virtually ensures their survival (barring a 14 goal defeat by us next week) and so probably reduces our gate for next week somewhat. East Fife and Stirling are left to fight out the remaining relegation places and with Hamilton now officially down it is between Stenhousemuir and Brechin for who completes our league next year (who cares, they're going back down anyway). It looks good for next year but then again it looked good for this year so lets not hatch our eggs yet (or whatever the saying is). So was I at the game at sunny (I'm reliable informed!) Arbroath. What do you think? I was actually in Manchester taking the wife to a Bruce Springstean concert, and thanks to DJ Alex's pre match entertainment I new all the words! Here's the Sunday Post Report (It's the tiny collection words about to follow!).
Steve Mallan scored twice to secure Queens' place in the Second Division next year. The opener came in 29 minutes when a Cleeland pass was knocked on by Weir and Mallan slotted home. The keeper was helpless when Bailey carved out an opening in 81 minutes for Mallan to net his second.
And that, I kid you not, is it!
Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,218 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 Clyde 1 Mallan (60 (pen), 73)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister (Bryce 84), Rowe, Aitken, Cleeland, Townsley, Boyle, Adams, Mallan, Weir (Caldwell 69) - unused subs : Bailey
First of all, I have to apologise to Clyde. Last week I classed them as spoilers in the Inverness style. I did this on the assumption that they were ex juniors as I can hardly remember the previous game this season. Well, I have to admit I was wrong. Clyde played a nice passing game and I would go so far as to say they were one of the better teams I have seen at Palmerston this season. It is no fluke that they are where they are in the league and good luck to them. I have just read Colin's report on the official site and for once we are going to totally disagree on this game. I thought it was one of the best games of the season, especially first half whereas Colin thought it was quite dreary, Just goes to show how two people can see two different games.
Clyde, to me, were the better team in the first 20 minutes, knocking the ball around beautifully, although Queens had a couple of good chances through Weir. However, after the first 20 minutes, Queens defence and midfield started to break down Clyde's passing game and put us on top. Boyle was in for Leslie and despite the rollicking he was getting from the Heavy Metal Brothers, among others, I though he held the ball well when he had possession and covered back well when he didn't. This was his first game back after a lengthy injury and you do need people to pass to in order to be a passing midfielder. So come on lads, give the boy a break! Queens best chance came when Townsley, who was having one of his poorer games, was through 1 on 1 with the keeper but couldn't finish from a difficult angle. A lot has been made of the fact that Degsey wants to move on to better things but he is going to have to learn to work back if he wants to go anywhere. I don't think Dick Advocat is in the market for a lazy right sided midfielder. Clyde had the cheek to try to lob Scotland's number 1 from the half way line just before the break but Davie got back with some to spare to turn the ball over.
Queens gradually turned up the pressure in the second half as they started to pin Clyde back although it took a while for the breakthrough goal. Mallan managed to steal in in front of a defender to a long through ball and knocked it past the keeper. As he chased the ball he was fouled but got up and the ref played advantage. As he tried to re-gain his feet he was fouled again and this time the penalty was awarded. Townsley took the ball as Mallan was being treated but when he got up Mallan assumed responsibility for the kick to the obvious displeasure of the crowd. Stevie shut them up in style with a well hit spot kick to put as one up. Queens should have been on easy street soon after when first Boyle miss hit a shot from the edge of the box then Adams (I think) fired miles off target only for Mallan to stick his leg out and divert the ball into the bottom corner for number 2. However, 5 minutes from time Queens ensured themselves an anxious last five minutes when the defence was unusually slack and allowed a Clyde forward a free header from a corner to score. The anxious 5 minutes turned into an anxious 10 as the ref added on 5 minutes injury time, although I have to say, I thought he was justified in it.
I thought this was a good win against a very good side. Only a serious of fluke results would see us relegated now but stranger things have happened. I would like to see us get a point next week so that the pressure will be off for the Thistle game, which I think will attract the biggest crowd at Palmerston for a long time. I was impressed by Cleeland again this week, he hasn't half responded to my advise! And I prefer Boyle to Leslie any day.
Man of the Match - Steve Mallan for his 2 goals.
Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,214 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 1 Inverness 1 Rowe (89) Wilson (16)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Rowe, Aitken, Cleeland, Bryce (Caldwell), Leslie, Adams, Mallan, Weir - unused subs : Russell, Bailey
There 2 types of team in this league, those such as Queens, Livingston, Partick, Alloa, Forfar and Arbroath who actually try to play football and then there's Clyde, Stirling, East Fife and today's opponents, Inverness who are spoilers. Inverness are the classic example of the latter. The game they play would be better appreciated by their farming pals out at Park Farm (home of Dumfries Rugby Club). They pack the team with big, strong players who can only kick the ball in the direction they are facing but prefer to kick the nearest opponent, such as Shearer and Mann, and get themselves well organised. But as for skilful football, forget it! I thought we were going to run out of balls today, the number of times they punted the ball out of the park. To be honest through, the writing was on the wall as to how this game was going to go when there was no Townsley in the Queens team and Tommy Bryce was wheeled on in his wheel chair. Think its time to quit, Tommy!
The first half was drivel. Mathieson did his now usual trick of coming out behind the rest of the team and heading for the wrong time. This time he made a show of it as he headed back to the right end doing a Dam Busters impersonation. Unfortunately, this was the best entertainment of the first half as Queens without Townsley lacked the flair or imagination to break down the workmanlike defence and Inverness have never had that ability anyway. The only goal of the half was pretty predicable, Leslie yet again turning attack into defence as he gave the ball away on our best break and then fouled Shearer on the half way line as he flicked the ball through. In the confusion as the ref didn't give the free kick McAllister missed the ball and Inverness's number 7, who looked to be their only footballer, ran through and finished clinically. And that was the first half.
Queens put in a great deal of effort into a second half which they totally dominated but again without anyone to make the play in the midfield they rarely troubled the Inverness defence. The closest they came was when McAllister (I think) had a shot cleared of the line following a strong Queens appeal for a penalty and then when McAllister (definitely this time) hit a free kick from the edge of the box which came back of a post to Mallan who tried to scoop to head the ball home instead of blasting it. Mallan also set Weir up with a chance in a similar position to Ryan Giggs against Juventus and Arsenal but Weiry's no Giggsy! It was therefore quite appropriate that Queens late equaliser had little to do with skill and more to do with determination. George Rowe had moved up front for the last 5 minutes, sacrificing his defence duties and he was on hand to head home from 6 yards following a Caldwell right wing cross. A goal deserved for the effort that had been put in and for at least trying to play football. And at least it stops the rest of this report looking like sour grapes!
Queens received a standing ovation at the end which they deserved for effort if not skill. We badly missed Townsley, I've no idea why he wasn't playing but we need him back soon. My suspicion that we are carrying Leslie, who still thinks he is Maradonna, was confirmed for me today as he actually had to do some work. The rest of the team does its job but Townsley's definitely the inspiration.
Man of the Match - Not only did he perform a one man rescue act at the end but George Rowe was also very rarely troubled at the back.
Station Park, Forfar Attendance : 416 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 1 Forfar 2 Rowe (83) Nairn (5) McLean (70)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Rowe, Aitken, Cleeland, Townsley, Leslie, Adams, Mallan, Weir (Caldwell 74) - unused subs : Bryce, Russell
What is it about Bloody Forfar? They beat us for the 3rd time this season to bring our run of 6 wins in a row to an end and keep us in the relegation fight. And yet the time we did beat them we absolutely tanked them! Fortunately, only Arbroath of the other bottom teams won yesterday and so our position hasn't got any worse and with 3 games from the last 4 at home and a good goal difference we still look like we'll be OK (I hope). In case anyone was in any doubt, I wasn't at the game yesterday so here's the Sunday Post report.
Strong winds made for a scrappy affair, but the Loons managed to scrape a result. The match got of to a lively start when Forfar's Nairn hammered home from 18 yards after 5 minutes. The conditions made play at the start of the second half unattractive and both teams enjoyed only a few sporadic attacks. Forfar got their second with 20 minutes remaining when young Barry McLean flicked Cargill's cross over Mathieson and into the net. With 7 minutes to go, Queen's George Rowe headed home a Townsley cross to put the visitors back in with a chance.
Saturday, 3rd April, 1999 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,411 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 East Fife 0 Adams (12) Harrison Off (27) Townsley(32)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Rowe (Bailey 50), Aitken, Cleeland (Russell 75), Townsley, Leslie, Adams (Bryce 70), Mallan, Weir
Calling out around the world, Are you ready for a brand new beat, Summer's here and the time is right for dancing in the street. Sorry about that but I feel like singing today. On the sunniest day of the year so far Queens second biggest crowd of the season turned out to see Queens cruise to their sixth win in a row and show yet again, on this day when the promotion places were decided, what should have been this season with better leadership in the first half of the season. I even said to my mate GH that I now feel confident going into games that we are going to win. Make no mistake about it, and you can ask the East Fife fans who were there today, this was a lot easier than the scoreline suggests.
Queens took the lead in 12 minutes when Mallan broke the East Fife offside trap from a Mathieson clearance and sent Townsley away on the right. Degsey hit the touch line and pulled the ball back for the classic example of Alexander's failure, Charles 'Scarlet' Adams, who Alexander almost broke, to slam his fourth goal in as many games into the roof of the net. Easy! Queens continued to dominate and their cause was helped when Cleeland lost the ball in midfield. As he chased back to try to regain posession he was elbowed in the face by Harrison, and the ref., who had already made some very strange decisions, sent him packing to give Queens the numerical advantage which they soon took advantage of when they scored from what looked like a cleverly arranged training ground routine. From a corner on the right Queens packed the front post and when McAllister sent over the perfect cross their were enough men there to stop the keeper getting there and let George Rowe head home a second. For the next few minutes Mark Weir was getting unbelievable space on the left but unfortunately he wasn't having the best of games on the distribution side of things today. The last 10 minutes of the half proved to be a sign of what was to come as the game became scrappy with very little pattern.
East Fife seemed to pay Queens a massive compliment by coming out for the second half with the intention of settling for what they had to preserve their goal difference and to be honest, Queens seemed to be quite happy to accept the space which they were given in defence and midfield and take it easy, only occasionally putting the East Fife defence under pressure, although when they did they looked like they could increase the lead at any time. The closest thing came when their keeper pulled off a superb point blank save from Mallan, who had another couple of good tries along with Adams. In the end however, Queens were more than happy to accept the 2-0 win offered to them by the Fifers and cruised through. The biggest cheer of the half came when Tam Bryce was reintroduced to Palmerston for the last few minutes but he didn't really get the chance to shine. The biggest surprise was that ex-Queens, Spider Ramsey, who had signed for East Fife from Alloa a couple of weeks ago, managed to stay on the pitch for the full ninety minutes this time, having been sent of in his last game at Palmerston. Townsley also finished the game this time, replacing Rowe at centre half for most of the second half and having a ridiculously easy time of it. Another thing I was thinking was the strength in depth we have on the bench, but what has happened to NAZ.
Results elsewhere move Queens up to fourth but it's still very tight down there and we need a few more wins to be sure. I certainly wouldn't bet on Queens going down through.
Man of the Match - Another superb all round performance today but I though Steve Mallan led the line superbly, narrowly edging David Lilley.
Saturday, 20th March, 1999 Recreation Park, Alloa Attendance : 523 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 5 Alloa 3 Townsley (16) Clark (39) Adams (44) Cameron (58, 77) Mallan (47, 75) Rowe (74)
Queens Team : Mathieson, McCaig, McAllister, Rowe, Aitken, Cleeland, Townsley (Bryce 76), Leslie, Adams, Mallan, Weir -unused subs : Bailey, Caldwell
Queens won their fifth game in a row and scored 5 for the first time this season as things continue on the up and up. We have now passed Stirling and are only a point behind Partick and 2 behind Alloa, although we are only 3 in front of Arbroath in ninth place. Few, it's tight down here! I shouldn't tempt fate but our run doesn't look too tough, of the last 6 games 4 are at home and the 2 away games are against Forfar and Arbroath, so here's to 11 in a row! I wasn't at the game yesterday, as you've probably already guessed, I'm not the most travelled supporter in the world but I was talking to a couple of guys in the pub last night and they reckon it was a well deserved win again. Oh, and by the way, you did read right, the fans favourite Tommy Bryce has come back to Palmerston yet again after his brief unsuccessful spell managing Glasgow Thirds. Welcome back Tam.
Thought I'd try the Sunday Herald this week in my search for a Sunday Paper that actually knows there is a Second Division but it's no better than the rest. Can anyone suggest a good one? Anyway, here's their report, such as it is.
There was a goal storm at Recreation Park where Alloa Athletic were thumped 5-3 by Queen of the South. The Palmerston outfit took the lead through Derek Townsley in the 16th minute, but that was wiped out when Derek Clark struck in the 39th. Charlie Adams restored the Queens' advantage a minute from half-time and Stevie Mallan added a third two minutes after the break. But Martin Cameron hauled that back in the 53rd minute before George Rowe rattled in the fourth in the 74th minute. Some 60 seconds later Mallan walloped in a fifth before Cameron brought down the curtain on the scoring with his sides third effort in the 77th minute.
Saturday, 13th March, 1999 Armondvale, Livingston Attendance : 2,316 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 Livingston 1 Townsley (29) Boyle (87) Adams (41) Lilley (Off 76) Millar (Off 54)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Rowe, Aitken, Cleeland, Townsley (Bailey 73), Leslie, Nesovic (Caldwell 88), Adams, Weir (McCaig 81).
Four in a row. We're going to win the league (next year). Queens ended Livingston's unbeaten home run today to win their fourth match in a row and prove that we are indeed the best team in the division and were only being held back by the manager. Other results elsewhere went our way today and we have now pulled out of the bottom two and are zooming towards the top of the table. I couldn't make it today as I am taking the mother-in-law out for her mother's day dinner tonight and couldn't have made it back in time but have spent a nervous afternoon watching Sky Sports for the scores coming through. Will post a report from one of the papers tomorrow.
Sunday Post Report
Livingston slumped to their first home league defeat of the season as Queen of the South questioned their title credentials and recorded their fourth straight league win at the same time. The opener came when Derek Townsley galloped clear of Paul Deas and drilled a low shot past Neil Alexander. Alexander was at fault when Charles Adams headed the second from a Jim McAllister corner. The game turned ugly late in the second half when Livingston skipper John Millar and Queen's defender David Lilley were both sent off for two bookable offences. Jim Boyle scored with a late free-kick for Livingston but it was too little, too late.
Saturday, 6th March, 1999 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,014 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 3 Stirling 0 Townsley (7) Adams (21) Cleeland (38)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister (Caldwell 80), Rowe, Aitken, Cleeland, Townsley (Nesovic 72), Leslie, Eadie (Bailey 83), Adams, Weir.
Can we start the season again? Queens continued to show promotion winning form instead of the relegation escaping stuff we are being forced to play and did to an admittedly awful Stirling defence what the should have done to Ross County a few months back in the pre confidence days. The only change to last weeks team was Adams for the suspended Mallan and although I wasn't there last week by all accounts we took over from were we left of last week.
Queens could quite easily have avenged their 7-0 defeat of a few seasons ago against Stirling in the first half alone as they pummelled a helpless Stirling defence and created chance after chance. Charles Scarlet Adams showed the way early on, twice outrunning the Stirling defence in the inside right channel before shooting narrowly passed. The hero of the last few weeks, big Degsey Townsley, took his queue from this and after 6 minutes waltzed through the middle of the Stirling defence before coolly slotting home a left footed shot into the corner of the net. Queens continued to sweep forward in droves and created far to many chances for me to mention here. After 21 minutes Queens got a well deserved 2nd when Adams again outran the Stirling defence down the right. This time the keeper started to come before changing his mind. As he tried to get back Captain Scarlet lobbed the ball over his head and by the time the ball hit the back of the net Charlie was half way back to the centre circle with one of the most passionate celebrations ever seen at Palmerston for his well deserved 1st goal for Queens. I've always thought he looked a good player and was too often made the scape goat during the Alexander period but hopefully this will be the turning point. Before half time Queens added a 3rd when Cleeland won the ball in midfield and ran on to collect the ball again from an Adams through ball (I thought it was Adams but the papers said Townsley) before shooting convincingly past the keeper and into the net. Cast your mind back a few weeks to the Forfar game and you will see what a difference confidence makes. OK, I'm not going to be allowed to get by this. In recent weeks I have been Cleeland and Leslie's biggest detractor but I have to admit they played brilliant on Saturday. To be fair to me, my main complaint was that they aren't playmakers and I still believe this but now that their main job is to win the ball for Degsey they look far more comfortable. Well done lads.
Queens eased off a little in the second half and should only have scored about five. The closest they came was when Eadie hooked narrowly over and Philliben headed just wide of his own post. Townsley left the field to a standing ovation after 72 minutes to be replaced by Nesovic and a couple of minutes later Naz hit a Townsleyesque free kick from the edge of the box of the post. To be honest through, the highlight of the half was the comedy moment. A guy behind the goal in a yellow jacket (that's not the joke) came running down to try to throw the ball back but tumbled head first over the barrier before somersaulting to the floor. Pure slapstick.
So we go on to Livingston next week and they, off course, are notoriously scared of us so they must be crapping themselves about our current form. Unfortunately, results elsewhere this week kept us second bottom but it won't be long now.
Man of the Match - Sponsors R&D gave it to Charlie Adams and who am I to disagree.
Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,020 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 3 Arbroath 0 Leslie (49) Townsley (59, 78)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Rowe, Aitken, Cleeland, Townsley (Adams 82), Leslie, Eadie, Mallan, Weir : Unused subs - Bailey, Russell.
We're Doomed. Thank God I can strike that one
out. While we certainly aren't safe yet, if we had lost today we
would almost certainly have been down. As it is, on current form,
there is no reason we can't get out of this mess. As I said, I
couldn't make it today as I was on a bus to Edinburgh as the boys
were doing their stuff on the park. At about six o'clock I finally
heard that we had won 3-0 but it was one in the morning before I was
able to find out for sure when I got home . Talk about tension! It
would seem that in my absence Steven Leslie has only gone and scored.
Go on yersel, wee man, prove me wrong.
Sunday Post Report.
This relegation battle saw Queens keep their survival hopes alive and at the same time drag Arbroath back into the mire. Second-half strikes by midfielders Leslie and Townsley made the points safe and gave Queens their first home win since mid-October. Leslie put them ahead 4 minutes after the break and for the next 10 minutes they pounded the Arbroath goal missing a string of chances. But Townsley eventually scored the second with a fierce drive into the bottom corner. Townsley notched again with a fine solo effort, shooting across Hinchcliffe and into the far corner.
Saturday, 20th February, 1999 Firhill, Glasgow Attendance : 1,510 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 3 Partick 1 Mallan (21,71) Dunn (38) Rowe (43)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Rowe, Aitken, Leslie, Townsley, Cleeland, Eadie, Mallan, Boyle (Adams)
My second away game of the season and, strangely enough, to the same place as the last time. What is it that makes a trip to Partick more appealing than a trip to Arbroath? Well, apart from the obvious location and ease to get to on the Choo-Choo they also have a very impressive ground, or at least the one stand that they use is very impressive, featuring closed circuit TV showing the game in the back of the stand so that my mates don't miss the action when they go for their traditional 3:30 tea break. Having said that, they do charge you £10 for the privilege, and then complain because when they went to Clyde they were charged £10. They state that all 9 2nd division clubs have had their largest home gates against Thistle but I am pretty sure that it could also be said that all 9 teams would have had their biggest travelling support at Thistle so they benefit 18 times a season while the other teams only benefit twice. The chairman's comments sound like he thinks his club are too good for the second division. Well, you've got at least another season in the division so you'd better get used to it. Having said that, it is still in doubt whether our trips to Glasgow next year will be to Firhill or Lesser Hampden. I doubt, however, if even Arbroath could have provided a colder day and apparently the pitch was inspected at 2:00 before the game went ahead.
To the game, Queens were superb and have to stay up if they can maintain this form, although everybody else at the bottom have started to win, including Arbroath yesterday, and we are now in a position were everyone to Alloa in 4th place must be looking nervously over their shoulders at relegation. Queens handicapped themselves by playing Leslie and Cleeland in midfield and still won convincingly, maybe we are used to playing with 9 men. The first half was pretty even, the wind seamed to effect both teams and there was little creative football from either team, Partick seeming happy to hit on the break even at home, although it has to be said that they do look dangerous at this. Denis Boyle had to go of early to be replaced by Scarlet Adams who went on to have one of his better games against his old club. Queens took the lead after an almighty goalmouth scramble following a corner which Partick eventually somehow managed to scramble away to the edge of the box. The ball was immediately returned to Townsley on the left side of the box and in about his only creative contribution of the half Degsy skinned his man to the touch line before pulling the ball back to Mallan who had pulled off into a great position to fire a cross shot against the far post and into the net. Thistle then had quite a good spell and missed some good chances, the best of these following to 'Queens Fan' Flannigan, before equalising about 10 minutes from half time. Mathieson struggled to get across his goal to what looked like a fairly weak shot and could only parry the ball out. Even then, he still looked favourite to block the follow up as Dunn, the only Thistle player who has been capable of hitting the net recently, retrieved the ball at a difficult angle but he somehow managed to find space between Mathieson and the post to score the equaliser. At that point all square at half time looked like a fair score but Thistle returned the favour just before half time when their keeper dropped a shot from a corner at George Rowe's feet and the boss gladly accepted the gift to put us in at half time with a precious lead.
If the first half had been fairly even, the second half, or at least the first 25 minutes, belonged to Queens and Derek Townsley in particular. First, he went on a brilliant run down the right into the box and hit a shot which looked in all the way but hit the far post and rebounded to safety. He then repeated this feet and this time his left footed shot was pushed out by the keeper straight to Andy Aitken who somehow blazed over the bar with his right foot with the goal totally unguarded and only 6 yards out. He won't be adding centre forward to his CV of positions played! Degsy's next contribution was to hit a free kick from the right side of the box which McAllister, who had just made a good run, looked favourite to hit, and the keeper again could only parry the ball out but this time nobody was following in and the danger was cleared. Queens pressure was finally reward however and ironically it was a Partick style break away which got the goal, Mallan latching on to a long ball with acres of space and time to pick his spot. Now, this would normally have resulted with a shot clearing the terracing but this time Steve kept his cool to finish brilliantly and polish the game off. Queens then sat back for much of the rest of the game, mainly due to the fact that Townsley was now nackerred, and although Mathieson had to make a good save Partick rarely looked dangerous and we held out easily. The Queens fans were now really enjoying themselves, chanting 'Dessy is a Queens Fan' every time Des McKewan touched the ball, while the Partick fans booed his every touch, and shouting for Tommy Bryce to give us a wave, which he never did.
This is about the best I have seen Queens play this season and apart from the blip against Forfar we have been doing well recently. Unfortunately, Arbroath beat Stirling to remain 5 points clear of us which means we won't pass them when we beat them at Palmerston next week, but it must now surely only be a matter of time till we pull clear of danger, which as I said earlier means even Alloa. Unfortunately, I can't make the match next week but would urge as many people as possible to get along to our most important game for years. As I said, I'd rather visit Firhill than Lesser Hampden next year!
Man of the Match : I've said in the past that he is lazy but if Derek Townsley could give us 25 minutes like this every week I would forgive him anything.
Inverness Attendance : 2,204 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 Inverness 1 Thomson Off (82) Rowe (o.g. 73)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Rowe, Thomson, Aitken, Townsley (Adams 60), Russell, Mallan, Armstrong (Eadie 45), Bailey (Cleeland 76)
Sunday Post Report:
Caley kept the pressure on the League leaders Livingston with a hard fought victory over Queens who finished the match with 10 men. In a disappointing first half, the home side created chances and only poor finishing and keeper David Mathieson denied them. On 16 mins there were loud appeals for a penalty when McLean went down in the box following a clumsy Jim Thomson challenge. However, referee Caney waved play on. After 73 minutes the visitors defence finally cracked when Barry Wilson flighted in a free kick to the far post and Scott McLean headed back across goal for Queens player boss George Rowe to divert the ball high into his own net from 4 yards. 8 minutes from time any hopes off a Queens revival disappeared when central defender Jim Thomson was red carded by referee Caney for a late challenge on McLean.
Saturday, 6th February, 1999 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 968 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 Forfar 3 Cargill (33, 79) McIlravey (39)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Rowe, Aitken, Bailey (Townsley), Leslie, Russell, Mallan (Adams), Nesovic (Armstrong), Cleeland
Leslie and Cleeland.
Oh, you want to know more? I thought that really says everything. Yes, the gruesome twosome were back in midfield and as a result Queens didn't put together a passing move all day. It seems to spread to the rest of the team but it must be disheartening when you are down two players. I think Leslie probably could do a job, but not as a midfield playmaker, while Cleeland, I'm afraid, just doesn't look a player to me. Rowan Alexander was in the stand watching again but I'm sure even he couldn't have put out a team to put up a display as bad as this.
The first half started a bit ding dong with neither side really creating any chances until Queens looked like they were about to get on top and Bailey should have scored after about 25 minutes but missed from point blank after Mallan's cutback. Queens had looked solid defensively until then but five minutes later the roof caved in on our season when Forfar scrambled a chance down the right wing and the cross left the forward only to head home from about a yard out. I said to my mate at this point that there was no way we were going to score today at this point and five minutes our defeat became inevitable as the defence went missing to allow a Forfar forward all the time in the world to make it two. Forfar then went into total defensive and time wasting mode, and who could blame them. And Queens very rarely looked capable of breaking them down. Queens left the field at half time to the familiar sound of booing from the stand.
Amazingly the same team came out for the second half and the same old tedium as in the first half ensued. After about 15 minutes Ronnie Bradford (Director) appeared in the dug out area and surprisingly two minutes later there was a double substitution, Townsley and Armstrong for Nesovic, who was very keen to get off, and Leslie. Amazingly, Cleeland survived. Lilley then lost it and was lucky not to be sent off for a terrible tackle right in front of the dugouts. Forfar should have had another couple, first their right back had a free header from a corner and then two of them went through as Queens stood waiting to ask the ref a question (I assume that's why they had their hands up) but blazed over. Whoever, they did add a third when yet again they struggled clear on the right wing, were Jamie McAllister was having a poor game, and when the cross came over they had a guy standing all on his own. He miss hit the shot but Mathieson was already going the other way and couldn't get back for it. Once Townsley finally got some touches of the ball he looked more dangerous than the rest of the team had and from one run he got away on the right and laid a good ball back across the six yard box to the unmarked man. Unfortunately, this was Cleeland and as you will see from the scoreline the result was as expected. The game dwindled away, with most of the fans already gone anyway. I stayed to the end to boo Alexander off, having total forgot he had got the bullet! Still, at least I had the clearest drive home I have ever had, being able to drive unhindered out of the ground as everybody else had already gone home.
East Fife also won again today to further worsen our position and all the good work of the last few weeks has been for nothing. I thought last week was as good as we have played up until the last third of the field and everyone who was at Stirling says it was the best we have played all season. It is now Sunday morning and in the cold light of day I have maybe been a bit harsh on Leslie and Cleeland in giving them all the blame. The person who decided to field them both has to take his share. I think we can probably play one of them as a midfield ball winner but when they are both there the ball is just given away too much for the team to have any fluidity.
Man of the Match - I new you were going to ask! I'll go for Gary Russell, who, although he was dragged down to the level of the rest of the team, at least continued to find himself in the right positions.
Saturday, 30th January, 1999 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,201 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 Alloa 0 Ramsey (Off 70)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Rowe, Aitken, Adams (Armstrong 64), Bailey, Russell, Mallan, Nesovic, Weir (Caldwell 69) : unused sub - Moffat
The first home game since the departure of Alexander and ironically it was against Alloa who also had a new man in change, Terry 'The Dufillcoat' Christie (yes, he's still wearing it) who was one of the people being mentioned as an outsider for the Queens job. Eadie I take it was still injured and he took control of things from the dugout were the first noticeable change was visible in that Queens, like every other team in the league, no longer stayed hidden in the dug out but came out to shout instructions. There was a photographer, who looked incredibly like the assassin from the film Leon, who sat with his camera trained on Paddington Bear (The Dufillcoat) for the whole game and we also had a laugh with him in the second half when he was shouting at one of his new charges, who's name happened to be Willy. You'd be surprised at the number of football cliches which go well with the word Willy, harder Willy, go long Willy, more Willy etc. Oh how we laughed. Everybody will want to come and stand with us next week. Maybe even the guy sitting directly opposite us on his own at the back of the new stand in a long camel skin coat. Yes, that's right, Rowan was spotted at the game as a spectator. The Morton game must have been off! AS for the Queens team, Thomson, Townsley, Leslie and Cleeland were all still missing which had us all trying to calculate if they were still suspended or just out of favour with the new management. A couple of changes which I thought should have been made ages ago were evident. Jamie McAllister provided a natural left foot at right back and Nesovic's ability to hold the ball up was utilised up front. A new guy, Russell, who we think has come from the reserves but aren't sure, played the much needed holding midfield role very impressively and Charles Scarlet Adams was on the right side of midfield but unfortunately had another stinker.
Queens were brilliant in a first half which I really didn't want to end and were very unlucky not to be leading at half time. The bad news for Alloa fans, if there were any who didn't see the game as they seemed to have more fans than they get at home games, is that you are unlikely to see your team score seven goals again under the dufillcoat as he set out with a very defensive formation. George Rowe had a header cleared of the line early on then skied an overhead kick over the bar from a yard out following a scramble. Russell won a free kick on the edge of the box which he took control of, which Nesovic didn't look too happy about. He laid the ball of to Mallan who hammered a shot of the top of the crossbar so hard that it then bounced over the back of the covered enclosure. Stevie then almost topped this with what I think would have been the goal of the season if it had gone in, although one of the papers seemed to right it of as a miss hit! Rowe played a 40 yard cross field pass which Stevie took first time on the volley but the keeper managed to turn it round the post. Weir then went through and finished coolly but he had already been given off side. I wonder if he would have been as cool if he hadn't been flagged off?
Queens were much poorer/ Alloa were much better at the start of the second half and almost paid for it but Mathieson pulled of an amazing save to turn the ball onto the bar and over. Again, he never got the credit from one of the papers which claimed he was beaten. After about 20 minutes of the half, ex Queens Spider Ramsay showed his old Palmerston form when he fouled Russell and then stamped on him. The ref first booked him, then went to speak to his linesman, then came backed and booked him again which was of course followed by a red card. For a change it wasn't the Queens fans who were incensed with the ref! Queens continued to dominate possession for the rest of the game without really threatening although sub Gareth Armstrong had a last minute shot saved and Nesovic almost got to the rebound. Overall through, it looks like Queens are on the road to improvement and we can look forward to better things for the rest of the season.
Man of the Match - Probably because it's the first time I've seen him, but I was impressed with Russell.
P.S. Excuse the spelling, my spell checker isn't working.
Tuesday, 26th January, 1999 Stirling Attendance : Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 3 Stirling 1 Nesovic (23) Graham (88) Armstrong (75) Caldwell (80)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Rowe, Aitken, Adams (Cleeland 76), Bailey, Russell, Mallan, Nesovic (Armstrong 55), Weir (Caldwell 65)
The second away win in succession and suddenly the talk is of confidence and not having the fear of trying things for fear of criticism. What a surprise!
New Bayview, Methil Attendance : 678 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 1 East Fife 0 Nesovic (64)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Rowe, Aitken, Bailey, Armstrong (Boyle 60), Trialist, Mallan, Nesovic, Weir (Adams 79)
The first post Alexander and coincidentally the first away win of the season (not). Mathieson was brilliant according to the people I've spoken to and the papers and Moffat missed a penalty in 50 minutes for them.
Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,194 Scottish Cup, Round 2 Queens 1 Ross County 3 Nesovic (88) Tarrant (30,37,39(pen))
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, Aitken, Rowe, Thomson ( Townsley ), Leslie, Bailey, Armstrong, Adams ( Mallan ), Nesovic, Boyle ( Weir )
Well, what can you say about today? Let's start with WHO'S TO BLAME!!!!!! Most of the crowd seemed to stump for a joint effort between the referee and the far side linesman, by the end an increasing number went for Alexander, Alexander himself went for Charlie Adams, as usual, and Neil Cooper, Hamish McAlpine and Neil Tarrant from the Pet Shop Boys who was playing up front for them today, all took some blame from the crowd. My opinion? The general opinion was that the ref was a cheat. I thought he was just crap! He gave them a helping hand but wasn't entirely to blame. Charlie Adams? Rowan took him of after half an hour, when the score was still one-nil, I think. If he really doesn't fancy him why doesn't he let him go? And why did he sign him in the first place? Personally I think the guy deserves a chance which he isn't getting. The Pet Shop Boy? Well, he did go down every time someone got within 10 yards of him but who can blame him with Queens record? And its his job to score goals (take note Queens forwards). Baldy and Fatty on the touch line? Well, you can see why they upset some of our fans, who don't realise that a manager is meant to get out of his dugout and encourage his team. Let's take an example. At 3-0 up mid way through the second half the ref proved his ineptitude yet again when he awarded Queens a throw which should clearly have went the other way. Messrs Baldy and Fatty almost blew a gasket complaining about. Queens, on the other hand, conceded three at best dodgy goals. Rowan stood and dreamed of Morton! So who's to blame. Take a guess!
Now, this will come as something as a surprise to anyone who wasn't there, but Queens dominated all but 10 minutes of this game. But despite the fact that the Ross defence consisted of the Dumper Truck and his big brother, they never looked like scoring until the last 15 mins. Before the half hour, the best chance fell to them when Mathieson pulled off an amazing save from a point blank header. On the half hour, disaster struck. Jim Thomson moved into stinker mode. I could see exactly what was going to happen as he tried a fancy lay of instead of a hoof and allowed the Pet Shop Boy through on Mathieson. Now the ball may or may not have struck his hand on the way to goal but it really made little difference to the finally outcome of a goal. Queens then, surprisingly (not, Rowan stated at the AGM that he would be sent off every week if he was still playing, that's leadership) totally lost their discipline, if the word discipline can be used in connection Queens, and allowed Ross to seal the game. The second goal was the dodgiest of the lot, with at least two good hand ball claims before he ball was scrambled home and the third, which I didn't really see but my mates, who had gone for pies while all three goals were being scored, assure me that Nesovic needlessly upended the guy in the box to give away the penalty which was smashed home (was that a sentence?). Boyle was lucky not to get himself sent of at this point as he totally lost the plot. And so the half came to an end with the crowd baying for the ref's blood. I must say though lads, its just a game and the language and general attitude was terrible and the poor guy who had brought his little girl had to move as she was getting visibly upset by it all.
Queens were back to being the better team in the second half although County were well in control. But again, they never really looked like scoring. Boyle was lucky not to be punished again when he deliberately upended one of their players having been dispossessed, but Mr Incompetent didn't even give a free kick. The came one of the best flash points seen at Palmerston for a long time. Queens were awarded a free kick in midfield. Steven Leslie tried to get the ball from the three of their players who were keeping it from him, lets just say he treated them like a lady! While this was happening Denis Boyle made the mistake of running within 10 yards of Pet Shop Boy on his way to take a free kick and the Pet Shop One proved to be a better actor as singer as down he went. Now, I didn't actually see the incident but if you know what size Denis is and the size of this gut, well, you can draw your own conclusions. George Rowe, however, did see the incident, and was incensed with Petty. He went steaming in, soon to be followed by everyone else on the pitch. When the excitement died down, both linemen had their flags up. The ref, of course, went to his pal on the other side of the pitch, 50 yards away, first, before coming back to the linesman on our side, who had been 10 yards away. On his way back he booked Leslie and one of the big girls. In the meantime, Queens were desperately trying to sneak Boyle off for Weir but the linesman wouldn't let them cause it was Denis he wanted to report. Denis got away with a booking however and was immediately substituted. We then started to take bets on the first sending off (Leslie was hot favourite) but Queens surprisingly got to the end with a full compliment. And they started to improve after this as Mark Weir gradually managed to get it through to his team mates that this defence was pretty poor and could be breached. It was Mark who finally made the goal that gave Queens some hope when his deep cross was knocked back for Naz to score from close range. Queens finished with a flourish but it wasn't to be and Mathieson and the County forward line saved them from loosing further goals.
A final word on the crowd. 1,194? Looked a lot more to me! And in the end, did this defeat really matter. After all, all we had to look forward to was an away defeat at Clydebank.
Man of the Match : Mark Weir.
Sunday, 27th December, 1998 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,221 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 Livingston 2 Eadie (pen 1) Millar (46) Mallan (87) Bingham (72)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Aitken, Rowe, Bailey ( Mallan ), Turner, Armstrong, Eadie ( Adams), Nesovic, Boyle
Livingston tried to bottle out of playing Queens yet again, claiming they were stuck on the M74 and couldn't get to Dumfries. However, they didn't get away with it and eventually turned up, shaking in their boots, over an hour late to eventually kick off one and a quarter hours late. I, however, seem to have been one of the few people who didn't know this and I ended up sitting in an almost empty stand at quarter to three. It was like being at a Clydebank game. And so I sat freezing for an hour and a half listening to D.J. Alec's entire record collection (yes, that's right, Bruce Springsteen's Greatest hits and The Best of the Eurythmics (twice)). At about 20 past three the first stirrings occurred as Mathieson, looking for all the world like a downhill skier, came out to warm up. By the time the rest of the team came out to join them Queens had by far the largest crowd they have had for a training session. I did notice that 8 year old Russell Jardine, today's mascot, had little difficulty keeping up with the players during their warm up run! When my mates joined me from the Social Club they were well on and judging by the atmosphere inside the ground they weren't alone. Perhaps Queens should kick off late every week. Just to add to the occasion there were Queens fans visiting today from both Germany and Holland. International appeal or what. Drop me an e-mail to let me me know if you enjoyed yourselves.
OK, I know you're thinking I've gone on for ages without mentioning the match. Well don't worry, cause I don't have that much to say about it. It was quite an exiting game, Queens put in a lot of effort without much style and there wasn't a lot of exciting skilful moments. Queens started with a bang when Nesovic skilfully went down in the box to win a penalty and Eadie, Eadie, Eadie put us one up in the first minute. Livingston should have equalise straight away but Mathieson pulled of a great save. Livingston had the best of the next 15 minutes before the game started to swing from end to end. Eadie had to be replaced by Charles Scarlet Adams early on and Scarlet almost scored with his first touch and again just before half time.
Queens were pretty poor in the second half, loads of effort but little creativity. Livingston scored almost as quickly as Queens had in the first half when a shot trickled in from about 70 yards. I could have ran from my position in the other half to clear it but Mathieson somehow failed to get to the ball. Livingston then went 2-1 up with a goal which I always think shows the difference between a good and bad side. Their left winger managed to find plenty of room to put in a low cross which was allowed to run unchallenged to some guy called Bingo to belt it home. Beaten by a Bingo Caller! That looked like that would be it until Queens got a late equaliser when Armstrong's shot was spilled by the keeper and Mallan followed in to score an undeserved equaliser. Queens almost stole it in the dying minutes but Armstrong somehow managed to slice wide. The ref had probably given a free kick anyway. Why not, he had penalised Queens for everything else. The Linesman on our side was visibly embarrassed by some of his decisions.
East Fife beat Inverness today to further worsen Queens position. We need to do something quick.
Man of the Match : Nope, I'm stuck. Think I'll go for Ken Eadie.
Broadwood, Cumbernauld Attendance : 759 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 1 Clyde 2 Rowe (23) Carrigan (38) Conway (78) Thomson (Off 27) Leslie (Off 71)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, Aitken, Rowe, Thomson, Leslie, Turner, Armstrong ( Bailey 67 ), Eadie ( Mallan 63 ), Nesovic, Weir ( Boyle 60 ).
Had a comment recently from one of my readers that I don't seem to go to many games. Well, no, I'm proud to say I'm not daft enough to go to many away games and I was fortunate enough to miss this one!
Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,731 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 Partick 0
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, Aitken, Rowe, Thomson, Leslie, Turner, Caldwell ( Eadie 45 ), Mallan ( Bailey 71 ), Nesovic, Weir : Unused sub - Boyle
After last weeks rousing Scottish Cup display (we got a bye) it was the clash of Queens past against Queens present at Palmerston as Tommy Bryce brought his old boys back home for the first time. Tam himself didn't play but Kennedy and McKeown both started and Flannigan came on in the second half. The game attracted the biggest league crowd at Palmerston for a while, mainly due to the large Partick following (can't be much to do in Glasgow on a Saturday afternoon in December!) but the result wasn't much good to either team and to be honest the game was nothing like as good as the Firhill game earlier this season. Caldwell started up front with Mallan but this partnership changed to Eadie and Bailey by the end. Nesovic and Leslie were the central midfield as it was Townsley and Cleeland's turns to miss the game suspended, and Leslie had his best game that I have seen in this role. Partick didn't look anything like as good a team as earlier in the season.
The first half was disappointing and I kept missing bits because the conversation was more interesting. Mathieson confirmed to me that he is back to his best, making a couple of comfortable saves without Partick ever really threatening him. The best chance of the half fell to Mallan but his shot from the edge of the box was brilliantly saved by Partick's keeper.
Queens dominated the second half and nearly scored twice, both following good runs by Leslie. The first time he went through on his own from almost the half way line and this time still had the energy to hit a left foot shot which the keeper did well to save and then with five minutes left he did an almost carbon copy, this time the keeper could only parry the shot and it looked like the Queens forward following in (didn't see who it was) had a tap in but the keeper made a brilliant recover to block again and Partick eventually scrambled it clear. Nesovic was lucky to stay on the park a couple of times in the second half when twice, having been booked in the first half, he was very late with challenges but got away with it. Our only other real chance of the half came when we got a free kick on the edge of the box, but despite please from the Queens fans, Tam wouldn't come on and take it for us and so it was wasted!
With Arbroath winning and East Fife getting a draw this result does nothing for Queens and we remain 5 points adrift of safety as the season reaches its half way point. Things better start to improve soon.
Man of the Match : Steven Leslie
Saturday, 28th November, 1998 Alloa Attendance : 592 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 1 Alloa 2 Mallan (53) Cameron (63) McKechnie (84)
Queens Team : Mathieson, McLeod ( Rowe 60 ), Aitken, Townsley, Thomson, Cleeland, Turner, Leslie, Mallan, Bailey (Caldwell 70 ), McAllister : Unused sub - Weir
Saturday, 21st November, 1998 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 937 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 East Fife 0
Queens Team : Mathieson, McLeod, Aitken, Cleeland, Thomson, Cleeland, Turner, Leslie, Eadie, Bailey ( Mallan ), McAllister ( Caldwell )
The talk on the terracing, at least among my mates, was that Rowan has won himself a retrieve among the fans after last Saturday night's question session, and the level of criticism from the stand was noticeably down. I have said for a long time that my major complaint against Alexander is his apparent arrogance and unwillingness to talk to the fans and I see last Saturday as a positive step and I for one am now willing to stick it out with him for this season at least to see if he can get us out of the mess he has got us into. I couldn't make it last Saturday night but my mates say he spoke well and that it was a good meeting until the drink started to kick in, although they weren't really interested in were Jim Thomson gets his hair cut or Brian Caldwell would like to go on holiday!
As for the game, I don't know if I should say this but what the hell, if Rangers can say it so can I, EAST FIFE ARE CHEATING SCUM. Queens played not bad, specially first half, but came up against a side which had obviously been drilled by their manager, Steve Kirk, to cheat as much as him. They went down every time someone went near them and wasted time for the whole of the second half. And their bench seemed far more interested in what was happening at the Old Firm game with one of their number carrying a radio to keep up to date (Ha! 5-1 you cheating scum). Rowan had signed one of his pals from Morton, Tommy Turner, and while he didn't have the greatest of games, he did give the side a better shape in his right sided midfield role. It was a straight 4-4-2 again this week with Townsley again looking comfortable at centre back, Jim McLeod having the best game I have seen at right back, showing a willingness both to get forward and to cover in behind the centre halves and Jamie McAllister again looking good on the left. And Lee Bailey had a much better game this week up front. The problem is still the centre of midfield and a lack of creativity. As I have said before, Cleeland and Leslie are both good grafters but I have yet to see either of them pass to a team-mate. And they both still have a tendency to bomb forward together, leaving huge gaps behind them. Cleeland, in particular, I feel could benefit from a coach who would show him how to play a holding midfield role in a Paul Lambert type role. Coupled with either Townsley or Nesovic as they play maker this would give us a much better engine room.
Queens played into the gale which was blowing in the first half and put in a nice controlled performance, being the better team by a long way without looking too dangerous. The best chance came when Bailey turned his man beautifully on the half way line and set Leslie away on his own. The wee man however run out of steam a bit at the edge of the box and bottled the chance for a shot, instead trying to play Eadie in, but Ken shot wide under pressure. Cleeland was lucky not to get sent off when he nodded his head dangerously near to am East Fife player. As my mate said, Duncan Ferguson got 3 months for less.
While the first half had been good without there being too many clear cut chances the second half was dire for three main reasons. Queens struggled to control their game with the wind on their backs, East Fife continued to cheat and waste time at every opportunity, particularly after Kirk came on a twice asked the ref to change the ball because it was too soft and a referee who was actually gullible enough to fall for their rubbish. I don't think I mentioned it, but last weeks ref was the best I have seen for a long time, this weeks was one of the worst. The two highlights of the half came near the end and were both of the comic variety. Townsley hit a free kick from about ten yards inside his own half, but I don't think the big man had realised there was a wind blowing as the ball flew about thirty feet over the bar for a conversion that we could have done with at Murrayfield. The best through came after Queens best bit of play of the half to set up Leslie with a chance on the edge of the box. Steven actually managed to clear the clock at the Portland Road end of the ground, which is at lease 50 feet over the bar.
With results elsewhere, Queens have now fallen five points behind the third bottom team and things to start happening soon. Still, at least the signs are getting better.
Man of the Match
James McLeod for his first half display.
Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,021 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 Inverness 2 Eadie (pen 34) Sheerin (32) Bailey (72) McLean (74)
Queens Team : Mathieson, McLeod, Aitken, Townsley, Thomson, Cleeland , Bailey ( Mallan 72), Leslie, Eadie, Nesovic ( Weir 72 ), McAllister ( Caldwell )
A much better performance by Queens today, lets hope its not enough to save the manager through. Queens league position actually got worse as East Fife opened their new ground with a win and Arbroath got a draw. The goals came in two sets of two quick goals and strangely I can think of no other clear chances despite the efforts of both teams. Alexander was out of his dug out more often than usual this afternoon doing his whistling trick. It didn't seem to do much for the Queens players but I've heard there were some very confused dogs in Sandside. Queens played with Townsley at centre half and this actually helped the distribution of the ball. Actually, it meant there was some kind of distribution as yet again there was nothing from midfield. Leslie and Cleeland are both reasonable harriers but neither of them can play a five yard pass. They still also have a tendency to both charge forward leaving massive gaps behind them for the opposition to take advantage of. Nesovic, our creative midfielder, was wide right, I think, as he was very rarely in the right place and had one of his poorer games. He should have been in the middle making things tick. Bailey played up front with Eadie and took a lot of stick from the crowd.
Queens started really well in the first 15 minutes and with Townsley's promptings nearly got in behind Inverness on a number of occasions. The next 15 minutes however was all Inverness and a goal looked inevitable. It came when Leslie sold McLeod short with yet another poor 10 yard pass and Inverness took the ball from the half way line into the space left behind the defence for Sheerin to score. Queens though responded well and were back level within two minutes. This time it was the Inverness defence who got them self into a mess and Nesovic nipped in in front of the keeper/kicked the ball out of the keepers hands depending on your point of view and was upended by the keeper to earn a penalty. I used to worry when Queens got a penalty but my fears were quenched when I saw Ken Eadie take the ball and the Prince of Goalscorers duly sent the keeper the wrong way. Queens then proceeded to put in their best 15 minutes of effort of the whole season until half time and were unlucky to only be level at half time.
The pace was down slightly for the start of the second half, both teams still playing well but creating few clear cut chances. Alexander made his first change when he brought of McAllister, who I thought had yet another good game and brought on Caldwell. This did not go down well with one old guy in particular in the enclosure who launched a verbal attack on Alexander proclaiming that Bailey was the man who should have come of. However, he was shut up minutes later when Queens took a well deserved lead, and one which at the time it looked like they would hold on to. McLeod over hit a cross field pass but Caldwell managed to catch it. He in turn over hit his cross to the back post but Bailey made it to the ball and hooked a superb volley back past the keeper and into the net. Alexander then played his trump card, bringing Bailey and Nesovic of for Weir and Mallan before the game was restarted. The change had the usual effect of an Alexander move as while Queens were still trying to work our their new roles Inverness took advantage of indecisive defending to scramble an equaliser. Queens continued to be the better team to the end and both manager were regularly looking at the clock, Alexander to see if there was time for a winner and Paterson to see how long he had to hang on. In the end a draw against the leaders isn't bad but we should have won. Still, if we play like this every week we should be OK. The trouble is, I can't see it with Alexander in charge.
Man of the Match
Townsley just edges David Mathieson who is getting back to his best.
Station Park, Forfar Attendance : 389 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 Forfar 1 Lilley (Off 79) Nairn (65)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, McAllister, Cleeland, Doig, Aitken, Trialist (McKie), Leslie, Mallan, Nesovic, Boyle (Townsley 49) : Unused subs - Bailey, Caldwell
Sunday Post Report :
Forfar hadn't won in 12 games, but their effort ensured they left the basement.(? No they didn't.)
The visitors cause was not helped by the dismissal of defender David Lilley for a second booking. Queens had threatened home keeper Robertson in the early stages, but Forfar should have then gone ahead after chances fell to McLaughlin, Mann and Raynes. The strike which split the sides came after the interval when Brand flicked the ball across goal for Nairn to pop it home from a couple of feet. Dean Robertson had a great save late on from a cheeky Derek Townsley free kick.
I think Lilley was sent off in the 79th minute. The Sunday Post say he was sent off but doesn't give a time, Ceefax doesn't mention anyone being sent off for the Queens but they have a Lilley being sent off in 79 minutes for Queens Park, who I have checked do not have a player called Lilley!
Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,128 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 Stirling 3 Nesovic (36) Paterson (25) Townsley (90) Nicholas (44) Bone (56)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, Aitken, Cleeland, Rowe, Townsley, Adams ( Mallan 72 ) , Leslie, Trialist (Colin McKie) ( Bailey 79 ), Nesovic, Weir : Unused sub - McAllister
Stirling must be kicking themselves that they didn't win this one by a barrow load. Queens were absolutely terrible and should really have suffered their biggest defeat in years. And the reason for all this can be summed up in one word ; ALEXANDER. The tactics today were the worst I have seen yet. I think we were play 3-5-2 against their 4-3-3 but it was difficult to tell. In any case, if we did have 5 in midfield against their three how come we were totally overrun. Yet again right back was the main problem area. I think Adams was supposed to cover it but he looked lost and didn't have a clue what he was supposed to be doing. I don't blame him for this through, the blame lies squarely at Alexander's feet. Lilley, Rowe and Aitken were the back three and Lilley in particular didn't look happy but the signs were there for all to see right from the beginning. Nesovic played up front with the famous trialist, still don't know who he was but will let you know if and when I find out. Found out, it was Colin McKie.
Queens actually started the first half quite brightly and the trialist had a header cleared of the line and then shot over after the Stirling defence got themselves in a mess. Queens defence was then exposed for the first of many occasions but Mathieson somehow managed to turn it away for a corner. It wasn't to last for long however as Stirling took advantage of a serious of strange refereeing decisions to eventually win a free kick on the right edge of the box. For the fourth time this season a free kick from this are ended up in the back of the net and Queens were one down. At the same time Stirling had to take of Brian Martin injured to at least give Queens some hope. The equaliser was well deserved when it came. The ball came across from the left wing to leave Weir with a free shot but he panicked and totally miss hit. The ball however broke to Nesovic and he did anything but panic as he calmly rounded the keeper and dispatched the ball past the two defenders on the line. Queens should have held out till half time but just before the end of the half the lack of a right back was exposed again as Stirling got two men through on Mathieson. David saved well again but Queens still hadn't got anyone in to cover and the Stirling man was able to retrieve the ball and put it back into the middle where it was smuggled home.
Stirling tore Queens apart in the second half and should have scored about six. The one they did get came when Aitken hesitated to allow Bone in front of him and lob Mathieson as he came out to try to save the day. No way Mathieson can be blamed for being of his line this time, he had no choice. After this Queens basically gave up on defence and went all out for a goal, with very little success and Stirling should have taken better advantage of the space they were getting on the break. Queens best chance of pulling themselves back into the game came when substitute Mallan was through with only the keeper to beat but his lob hasn't landed yet! In the last minute Townsley headed home after the Stirling defence had failed to clear a corner but there was no time for the restart.
This was by far the worst performance of the season and the time has now passed when the season could have been saved. There is now a distinct bottom four of Queens, East Fife, Arbroath and Forfar and the relegation fight is all we have to look forward to. It is now too late to get rid of Alexander and we might as well keep him for the rest of the season now rather than bring in someone else to take the blame.
Almost forgot today's funny story. Met my mate who normally goes to Celtic but had brought his boy along to the game (some advert we put on to encourage him back). Anyway, walked along with him at half time to the food bit at the back of the stand and decided to get a pie. "Pie, please" says I,so what did I get, pie 'n' pies. Doesn't pay to be polite these days.
Man of the Match :
Saturday, 24/10/98 Almondvale, Livingston Attendance : 2,005 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 Livingston 2 Bingham (20, 24)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, Aitken, Rowe, Thomson ( Townsley 15 ), Cleeland, Adams ( Caldwell 69 ), Bailey, Mallan, Nesovic, Weir : Unused Sub - Leslie
Amazingly, Livingston managed to get a game on in the rain. Looking at the crowd, which was well down on Livingston's recent average following their cut price policy, I wasn't the only person who doubted their ability to do this and didn't risk the journey. Talking of the cut price scheme, why don't Queens give it a try. Oops, sorry I forgot Mr Blount's comments of a couple of weeks ago that he would prefer no one to turn up. Don't want to encourage any more boo boys, do we.
Sunday Post Report
Livingston continue to set the pace after this one sided victory, They dominated the game and broke the deadlock courtesy of a looping header from David Bingham, who proceeded to add to his and Livingston's tally again just four minutes later. The ex Dunfermline man ran onto a long ball from Alan McManus (I though he played snooker) before beating Mathieson with a low side footed shot into the corner of the net. Livingston continued to surge forward in the hope of adding to their lead and Bingham was denied his hat-trick through a controversial offside decision.
This surely kills of any hope of Queens getting promoted this year and the only hope we have of excitement is a relegation battle. Had an E-Mail this week fro a Morton fan saying he would love to see Rowan as manager of Morton one day. Lets hope he gets his wish sooner rather than later.
Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,139 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 Clyde 1 Eadie (32) McHarg (62) Mallan (79) Eadie (Off 44)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, Aitken, Rowe, Thomson, Cleeland, Adams ( Townsley 65 ), Bailey ( Mallan 51 ) (Leslie 91 ), Eadie, Nesovic, Weir
Like I said in the news section, I couldn't make it today due to illness (don't send flowers, the money will do) but the Queens did OK in my absence as the ten men beat Clyde 2-1 to move up to the giddy heights of 7th in the league. Mallan continued his hot streak with a goal as Queens won their 3rd consecutive home match. Funny, isn't Rowan, how much better the team seams to do playing in front of the boo boys than when you get them away on your own!
Sunday Post Report
Queens grabbed an unlikely win - after an eventful first half for Ken Eadie. Just past the half hour the Clyde defence failed to clear a corner and Eadie smashed the ball home. But a minute before the interval the striker was red carded after a high tackle on Murray.
Clyde pressed home their advantage after the interval and equalised through McHarg. Queens Nesovic then hit the post, before Mallan scored the winner.
What the Sunday Post didn't think was important enough to mention was that Mathieson saved a first half penalty.
Saturday, 10/10/98 Gayfield, Arbroath Attendance : 603 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 1 Arbroath 2 Mallan (34) J McGlashan (19) C McGlashan (88)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, Love, Doig, Thomson, Cleeland (Nesovic 60 ), Adams, Townsley (Rowe 63 ), Mallan, Eadie, McAllister (Bailey 84 )
Sunday Post Report
Arbroath New-boy Colin McGlashan helped secure only his side's second win of the season. The former Montrose man, who signed on Friday, scored the winner from a Gallagher cross. John McGlashan also scored as did Steve Mallan fro QOS.
That's it, doesn't seam the Sunday Post were too interested in us, after all we were clashing with a Scotland game.
Ken Eadie, by the way, made the Scum team of the day! Doesn't say much for the rest of the team.
Saturday, 3/10/98 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance : 1,038 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 Alloa 1 Mallan (31) Irvine (34) Townsley (38)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Lilley, Love, Doig, Thomson, Cleeland, Adams, Townsley, Mallan (Bailey 78 ), Eadie, McAllister (Aitken 89 ) : Unused sub - Caldwell
Second home win in a row and Queens actually looked quite good today against an Alloa side who aren't too bad at all. However, the guys who were up at Methil last week assure me they were as bad as ever up there. Results elsewhere means there is now a distinct pattern to the league with the top three of Inverness, Partick and Livingston, a middle four and a bottom three of Arbroath, Forfar and unfortunately Queens. Still, the signs are there that we can at least pull ourselves into the mid table group, although really we should be up with the top three.
The first half was quite entertaining although the only thing I can think of to report before the goals was a drive by Alloa's number 11 which nearly took the goal out of its moorings as it whacked of the junction of bar and post (God, this is beginning to sound like a Sunday Post report) and the Alloa players tried to claim it was over the line. As I said, it had been strangely entertaining without too much goal mouth action until the 31st minute when a corner from the right found Townsley at the back post with what would have been a free header if Thomson hadn't put in a brave challenge! Luckily for Queens however the miss timed header bounced up nicely for Mallan to head home his first goal of the season and add another 50p to his transfer fee. Within minutes Eadie should have made it 2 when he had a free shot from 12 yards and although the keeper did well to save he shouldn't have been given a chance. Queens were made to regret this miss when Alloa number 10 Irvine hit a brilliant free kick from the left edge of the box into the top corner for the equaliser. Queens weren't going to be outdone however and minutes later Townsley showed what he can do from free kicks by scoring a carbon copy of the one he got against Forfar two weeks ago but at the other end to put Queens back in front and complete the scoring. This was a first half that could only be described as a thrill quest as we witnessed a Mallan overhead effort which sailed only yards over the bar and a cheeky back flick from jail bird McAllister (See News). Who needs the Bernabau (see, I can't even spell it).
The second half was pretty much the same story. Entertaining but difficult to put your finger on exactly why. Queens were on top but couldn't kill Alloa off and they always looked like they could snatch something. Townsley had a superb run half the length of the park and beet half their team but ran out of steam at the end an wasted it. He also set up Adams for his easiest chance yet but he shot wide. He continues to look good but could do with a goal. There were another few half chances, mainly for Eadie, but no more clear cut chances. The comic interlude came when Queens made their first substitution. A few minutes earlier Mallan had shown Alexander's new superb team spirit regime for what it is with a verbal attack on the dug out and it came as a bit of a surprise when it was the number 6 that was shown from the touch line for Bailey to replace because Cleeland had had yet another stinker. Now I don't like to go against Mr Alexander's orders and criticise a player but I have never seen Cleeland pass to one of his own players or hit a shot on target. He works hard and harries well but to make him the playmaker is ridiculous. Anyway, here I was thinking Alexander had seen sense at last when he storms angrily from the haven of his dugout, grabs the number six from the number guy, turns it upside down and hands it back! It was Mallan to come off after all.
A good performance all round by Queens. I don't know if it was deliberate or a coincidence but they caught Alloa offside on numerous occasions and the defence was well drilled. The midfield still looked a problem. Adams played wide right and looked good going forward but poor defensively and of course the same always goes for Townsley who again had some good moments but needs consistency. McAllister played well again but the midfield seems to be either too far from the forwards when we are defending or too far from the defence when we are attacking, leaving acres of space for the opposition to manipulate. At least no one was sent off this week although Townsley and Cleeland did their best with wild challenges which only got them bookings. The crowd was back above the thousand but this was mainly due to a good following of Allow fans rather than Queens fans returning. Yet again, I saw no evidence of the so called Palmerston Boo Boy's who poor old Rowan goes on about. As far as I can see the fans are right behind the players, its him we don't like. In his program notes he basically said that we shouldn't be slagging the useless gits. Honestly, he starts by telling us to get behind the team then he goes on to how he doesn't think they are trying. He is off his head. In the first division there was more bad news as Morton won reducing the chances of their manager getting sacked and Rowan getting to manage his favourite team.
Man of the Match
A good all round display with no one outstanding but I'll go for Jim Thomson although my mates thought Townsley.
Sunday, 27/9/98 Bay View, Methil Attendance : 493 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 East Fife 2 Nesovic Off (53) Kirk (70) Rowe Off (89) Moffat (83)
Queens Team : Mathieson, Cleeland, Love, Doig, Thomson, Rowe, Townsley ( Eadie 70 ), Adams, Mallan, Nesovic, McAllister ( Caldwell 76 ) : Unused Sub - Bailey
OK, the Couriers now made its depressing plop onto my door mat so I suppose I'm going to have to force myself to update the page. Rowan's super dedicated team crashed 2-0 in another Sunday experiment, two me sent off, Rowe apparently because Steve Kirk deliberately threw himself in front of a punch, and Rowan, who was telling us last week that we were all invited into the dressing room to see the magnificent team spirit, was quoted as saying 'There were passengers out there, I am in a no-win situation.' Poor Rowan!
By the way, anyone understand the joke in the Courier about giving Denis Boyle man of the match for numerical awareness?
Saturday, 19/9/98 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance: 916 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 3 Forfar 0 Townsley (54,55) Eadie (85)
Queens Team: Mathieson, Cleeland, Love, Doig, Thomson, Rowe, Townsley, Adams, Mallan ( Eadie 83 ), Nesovic, McAllister ( Boyle 90 )
We have lift off! Queens finally hauled themselves of the bottom of the table by finally getting somewhere near the level of football I know they are capable of. It still wasn't the best performance I have ever seen but it was a very easy win against a very poor Forfar who I can't remember having a chance in the whole game. No doubt Alexander will use this to justify his position but in my opinion it only goes to show that Queens are in a totally different class to the likes of Forfar and Arbroath and should be up battling for promotion, not down scrapping with these teams to avoid relegation. I really don't think relegation is an issue for this season but yet again we have given our promotion rivals a massive start and I can't see us pulling it back.
It was George Rowe's turn to play at right back this week, and yet again this proved to be the wrong answer. George actually didn't do too bad but still doesn't have the instinct of a right back. What was wrong with Lilley? He has definitely look the best in this problem position so far. Townsley played on the right of midfield with Cleeland and Nesovic in the middle and McAllister on the left. Adams got a game up front together with 'shop window' Mallan. The main talking point pre match was Nesovic's new skin head. Lucky Gordon recognised him cause I had no idea who it was.
The first half was pretty drab although Queens where well on top through out Queens actually started very well in the opening five minutes, passing the ball about well and creating early half chances but drifted away a bit as the half wore on. Adams played well and had a good early chance when through on the keeper but the keeper did well to block his shot with his right foot. The next good chance fell to Adams again near the end of the half when he did well to force an open goal chance but under pressure shot just wide. Queens finished with a flourish as Mallan added 50p to his transfer value with a shot from the left edge of the box which the keeper did well to turn away for a corner. Actually, he probably just put 50p back on to his value as from a similar chance earlier on he had shined one trickling back to the keeper. The resulting corner was taken short to McAllister and his left foot shot from the right corner forced the keeper to make another good save.
To be honest the second half didn't provide that much more entertainment but Queens did manage to squeeze in three goals when Forfar weren't looking. The first came when Townsley hit a low free kick from the right side about 20 yards out round the wall and into the bottom corner. There is no doubt that in situations like this Degsey's class, if only his work rate was higher. Within a minute he had set Mallan away down the left with a beautiful pass and when Steve sent the ball back into the middle it was the 8 foot 7 inch man who was waiting at the back post to head home his second in a minute. We all set our stop watches for the fastest hat trick record but he hardly touched the ball again in the next twenty minutes. Still, at least he beat our quickest double of the season by two and a half games! Adams, who was playing well but still needs a goal, had a couple of good efforts which just missed before sub Eadie put himself back to the top of the scoring charts when he headed home a deep McAllister cross. Given service like this Eadie would get a barrow load of goals for us. McAllister had his best game yet for Queens ( that I've seen ) and if he can keep it up he could maybe make the left side his own, but knowing Rowan he'll be out next week. With there confidence up Queens went for more late on and had good efforts from Nesovic and Townsley nearly completed his hat trick with a nice chip that the keeper only just got to. Queens other side showed through a few times though. Mallan played a six yard pass to McAllister with was about six yards in front of him and 2 yards over his head. Steve, off course, encouraged the youngster by telling him it was all his fault as he should of used his chest. As some members of the crowd pointed out to Steve that there was no way Jamie could have got anywhere near the ball Mr Shop Window turned on them and told them it was actually their fault, a view I am sure he shares with Mr Alexander. Then McAllister tried to take a quick corner and to be fair did make a mess of it. As they ran back to the half way line, Nesovic, who had been waiting for a short corner could be heard to say that he was in charge at free kicks and McAllister should listen to him. Naz also told McAllister to 'ask him'. I think he meant Rowan on the bench be he could have been pointing towards uncle Bob in the directors box. For those who don't know, Nesovic is a friend of Bob Melencovic (is that how you spell it? Who cares!) who sponsors the team and their are rumours that he makes sure Naz gets a game. Its my ball and I'm not playing if you don't pass to me!
Man of the Match
Oh yes, I nearly forgot about this. No one was outstanding but I suppose I'll have to go for Townsley for his two goals in a minute although I also though Jamie McAllister played very well.
Saturday, 12/9/98 Inverness Attendance: 1,912 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 Inverness 3 Rowe (21) Sheerin (46) Mallan (85) McLean (47) Wilson (68)
Queens Team : Mathieson, McLeod, Aitken, Doig, Thomson, Rowe, Townsley ( Eadie 78 ), Bailey ( Adams 68 ), Mallan, Nesovic, Potts ( McAllister 48 )
Sunday Post Report
Caley Thistle piled on the pressure early doors and forced Kevin Doig to head against the underside of his own crossbar. However, minutes later the visitors took the lead when George Rowe swept a loose ball high into the net for the opener.
The second period began in sensational fashion with the home side netting twice inside the opening three minutes. Paul Sheerin netted the equaliser from 10 yards, then Scott McLean beat three defenders to crash a 25 yard effort home. The home side extended their lead when Barry Wilson raced clear to fire a 15 yard drive under the body of the advancing Mathieson. Five minutes from time Queens netted a second through Steve Mallan.
By all accounts this defeat was entirely Charlie Adams fault and I expect to see Rowan's usual criticism of him in the press!!!!!!
Saturday, 5/9/98 Stirling Attendance: 650 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 Stirling 1 Nicholas (65)
Queens Team: Mathieson, Cleeland ( Townsley 51 ), Love, Rowe, Thomson, Doig, Potts, Leslie, Eadie (Adams 61 ), Nesovic, Bailey : unused sub - McAllister
Sunday Post Report
Albion bounced back from last week's 7-0 thrashing at Alloa.
The only goal came just after the hour. Alex Bone's 20 yard shot was deflected into the path of Steven Nicholas and the 17 year old wasted no time in planting it behind David Mathieson.
Queens, though, had looked the likelier side and veteran striker Ken Eadie saw a header chopped off for pushing in the opening minutes.
And before half time, Graeme Love's well struck shot from the edge of the box forced Mark McGeown to save to his right.
Saturday, 29/8/98 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance: 1,238 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 Livingston 1 Robertson (87) Feroz Sent Off (70)
Queens Team: Mathieson, Lilley ( McAllister 78 ), Love, Rowe, Thomson, Doig, Potts (Townsley 74 ), Leslie, Eadie, Nesovic, Bailey : unused sub - Adams
Couldn't make it on Saturday as I was at my mate Jimmy Crosbie's stag day, Go-Karting in Glasgow. Paul Dinnell won from James Crosbie but I don't suppose you're really interested in that!
Queens slipped serenely to the bottom of the league in my absence although by all accounts they didn't play too bad. From what I can see through they lost to a team with 10 men who Alexander had said in the papers he could see no reason we couldn't beat them. The only one I can think of is Alexander!
Saturday, 22/8/98 Firhill, Glasgow Attendance: 2,030 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 2 Partick 2 Eadie (39) Morgan (29 pen) Potts (51) Dunn (72)
Queens Team: Mathieson, Lilley, Love, Doig, Thomson, Rowe, Potts, Leslie, Eadie, Nesovic ( Adams ), Bailey : unused subs - Mallan,Boyle
Took the opportunity of 'taking the wife shopping to Glasgow' to take in my first away game for a long time. Don't know if a few more people had the same idea but I was quite impressed with the size of the travelling support, at least a couple of hundred there. On the whole they were well behaved but I would like to say to the guy in the right hand side of the stand who hurled constant abuse and obscenities at the Partick fans, you are not funny or clever so why bother? You will give us a bad name with this kind of crap.
Queens were pretty poor in the first half. Partick aren't your usual first division side packed with big men who all play like Germans. The like to work through the midfield and run at the opposition and Queens didn't like it too much. I was going to say that Partick couldn't believe the space they were getting in midfield but I'm sure Tommy Bryce wasn't actually surprised at all. By the way, Tommy had a stinker. He started off in the middle of midfield but was soon clattered by Rowe who had been put into this area, probably for this very reason, so he moved out to the right to try his luck against Love, who didn't look comfortable at left back and it was lucky Tommy had an off day. Of the other Queen's rejects Kennedy overlapped well at right back but was posted missing a couple of times in defence and Disco Des was still injured and didn't play. Doig made his debut at centre back and although he looked good individually, the partnership with Thomson looks like it will take a while to jell as Thomson was regularly a couple of yards behind him when it looked like they were trying to play offside (I don't think he was trying to play sweeper) and it was this that led to Thistle's opener when Lauchlan got in behind and Mathieson brought him down, even although he was heading away from goal. There was an anxious wait to see what colour the card would be but thankfully it was only yellow as I dread to think what would happen if we lost him for a couple of weeks. The penalty was scored with ease. Nesovic clashed off the ball with one of their players and again we had to wait anxiously as the ref waited to talk to him after he was treated for the injury he received in the incident. Fortunately, it was only a yellow card and Naz had the Partick fans on his back for the rest of the match. Fortunately, he was to turn their jeers into Queens cheers on a couple of occasions. Potts came close on a couple of occasions as the half came towards a close, first forcing the keeper to make a great save and then giving him an easier save with a not so well hit shot from a better chance. Potts was Queens man of the first half by some way in my opinion. Eadie, however, must have been paying attention, and with six minutes to play in the first half he pulled away to the left side of the area which had been so productive for Potts. Nesovic found him with a superb cross field cross and Ken took full advantage of the space to show what a great finisher he is when given the chance. So for the first time this season in the league Queens went in at half time with 11 players and still on level terms.
Queens started the second well and went ahead six minutes into it when Nesovic brilliantly put Eadie away down the right. Ken cleverly cut it back behind the incoming Bailey, which also put out the defenders, and Potts came in behind to finish well for a well deserved first goal for Queens. Queens continued to play better in the second half and should have had a third when Nesovic chased a ball to the touch line and cut over a superb cross for Eadie, I think, to head in. The reason I'm not sure who headed in is that I was looking in disbelief at the linesman who had his flag up to say the ball had gone over the bye-line. In his dreams. Thistle were still dangerous but Queens were looking much more solid until flapper Mathieson struck again. It must be said he was having a good time until now but yet again he came and missed a left wing cross leaving Thistle's sub with an easy chance to equalise. Thistle almost stole it in the last minute when they somehow got two players in behind the Queens defence but agonisingly for them the ball hit the inside of the post and was scrambled clear. The reason I'm not sure how they got in behind us is that I was looking in disbelief at the linesman who had failed to notice Eadie about five yards offside in Queens previous attack! Nesovic had managed to steal the limelight one last time when he asked to come off, obviously tired after his long lay off, and he just happened to be as far away as he could be for his stroll off to Partick jeers and Queens cheers.
In the end a draw is not a bad result and the performance, particularly in the second half, was much better. We're now of the bottom and nobody has really made a break so we're still in their, equal indeed with big spending Livingston. Mathieson had a better game, apart from the goal, Lilley was solid defensively but doesn't contribute much going forward, Doig and Thomson were good as individuals but need to work on their partnership. Love doesn't look happy at left back (Aitken does!) and had a stinker. The midfield was better in the second half but allowed too much space in the first half. Rowe did OK but probably sat too deep first half, Leslie is better when he doesn't have the responsibility of being the main playmaker and Potts played well, particularly first half but he could have done more to help the struggling Love. Nesovic, especially in the second half, was brilliant in spells and even if Rowan doesn't think he does enough defensively I'm telling him now we have to carry him in this department as we can't afford to be without his creativity. Up front, Eadie had another very good game but I'm still not so sure about the 'busy' Bailey who didn't look all that threatening. I thought Adams looked quite good after he came on on the right wing.
On paper Queen's team looks good. I think the best team is
Mathieson Lilley Rowe Thomson Aitken Nesovic Leslie Townsley Potts Eadie Mallan
And this is a very good team. It also leaves Adams,Bailey,Boyle,Cleeland,Love,McAllister,McLeod,Weir,Doig on the bench which looks a good squad. My only worry is does Alexander have the managerial skills to take advantage of this talent?
Man of the Match
Craig Potts for his first half performance, narrowly beating Nesovic and Eadie.
Saturday, 15/8/98 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance: 1,104 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 Arbroath 0 Townsley Sent Off (18)
Queens Team: Mathieson, Lilley (Aitken 75), Love, Rowe, Thomson, Cleeland, Townsley, Leslie, Mallan, Eadie (Nesovic 81), Potts (Boyle 88)
So Queens pick up their first point of the season but stay bottom. There were some bright spots. Mathieson and the defence looked steadier although Arbroath were no great shakes, but we are definitely more comfortable with four at the back, Lilley making a surprise appearance at right-back to make up the four. Eadie did well up front but there are still problems with the rest. Adams didn't even make the bench following Alexander's criticism of his lack of goals, so Alexander will be even less pleased with him now (after all if he can criticise him for not scoring in 30 minutes play he can do it even when he's not playing!)
The first half was dire. Townsley was fowled just in front of me in 18 minutes and turned back for a word with the guy as play went on. He definitely didn't touch the guy and for all the ref knows he could have been going to mark him in case Queens move broke down. But the ref decided to send him off! OK, I know moving back to mark a player while we had the ball was a bad move but when did bad play become a sending off offence? Queens survived a couple of scares before half time without having any chances of their own.
The second half was a bit better. Eadie set Mallan up early on but the shot was easily saved. Mallan then returned the favour and Eadie's header went just wide. Then Eadie headed a free kick dangerously back across goal but no one could get on the end of it. The game was begging for a change so what did Rowan do? He put on Aitken for Lilley. That really made a big difference to the attack! Actually, Aitken did nearly score when Queens the only corner I can remember in the match on the left wing. The ball went right across to the right touch line were Andy caught the ball and swung it left footed into the middle and it nearly drifted in at the back post. Eadie continued to play well, laying off some nice little flicks, so what was Rowan's next move? That's right! he took him off to give Nesovic a whole ten minutes! Arbroath's big number 10 missed a couple of absolute sitters in the last 5 minutes to save Queens hide and Queens never looked like scoring again despite Dennis Boyle being given all of a minute by Rowan to go out and win the game! (Only after Potts had got injured).
Rowan was out of his dug out more often than usual today and I think I've worked out how he communicates with the players. He uses a high pitched whistle which can only be heard by the players. This must be right because were I stand in the enclosure you can hear everything he says, and believe me it isn't very much. What good is a manager who just stands going ' Hoy '. Its time he went on a communication course.
Man of the Match
Tuesday, 4/8/98 Broadwood, Cumbernauld Attendance: 622 Scottish League, Division 2 Queens 0 Clyde 2 Bailey Sent Off (26) McGraw (15) O'Brien (90)
Queens Team: Mathieson, Milligan, Love, Rowe, Thomson, Cleeland ( Mallan 70 ), McAllister ( Boyle 45 ), Leslie, Eadie, Nesovic, Bailey
Keeper David Mathieson's 15th minute blunder handed 3 points to Clyde.
With little danger, Mathieson left his goal to reach an aimless through ball but allowed it to travel over the line. But the alert Mark McGraw ran on and robbed him of the ball before slipping it in from an an acute angle into the net.
Queens Lee Bailey was sent off in the 26th minute for a late tackle and Andy O'Brien sealed victory for Clyde with a low drive in the last minute.
Saturday, 1/8/98 Palmerston Park, Dumfries Attendance: 1,227 League Cup, Round 1 Queens 1 Inverness Caley 4 Eadie (90) Sheerin (6) McLean (28) Shearer (73) Cherry (75)
Queens Team: Mathieson, Cleeland, Love, Rowe, Thomson, Boyle ( Aitken 62 ), Weir, Leslie, Mallan, Adams (Nesovic 34 ), Bailey ( Eadie 74 )
In the words of my mate Gordon, That's Shocking Alexander! After all the promise of the pre season build up we could hardly of got of to a worse start. I think we should start a campaign to get Billy Stark sacked at Morton so that Rowan can b***** off to manage his beloved Morton and we can get somebody in who actually gives a dam. I notice by the way that Mark Shanks was still there despite all the rumours of moves and sackings.
I can sum this game up in one sentence. Denis Boyle played at right back! Our best and only creative left footed player stuck here was a total waste of space. I didn't really see the first goal as we were still catching up with old friends I hadn't seen since last season. It would appear Sheerin had a simple near post header from a right wing cross. The second came from a long ball through the middle to which McLean out paced the defence easily to lob over Mathieson. Easy!
Just before half time Queens had a chance to get back into the game when Nesovic, who had come on after about 25 minutes for Adams, which doesn't seem long enough to give the guy a chance but a change was needed, performed a Scotland v Brazil type penalty area swallow drive to earn a spot kick. Mallan took the ball and prepared to take the kick. However he was over ruled and huffily kicked the ball away to put even more pressure on the chosen one, Steven Leslie. I already new we were going to miss and I wasn't disappointed. However, the rebound gave Leslie an even easier chance which he still managed to miss.
The second half was very dull. Queens dominated but never looked like scoring. Just as I was thinking that Caley hadn't had a sniff of goal in the second half Mathieson came and flapped at a cross which he totally missed and the ball landed on the head of Duncan 'sheep' Shearer and bounced into the net. Soon after David repeated his trick to allow their very annoying number 6, Cherry, in to score.
I've never heard Palmerston so quite as in the last 20 mins. Normally we would at least have been shouting at the ref or Alexander but on this occasion there was a stunned silence.
Eadie came on near the end and nearly scored one after a nice move but did finally manage to put one in with a miss hit last touch of the match.
So a terrible start to the season against an Inverness side which I didn't think looked all that good, they look like a typical first division team full of big strong players but not much skill. But they were strong in defence, dominated our admittedly very poor midfield and took their chances.
As for Queens, as expected we have a severe problem down the right, the loss of Townsley left us with Cleeland and Leslie as our creative midfield players, and I have never seen either of them pass to one of their own players, and the three at the back system just didn't work. Nesovic did look OK when he could get the ball but you could tell he has been out for a year and he got frustrated. The forwards never had a chance to show what they could do although Mallan looked totally out of the game and his attitude is bad for the other players.
Man of the Match
I'll give it to Denis Boyle cause at least he never claimed to be a right back and he did try his hardest.