This season just keeps getting better and better doesn't it? This week the "relegation certainties" racked up a 4th successive victory in a hard fought encounter at Glebe Park, Brechin and, in so doing moved up to the lofty heights of second in the division. Heady stuff indeed! The performance never touched the high levels of the previous few weeks against a Brechin side desperate for points already who frustrated with a well-worked offside trap time after time but it was good enough for three points and that's all that matters at the end of the day.
To nobody's surprise at all John Connolly kept faith with the same eleven which won the previous two games with Ross County and Clyde. There was one change on the bench though where Derek Allan replaced Willie Gibson. Queens had the first chance after just two minutes when Eric Paton elected to shoot for goal direct from a free kick fully 30 yards out. His effort went low to the bottom left corner but narrowly missed the target with the Queens players appealing in vain that Derek Souter had helped the ball on it's way past. Brechin's first showing came after 12 minutes when a right sided corner pinballed about a little before Neil Jablonski struck a volley just wide of the top left corner of goal.
From an early stage it was clear that Brechin were intent on frustrating Queens with an offside trap. Over the course of the afternoon we must have been caught offside more than a dozen times when the striker thought he was in the clear, most astonishingly on one particular occasion the linesman flagged Bowey offside when he clearly ran from his own half. Alex Burke was offside at the time but running away from the ball, not toward it. However, the problem with offside traps is that one mistake leaves the opposition with a gilt edged opportunity to score. That chance arrived for Queens in 20 minutes when Burke's clever flick freed Sean O'Connor to run through on goal as the whole defence ran past him appealing for the offside which it never was. O'Connor though found Scotland u-21 goalkeeper Derek Souter in fine form and he blocked with his legs to keep his team level.
Colin Scott sends the ball forward
On 24 minutes, Greg Millar flashed a dangerous cross across the penalty area which both Thomson and Reid threw themselves at without making any contact. Fortunately neither did any home player! Ten minutes later Paul Burns had a half-volley from a Talbot corner blocked by David White and Brechin broke forward quickly. Charlie King drew a defender before slipping Neil Jablonski clear on goal 40 yards out. He ran to the edge of the penalty area, closed down by Jim Thomson, before shooting. His effort took a wicked deflection off Thomson's leg, leaving Colin Scott completely wrong-footed, but missing the foot of the right post by a matter of inches.
Queens made their first substitution five minutes before the break with Brian McColligan coming on to replace Paul Talbot. That meant Steve Bowey shuffling out one to act as the left sided midfielder. There didn't seem to be any obvious injury to Talbot so I presume this was an early tactical change.Before the interval, Brian Reid came close to his first Queens goal when he rose to power a header from a Paton corner narrowly wide of the left post.
The second period started with a bang, Queens coming close after only 30 seconds. Paton and Burns worked an opening down the right side before the cross was fired in low. O'Connor and Souter went in for the ball together and it was the big keeper that got the break, deflecting the ball away from the line before his defence completed the clearance. Two minutes later the home side survived a huge penalty appeal. Joe McAlpine crossed from the left, Alex Burke headed on and O'Connor put in a cross from the left side. The ball was deep but retrieved and put back across goal by Paul Burns, beyond the goalkeeper, and headed towards the goal by Alex Burke. Scott McCulloch however was on hand to block the ball on the line before hooking clear. Whether he blocked the ball with an arm or his chest was the matter of debate but, to be fair, referee Ian Brines was very well placed and decided it was the chest that was used.
After 52 minutes Grant Johnston became the first player booked for a late sliding challenge on Joe McAlpine. McAlpine though was able to continue after a spot of treatment from the new "Business Development Manager" and was able to set up the winning goal just two minutes later. It was a goal of great simplicity. Joe got the ball halfway inside the Brechin half near the left touchline and swung in a smashing centre. Sean O'Connor got in front of his marker and rose to loop a header from about 8 yards out over the stranded Souter and into the corner of the goal.