|2004/05 Season Review
||A serialised account of our season by our man who has been at every match home and away - Ewan Lithgow
|Part ten - April|
First division football was all but secured for another season with a comfortable 3-1 win over Partick Thistle at Palmerston. It may have been nearly fifty years before this season that we last experienced a home win over Thistle but it was two from two this season and this one was so easy it was almost embarrassing. Even Thistle's own fans were vociferous in their condemnation of the visitors. David McNiven celebrated his recent good fortune with a double whilst Eric Paton lashed home a goal in between. Stephen McConologue's spectacular goal was no more than a late consolation in a game we could have won so much more easily.
Former Jag Lyle challenges
In a shock move the following week St Johnstone sacked John Connolly after only 11 months in charge. Geoff Brown cited poor results and a lack of progress for the move that surely confirms Connolly made a mistake in leaving Palmerston last year. Iain Scott though has no such fears. By the end of the season Queens had actually lost only two of their final 14 games. One was that single goal defeat at home to Clyde, the other was the next weekend's match at St Mirren. And what a bizarre game that was!
The trip to Paisley was a "must win" if Queens were to stand any chance of 3rd spot. However, despite an excellent performance, it was a disastrous result. Queens went down 3-0 in the end and went through THREE goalkeepers in the first half alone! Early goals from John Baird and Hugh Murray gave the home side a lead they were never likely to lose but the story of the half was a facial injury to Richie Barnard which brought Colin Scott off the bench only to pick up a knee injury within five minutes that saw him stretchered off. Centre half David Craig went in goal for the rest of the game but the home side by and large failed to trouble him until the very last minute of the game. Queens in fact struck woodwork three times during the game through McNiven (twice) and Paton and dominated for long spells but in the final minute Mark Reilly finished the scoring with a strike from distance after Craig came and flapped at a corner. Colin Scott's injury would finish his season but fortunately Barnard recovered to play the remaining fixtures.
Before the next game Gary Wood joined the ever growing ranks of those signing extended deals but Alex Williams was returned to Morton having failed to make any impact in his loan spell. Next up was a home game with bottom of the table Raith and a chance to be the only team in the league to beat them four out of four times. There looked a reasonable chance of that when David McNiven opened the scoring in the first half, nodding home Tommy English's cross after the full back had played a one-two off the referee! However, the relegated side equalised through Neil Jablonski and were probably the better side after that. They might even have won it when Smart's strike cannoned off the crossbar in the second half.
The following week saw more off the field developments. By far the most important was the sudden unexpected death of Alex Goodwin, the Chairman and driving force behind the fledgling Queen of the South Supporter's Trust. On the playing front it is confirmed that Willie Gibson and Paul Burns have been signed to new deals whilst John O'Neill will be re-joining after being released by St Mirren.
The next league game saw the long trip to Dingwall and a 1-1 draw was achieved thanks to Eric Paton's superb strike from just inside the County half. The goal was not surprisingly nominated as "Goal of the Season". Defender Chris Carr made his debut in place of Brian Reid for this game but shared blame with Barnard for the mix up that allowed Steven McGarry to lob home the opener.
Before the final home game, Stephen Payne and Tommy English became the 15th and 16th players to commit to the club for next season. On the pitch the visit of the now Connolly-less St Johnstone was Owen Coyle's second game in charge of his new side. Queens won 2-0 thanks to two almost identical goals from Gary Wood within a minute, both from Payne right sided free kicks. In the evening Jim Thomson is confirmed as winner of all the main Player of the Year Awards whilst Paul Burns takes the Young Player Award for the second year in succession.
Wood does everything
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