2005/06 Season Review
A serialised account of our season by our man who has been at every match home and away - Ewan Lithgow
Part Five - November
It was a new manager but no change of fortune on the pitch as Stuart Lovell lost his first match in charge at home to Clyde. Again the 2-1 score makes the match sound closer than it really was. In fact Clyde, courtesy of goals from McGregor and Williams, won rather comfortably despite David McNiven's late consolation, which proved to be his last goal for the club. The match also saw Brian McLaughlin, who had probably been our brightest player in the previous few games, ruled out for the better part of two months after breaking his collarbone.

The following week was filled with rumours and stories about potential new managers before the club first confirmed that it was in discussion with former Dundee United manager (and Queen of the South fan) Ian McCall about the job and then, on Thursday 10th November, announced that he had accepted the job and would take charge initially to the end of the season. He brought Stevie Morrison to Palmerston as his assistant and that meant Warren Pearson quietly disappeared from the club a week or two later, which was a shame.

Former Queens 'loan' player Williams got one back on his old side
Meantime, although McCall had taken over as manager he had not yet met the players so Stuart Lovell remained in charge for the vital derby clash with Stranraer at Palmerston. With McCall watching from the directors box Queens just about earned the 1-1 draw they got thanks to John O'Neill's equaliser. Earlier Allan Jenkins had given the visitors the lead at about the 5th attempt after Scott had produced two blocks and Wood and Carr each got one off the line! We might even have won the game in the second period but McNiven's effort from outside the box came back off the crossbar.

Henderson's headed effort is blocked by Jim Thomson
There was to be no dream start for the new manager when he finally did get control of the team though. In fact it was a complete nightmare as Hamilton hammered us 5-2 on their own ground. Young Paul McLeod scored first for Accies but it might have been all so different had the assistant referee not controversially flagged Derek Lyle offside when he turned in what he thought was an equaliser. TV replays later showed the striker to be clearly in an onside position. Hamilton weren't stopping to dwell on the matter though and before half time they added another two goals courtesy of a Fleming penalty and another from McLeod. Before the interval though, Eric Paton, who had a shocking game in an unfamiliar left back role, was barged over in the penalty area and John O'Neill scored from the spot for us. The second half saw Paul McMullan score a fourth when what was clearly an intended cross sailed over Colin Scott's head into the net before O'Neill scored his second from Lyle's flick on. However, Brian McColligan's dismissal for a trip on Alex Neil finished any hopes we had of a comeback and in the end Accies added a 5th after Colin Scott was controversially adjudged to have picked up a Gary Wood backpass. Derek Fleming cleverly passed to Brown Ferguson for a tap-in finish.

Despite a wonder goal from Derek Lyle it was all to end in tears
If Hamilton had been an appalling performance then Ross County at Palmerston the following week proved to be probably our best showing of the whole season. Incredibly despite dominating almost the entire match we ended up pointless from the fixture, a fact that even County manager Gardiner Speirs admitted after the match was "daylight robbery". An early Colin Scott error presented David Winters with an opening goal but Queens stormed back with goals from John O'Neill and then a goal of the season contender from Derek Lyle. That should have been more than enough and Queens spurned numerous chances to clinch the points before incredibly Gary McSwegan and John Rankin scored breakaway goals inside the final six minutes of the game to snatch the points away. To this day I don't know what was more surprising, that somehow we found a way to lose that game, or that we would after that day remain unbeaten at Palmerston until after league survival had been assured, a run of ten home games!

The month ended with Queens still marooned in second bottom spot, just above Brechin and five points adrift of Stranraer.

Ewan Lithgow
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7 Part 8 Part 9 Part 10 Part 11 Part 12

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