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 Nine - March

Big Jim clears the danger
First up in March was the third of our crucial home games in a row. Having failed to win either of the first two it was vital we won this one and Clyde were the visitors. It was tight all the way but early in the second half a handball saw John O'Neill given the chance to put his side in front from the penalty spot and he doesn't spurn those. It looked like Queens might just hold on for a narrow win but with just over ten minutes to go Dougie Imrie struck a sensational equaliser for Clyde, which sparked an incident between the two dugouts. This Queens side though had a spirit that had been missing earlier on in the season and raised their game again. With just two minutes to go substitute Michael Mullen rose to head down Lovell's free kick and, after the keeper had parried O'Neill's effort, Andy Thomson was in the right place at the right time to turn home a dramatic winner. For me one of the memories of the season will be turning to see Gary Wood heading for the Clyde dugout at that point for a "word" with Graham Roberts with Derek Lyle hopelessly trying to hold him back! Stranraer's game was off so the gap was cut to 2 points albeit they had a game in hand now.

Defensive focus
Next up was what was clearly our most difficult game in the last quarter, a trip to Love Street to face the league leaders as they closed in on the title. Before the match Ian McCall was announced as having won the Bells Manager of the Month for February and that usually brings with it misfortune in the next match. So it proved on this occasion too. To be fair, St Mirren dominated the match from start to finish. Queens rarely managed out of their own half and only a sterling rearguard action combined with some poor finishing from Charlie Adam in particular kept the game scoreless for so long. However, just when it seemed a hard-earned point had been gained up popped Charlie Adam three minutes into injury time to stroke home a winner that sent St Mirren on their way towards the title. Meanwhile Brechin's 5-1 defeat at Clyde all but condemned them to finish bottom whilst the following day Stranraer's trip to Hamilton was called off due to a large snowfall. The gap was still two points but Stranraer had two games in hand.

Bowser caps off his QoS scoring record with a big big goal
The next week was the Big One. If Queens were to catch their neighbours, particularly given that they had played two games more to this point, then they surely had to win the one remaining head to head. Saturday March 18th was the date for that one and Stranraer came to Palmerston knowing that victory would almost certainly guarantee them first division football next season. They set about it with gusto too, much the better side in the first half but failing to turn their pressure into goals. Queens weathered the storm and came out second half and had a go themselves. Three minutes into the half came the all-important breakthrough. Tommy English's free kick deflected off Bowey and Andy Thomson was first to the loose ball. Although Corr managed to block his effort the ball spun free to Bowey and he gave Corr no chance from close in. The visitors never really looked like hitting an equaliser and Queens climbed out of the bottom two for the first time all season, albeit by a single point, with a worse goal difference and Stranraer had two games in hand.
Sadly, the stay outside the playoff spot proved all too brief and we were back in 9th three days later when Stephen Swift grabbed a last minute equaliser at home to Ross County and moved Stranraer up a spot. With Brechin at home on Saturday whilst Queens went to Hamilton the Cleyholers had real hope of increasing their cushion further.

To no-one's great surprise Stranraer duly despatched Brechin by 2-0 at home but must have been disappointed to find they'd failed to move any further ahead of Queens. Instead McCall's troops produced an excellent 2-0 victory themselves on a ground they'd never previously won on. Paul Burns lifted the opening goal into the net before the interval and O'Neill clinched the three points with a storming second goal just after coming off the bench.

The final action of the month saw Stranraer blow a chance to move clear of Queens again when they failed to beat Accies youth team in their other game in hand. Instead Brian Wake's second half goal was enough to keep the two teams on the same points and split only by Stranraer's better goal difference. All to play for, five to go.

Colin Scott shows his delight at the end of the Stranraer match
Ewan Lithgow
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