An entertaining match today, not as flowing as last Saturday against the Bankies, however with a number of players putting in only average performances Queens still managed to finish comfortable winners.
New signing Derek Anderson was immediately drafted into the starting eleven, having only signed yesterday, he took over the left back role normally occupied by Paddy Atkinson whilst Paddy himself was moved forward on the pitch and replaced Joe McAlpine on the left side of midfield, Joe being relegated to the substitutes bench. Other than that the side was exactly as that last week and that included Peter Weatherson having to be content with a seat on the bench also. The changes seemed to make little difference to the side, although the ability to alter tactics from 4-4-2 to 3-5-2 when required seemed to be the main advantage of the move.
The game began rather scrappily with neither side able to take a firm hold as many of the players were well known to their opponents and seemed to be able to snuff each other out, Des McKeown and David Milne for the Warriors and Barry Donald for Queens, the most recently with dual camp experience. It was infact ten minutes before a clear chance was made and that was due to some skilful play by Gordon Connolly as he collected the ball from Colin Scott deep inside his own half and went off on a run the length of the pitch, unfortunately his effort was hit with the outside of his right foot and did little to trouble the Stenny 'keeper as he went down to smother the effort.
Queens then almost took the lead with what would have been a freak goal as Paddy Atkinson took a free-kick from wide on the right, everyone left the ball, including Jarvie in the visitors goal as the ball just flew past the far post, the closest Queens man being Jim Thomson who was inches away from it. From a corner a few moments later Andy Aitken should have done better with a free header but the big defender got under the ball too much and sent it high over the bar.
On twenty two minutes there was a chance at both ends as first Barry Donald released John O'Neill with a ball lifted over the defence, the top scorer latched onto it and cracked a shot goalward, Jarvie managed to block and parry the shot away and immediately the ball was sent upfield, a sweeping cross was met by Ian Ferguson, who just managed to get in front of Jim Thomson, fortunately though the strikers header flew just wide of Colin Scott's post.
On thirty five minutes Queens had their second best chance of the half as a beautiful passing movement between Atkinson Connell and O'Neill on the right hand side of the box left O'Neill with a clear shot at goal, today though his shooting boots were missing and his effort flew high over the bar. The best chance of the half came four minutes later when Paddy Atkinson reached a through ball fractionally before Jarvie and managed to dink the ball over the 'keepers diving body, the ball trundled toward the goal as John O'Neill and a couple of Stenny defenders raced in, somehow the ball hit the post and was cleared away as all three players ended up in the net.
The half ended on a sour note as first Graham Connell was booked for reacting to a harsh challenge from Ian Ferguson and then Paddy Atkinson for reacting to a challenge that had he not side stepped would have seen him requiring some attention.
HALF TIME 0-0
The second half saw no changes in personnel and within five minutes saw the best and the last clear effort by Stenhousemuir as the ball was lifted over the Queens defence and picked up by Ian Ferguson, fortunately Colin Scott reacted speedily and was out quickly to smother the ball and push it away from danger.
With tempers rising and the match official keen to punish, Barry Donald found himself in the referee's book, then three minutes later former Queens player David Milne was shown a second yellow card followed by the red and off he went. Often a side with ten men has proven a difficult task for Queens to overcome, fortunately this was not to be the case today as from this point in all the pressure was directed at the visitors Terregles Street goal with little for Scott and the defence to do.
For all Queens effort clear chances were not being made and changes were due, so on cue Peter Weatherson arrived much to the pleasure of the home support, the front line was immediately rejuvenated as Nellie hassled and harried making space for others and adding some much needed pace.
Paddy Atkinson, whilst not the most natural of left wingers had managed to cause, or be involved in the most promising of Queens moves and he was also responsible for a deep cross that George O'Boyle managed to get a glancing header on and send looping over the 'keeper but onto the roof of the net.
Another change was made on sixty seven minutes as Barry Donald made way for Allan Moore, letting Gordon Connolly take up a more central role.
Four minutes later and Queens could have taken the lead as a corner was fed out to the edge of the box and Graham Connell volleyed a tremendous effort toward goal, unfortunately the woodwork denied Queens for the second time this afternoon and the ball rebounded to safety. Queens final tactical switch was made almost simultaneously as Paddy Atkinson was withdrawn and Joe McAlpine added as a straight replacement.
Four minutes later and another Queens corner, this time headed for the back post, new man Derek Anderson found himself in the right place for a first time volley toward goal, unfortunately a Stenny defender managed to get in the way and again the visitors goal remained intact. The final intervention of the woodwork followed as Queens really were pressurising the Warriors goal, this time the bar managed to stop a George O'Boyle volley as it dipped towards the net, Gordon Connelly, a minute later then had a free-header on goal but could only manage to head it against a Stenny defender on the line.
A goal had to come and it eventually did on seventy six minutes as Peter Weatherson sent in a ball to George O'Boyle, the Irishman turned in the box and fired it home to open his account for the Doonhamers.
A further goal, this time a header by Peter Weatherson from a Joe McAlpine cross was being celebrated by the home fans when it was chalked-off in the last minute for what the referee indicated was a push and with Queens still pressing the referee called the game to a halt with the Doonhamers worthy victors.
Results elsewhere were kind today with both teams above us losing, Alloa 1-4 to Forfar and Stranraer 0-2 to Hamilton, these results mean that Queens now take over second place in the league and lie just six points off leaders Clydebank with a game in hand.