Two new faces appeared in tonight's line up for the friendly match versus Barnsley, in goal came Neil Bennett recently released with the demise of Airdrie and Ryan McGuffie, the Dumfries lad being released at the end of last season by Newcastle United following spells at Annan Athletic (twice) and Queen's Park. For 'keeper Bennett it was the second year in a row that the 24th of July saw him feature against Barnsley in a pre-season friendly, last term it was Osset Town that the 21 year old former Sheffield Wednesday 'keeper from Dewsbury was playing for. Elsewhere in the side there were changes throughout with the defence having Derek Anderson at left-back, the midfield seeing Alan Gray, Brian McColligan and Brian McLaughlin all getting starts and Sean O'Connor linking up with Derek Lyle from the whistle. The bench was impressive therefore, with O'Neill, Weatherson, Crawford, Paton and McAlpine as well as injured 'keeper Colin Scott. Barnsley for their part came with over £1,000,000's worth of talent on show and another couple of million on the bench.
Both sides started reasonably well but the game did feel more of a pre-season friendly than any other this season so far in the early stages. Chances were made at both ends in the opening minutes, first to Barnsley but like so many of their attacks the Queens defence limited their progress to the edge of the box and the attack culminated in a blast either well past or over the bar. Queens first chance came when Ryan McGuffie was sent clear by Alan Gray down the right and through persistence managed to get a decent cross in but no takers were present.
In the twentieth minute it looked like Queens would score as a Brian McLaughlin cross was met by Derek Lyle and the forwards flicked header just flew wide. Sean O'Connor then had an excellent chance to open the scoring as he caught a defender in possession and broke through into the box, with just the 'keeper to beat, Sean's final effort was poor though as he blasted straight at Ghent. Queens were in the ascendency and Derek Lyle followed shortly after O'Connor's effort with a low drive from the edge of the box that just flew past the post.
Lyle heads goalward
Sean O'Connor took a slight knock on thirty minutes in a challenge and a five minutes later had to be substituted to be replaced by Peter Weatherson.
The final ten minutes of the half were dominated by Barnsley as they made a concerted attempt to get into the Dumfries box. Firstly in a move that saw McGuffie and Gray struggling, their left winger made it to the bye line and cut back a cross but had no strikers able to take advantage. The last minute of the extended half saw possibly their best chance of the match as Isiah Rankine broke clear on the right hand side of the box, his first effort was blocked expertly by Derek Allan and a second effort blocked well by Bennett, the ball fell to the edge of the box and the resultant driven in effort went wide of the upright.
HALF TIME 0 - 0
The second half started with Barnsley's Gary Jones making a run from deep in his own half through to the edge of the Doonhamers box before firing a cross that almost skimmed the bar as it evaded all defenders and forwards in attendance.
It looked as though Barnsley were intent on achieving a victory until ten minutes into the match when Joe McAlpine was introduced. Immediately Joe lifted the pace of Queens game and game us much more penetration into the visitors box. Derek Allan, who had been immense alongside Andy Aitken in the heart of the defence was the next Queens player to come close as he came up for a corner and connected with the ball only to see it narrowly clear the bar.
A further five minutes and Queens were ahead, the ball was crossed from the right and Joe McAlpine shaped to volley the ball goalward, his effort was mistimed and the ball crashed into the ground and bypassed the defenders, it did not bypass Peter Weatherson though who made no mistake as he slammed the ball into the roof of the net from just a few yards out.
Barnsley were not too pleased to be losing and a couple of rash challenges saw the referee take action and request the substitution of Chris Lumsden for a heavy challenge on Joe McAlpine, the game though was played in good spirit.
The remainder of Queens and a number of Barnsley substitutes were used in the following minutes and the game was played out with Barnsley pressing for an equaliser but Bennett producing some good quality saves to ensure that the Doonhamers kept their fourth clean sheet in five pre-season matches, with five different 'keepers.