Match Report

A first senior hat-trick from leading scorer Nicky Clark paved the way for Queens to extend their lead at the top of the table to 9 points as they ended their home fixtures for the calendar year by defeating local rivals Stranraer 4-1. With the score being level at the break, Queens produced a superb second half performance, and could easily have scored more than the three they did score.

The match was the first in a spell of 4 games in 10 days for Queens, and after Alloa reduced the gap at the top of the table to six points following their win over Forfar at the weekend, Queens went into the game knowing that a victory would see them extend their lead to 9 points once again. Manager Allan Johnston made two changes to the team that began against Brechin 11 days ago with Derek Lyle and Stephen McKenna being replaced by Gavin Reilly and Kevin Holt, the latter starting for the first time since the Stenhousemuir game back in October.

Before kick-off a minutes silence was observed to pay respect to Queens legend `Big Jim` Patterson, who sadly passed away recently. The striker, who scored a club record 251 goals for Queens, was one of the first players to be inducted into the Queens Hall of Fame, and although he will be sorely missed by all, his legendary status will remain forever.

The game began with Queens attacking the Portland Drive end of the ground, and they almost opened the scoring as early as the 4th minute when Danny Carmichael was on the end of a Willie Gibson cross, but his header whilst under pressure from a Stranraer defender, flew over the bar. Playing a 4-4-2 formation with Gibson on the left, Queens early attacking play was almost always going down the left channel, and more good work from Gibson created a crossing opportunity for Holt, and although Reilly was able to challenge for the ball in the area, he was penalised for a foul and a free-kick was given. Stranraer striker Michael Moore was starting to cause Queens a few problems with his style of play, and although not all of his actions were entirely legitimate, it was clear that he was a key figure for the visitors in the way they built their attacking moves. A mistake by Chris Higgins saw the ball fall nicely into the path of Moore, but Mark Durnan was able to block the shot and the danger was cleared.

On 14 minutes Queens went close to breaking the deadlock when Carmichael and McGuffie combined well down the right and Carmichael`s shot from the angle was well saved by Stranraer `keeper Mitchell. Minutes later Stranraer did what no other team has done in the league at Palmerston this season so far, they opened the scoring. After winning a free-kick wide on the right, the visitors went in front when centre back  McKeown got on the end of Aitken`s perfectly flighted cross to power a header past Lee Robinson`s outstretched hand and into the top corner. The first booking of the game, not surprisingly went to Moore, after avoiding a caution for being late on Gibson minutes earlier, the Stranraer striker was quite rightly shown yellow for a lunge on Holt on the left touchline. For a short spell Queens became a bit sloppy, and the normal sharp, quick tempo passing that has been so much in evidence this season was missing, but fortunately that didn`t last for too long, and on 31 minutes Queens drew level. Gibson  picked up the ball on the left and after jinking past two players delivered a cross into the penalty area where Nicky Clark was on hand to glance a header into the far corner to claim his 18th goal of the season.

Clark rises high to equalise

Having got back into the game, Queens almost took the lead following a free-kick on the right. With everyone expecting a cross into the box, Chris Mitchell instead played the ball low towards Clark and the striker`s movement allowed him to create the space to hit a drive that was well kept out by the legs of Mitchell. In the dying minutes of the half, Mitchell and McGuffie combined well to create a half chance, but McGuffie was unable to direct his header into the path of a team-mate, and the ball was swept away to safety by a covering defender.


From the start of the 2nd period it was evident that Queens had stepped up a gear, and Gibson may well have crowned what had been an impressive performance by him with a second goal for Queens, but `keeper Mitchell produced another superb save to keep out his effort from 20- yards. The resultant corner from Mitchell fell to Gibson on the edge of the box, but in choosing to take a touch before shooting, he allowed Dunlop to close his shot down and the chance had gone. However, it wasn`t all one way traffic, and Queens were given the benefit of the doubt minutes later, when Malcolm had the ball in the net only to be given offside. The decision looked pretty close from my position, and thankfully for Queens they got the break.

Queens had started to play some very neat football, and as the half wore on, they began to dominate the game. A delightful flowing move down the right involving Reilly, Carmichael and McGuffie almost opened up the visitors defence, but Carmichael`s final pass was just too strong for McGuffie who ran out of pitch. The pressure was building and Gibson produced a good turn of speed to go past two defenders before being scythed down by a late tackle from Staunton, but play was allowed to continue with Carmichael breaking on the left just unable to find the well marked Reilly with his cross.The referee then booked Staunton for the challenge, and although Gibson initially returned to the game, he was unable to continue and was replaced by Dan Orsi, with Carmichael switching wings from right to left.

Gibson`s game comes to an end

The goal that Queens were threatening to score finally arrived after 63 minutes following another quick break. Lee Robinson`s quick clearance fell into the path of Reilly and the youngster had the presence of mind to wait until the overlapping McGuffie was in position to deliver a perfect cross for Nicky Clark to side foot home from close range. Having gone ahead for the first time in the game, the confidence grew amongst the Queens players, and they began to knock the ball around with accuracy and composure, and a deep cross from Holt created a shooting chance for Dan Orsi at the far post, but the substitute`s effort was blocked away. Carmichael was shown a yellow card on 66 minutes for a late challenge on halfway, but just 3 minutes later, Queens scored a third goal. After getting the better of a defender inside the area on the left Nicky Clark completed his first senior hat-trick by cutting inside and drilling a well placed shot across Mitchell into the far corner, for his 20th goal of the season.

A hat-trick for Clark

With Queens well on top and looking likely to score with every attack, Reilly was next to go close, his shot from distance being not too far wide of the target. Hat-trick hero Clark was given a standing ovation as he was replaced by Kevin Smith with 14 minutes to go, and an attempted lob from distance by Carmichael forced Mitchell to watch carefully as he made the save. Queens final change saw the manager come on for Carmichael, and almost immeadiately, Queens added a fourth goal. As the ball bounced loose in midfield it was collected by Kevin Smith who bundled his way into the area and after seemingly losing control of the ball, he battled away to regain possession before slamming the ball past Mitchell from close range.

Smith finds a way through

The manager almost added a fith goal following a cross from Orsi, and when the whistle blew it confirmed that Queens had moved 9 points clear of the pack again after what was a superb second half performance. The attendance of 2122, the best league crowd of the season to date, were treated to some very entertaining football  and as the year draws to an end, Queens find themselves in a very good position at the head of the table. Sponsors named hat-trick hero Nicky Clark as man-of-the-match, and on a day when Queens legend, Jim Paterson was remembered, it was perhaps quite fitting that this season`s leading scorer made the headlines.


  • Robinson

  • McGuffie

  • Durnan

  • Higgins

  • Holt

  • Carmichael


  • Mitchell

  • Young

  • Gibson


  • Reilly

  • Clark


  • Atkinson

  • Black

  • Orsi


  • Smith

  • Johnston


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Clark Provides Festive Cheer
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14:39 Season`s greetings and welcome to Palmerston as Queens take on Stranraer. Teams coming up...
14:42 Queens: 1 Robinson 2 McGuffie 3 Holt 4 Durnan 5 Higgins 6 Young 7 Gibson 8 Mitchell 9 Reilly 10 Clark 11 Carmichael
14:42 Subs: 14 Smith 15 Black 16 Orsi 17 Johnston 12 Atkinson (gk)
14:44 Stranraer: 1 Mitchell 2 Staunton 3 McGregor 4 McKeown 5 Dunlop 6 Aitken 7 Winter 8 Gallagher 9 Moore 10 Malcolm 11 Love
14:44 Subs: 12 Borris 14 Phinn 15 Wright 16 Kinnaird 20 Caldwell (gk)
14:46 Stranraer currently sit in 9th position in the table with 15 points from 15 games.
14:48 They`ve been on a good run with 2 wins from 2 and a 3-2 victory over second-placed Alloa. Craig Malcolm has also scored in the last 3 games.
15:01 The teams are out with Queens in their regular blue home kit and Stranraer in a white top with grey shorts.
2 min After a minute`s silence for the passing of Big Jim Patterson we are underway with both teams lining up 4-4-2.
5 min First effort on goal is a good one as Willie Gibson swings in a cracking cross for Carmichael to flick a glancing header over the bar.
10 min So far it`s been Queens doing the attacking with the away side looking to catch Queens on the counter.
12 min Stranraer manage their first shot on goal as Higgins` poor clearance goes straight to Michael Moore who hits it but Durnan gets in the way.
14 min Nice play on the left as Carmichael is found by a defence-splitting pass by McGuffie. The winger hits it from an angle but it`s saved.
15 min From the corner and it`s McGuffie who nearly scores this time as he can`t quite get enough on Mitchell`s cross and the danger is cleared.
17 min Nearly a flashpoint in the Queens half as big Michael Moore upends Willie Gibson who`s not best pleased.The ref calms it down, no harm done.
20 min Stranraer are beginning to get a grip on the game now as Queens are having to do a spot of defending. The home side are coping well though.
20 min Goal Stranraer. McKeown the scorer
22 min Shouldn`t have said that. Moore wins a free-kick on the right-wing and Aitken crosses for McKeown to plant a free header into the far corner
25 min Nice approach play from Queens as Gibson plays a nutmeg before spreading the play for Carmichael to cross but Reilly can`t win the header.
27 min Yellow Card : Stranraer`s big lump of a striker Michael Moore clatters Kevin Holt and earns himself a yellow card.
31 min GOAL QUEENS! Clark the scorer
32 min It was looking like Queens were running short of ideas but a simple cross from Gibson finds Clark to score with a simple header. Simple.
35 min Stranraer again are causing the Queens defence problems as the home side struggle to clear.Queens are now on the attack as the game opens up
42 min Great save! Good play from Queens as Mitchell shapes to cross a freekick from wide but cuts it back for Clark to smash a shot off the keeper
45+1 min Unlucky Queens. Chris Mitchell chips a ball into the path of the surging McGuffie whose attempted header into Clark`s path is blocked.
45 min HALF TIME - QOS 1:1 Stranraer
46 min A pretty even first half with both defences in action throughout the half. Queens strikers have struggled against the much bigger defence.
58 min The teams are out and Allan Johnston will be looking for his boys to step it up in the second half.
46 min What a save! Willie Gibson runs at the Stranraer defence and unleashes a piledriver heading for the net before the `keeper palms it over.
47 min From the corner Chris Mitchell picks out Gibson free on the edge of the box but this time he takes too long and his shot is blocked.
51 min Goal disallowed Stranraer. Malcolm puts the ball in the Queens net but is called offside. Looks like he moved too early and Queens survive.
54 min Queens on the front foot again but Stranraer`s defence are defending strongly and coping well.
58 min Queens are turning the screw now as they throw in cross after cross with Carmichael at the heart of everything.
60 min Yellow Card : The ref pulls the game back after a Queens attack and books Stranraer`s Staunton for a late challenge on Gibson.
60 min Before that booking Queens were nearly in as Carmichael got to the byline and cut the ball across towards Clark but the defender got there.
63 min GOAL QUEENS! Clark the scorer
64 min At last. The pressure tells as Reilly feeds McGuffie on the right who cuts the ball for Clark to score off the inside of the post.
64 min Substitution : Orsi on for Gibson
65 min Yellow Card : Dan Carmichael slides in late and finds himself in the book.
67 min Bit of pinball in the box as Dan Orsi arrives late at the back post. His volley hits a defender before rebounding off the winger and out.
69 min Chance wasted as Nicky Clark runs free down the right but he can`t find Reilly with the cross and then Carmichael takes too long to shoot.
69 min GOAL QUEENS! Clark the scorer
70 min As easy as you like for Nicky Clark`s hattrick. He gets in on the left of the box and cuts inside before taking his time and firing home.
73 min So close Reilly. Queens are really starting to play now and Reilly nearly gets in on the act but places his shot just wide from 20 yards.
75 min Boos echo around Palmerston as Pantomime villain Michael Moore is subbed for Stranraer as Ryan Borris comes on.
75 min Today`s attendance is 2122.
76 min Substitution : Smith on for Clark
81 min Queens are comfortable and are making a few chances as Reilly heads over before Carmichael`s curler from wide is saved easily.
82 min Substitution : Johnston on for Carmichael
83 min GOAL QUEENS! Smith the scorer
85 min Sheer determination from Kevin Smith as he misses his touch inside the area before battling to get the ball back and beating the keeper.
87 min Allan Johnston gets his first real touch and attempts to chip the keeper from the edge of the area but it`s not high enough and is saved.
90 min Another chance for Johnston from Orsi`s cross but it`s on the bounce and he can`t get over it and sends it too high.
16:48 FULL TIME - QOS 4:1 Stranraer
16:50 An emphatic second half performance sees Queens steamroller a dogged Stranraer side to regain their nine-point lead at the top of the table.