It's still only pre-season, it's still only friendlies, but it's getting rather worrying. The number of goals were shipping is hugely concerning and is already suggesting we could have a tough season ahead of us. The backline need serious strengthening with the frontline also in need of new bodies.
Queens fully deserved this win – and they could have won by a lot more had it not been for some poor finishing on their part. We may have had a weakened team but they left out some danger men too. Excuses can be made, but I'm not going to – partly because it would sound like sour grapes and partly because it is only pre-season.
After Saturday's experiment we were back to two up front as Steven Thompson was partnered by Thomas Reilly. New signings Gary Harkins, Kealan Dillon and Christopher Dilo all started, while we had a mystery trialist (not really a mystery, it was Danny Grainger), also in the team from the off.
Early doors it was typical friendly stuff before Jim Goodwin couldn't get out of the way of a Michael Paton thunderbolt and it went behind for a harmless corner. The ex Aberdeen man was looking dangerous, his free-kick finding the bar thanks to Dilo's fingertips, Stephen McKenna then shooting over from the corner. Thompson had a shot blocked in a rare Saints attack before slack play from Lee Mair let Gavin Reilly through one-on-one, Dilo pulling off a great save when he should have been given no chance by the striker.
A fine Saints passing move then put Harkins in and his shot was blocked, spinning up and forcing Callum Antell to tip it away. It would have given us an undeserved lead had it gone in and there could be no complaints when Queens went in front a few minutes later, Iain Russell crossing for the unmarked and untracked McKenna to volley home.
We'd been struggling to create anything but five minutes after going behind came a decent opportunity, Vanzy putting in a decent cross that Thompson just managed to get his foot in but he could only force it wide. Queens weren't content to sit back and Russell should at least have tested Dilo when he found himself in space at the edge of the box but instead smacked it well over the terracing. We then finally rallied, Reilly having a volley blocked before Darren McGregor headed a Grainger cross back to McGregor, whose volley made a fantastic noise as it smacked the post and came back out. Desperately unlucky for Cheesey, who'd no doubt have enjoyed scoring against his old club. He got booked before McKenna nearly ended the half with a second, his shot flying past the post.
Mair and McAusland came off for Gary Teale and Sean Kelly at half-time. They made a pretty good impact as Kelly's fierce shot was blocked by Antell before Teale played in Harkins, who beat his man well before slipping the ball past the advancing Queens goalie to level things up. And a few minutes later we shot ourselves in the foot as Grainger failed to get anywhere near enough on his header back to Dilo, who brought down Gavin Reilly as he tried to go round him. It was a blatant penalty - and possibly a red card if it wasn't a friendly - and Paton tucked away the spot-kick seeing his shot held by Dilo moments later.
We didn't have much of note on the bench but Queens did and decided to put just about everyone on at once, sub Dan Orsi's good run deserving a better ending than a dragged shot across goal. The scare spurred Saints into life briefly and Teale brilliantly ran onto the ball before lobbing Antell to bring is level again. Surely from here we'd go on and win?
Erm, no. After Dan Carmichael had a shot blocked by Dilo he then threaded the ball through for Derek Lyle to send through the legs of Dilo and put Queens back in front. Carmichael was having great fun against our defence and nearly got Queens' fourth, putting the ball onto the bar when Dilo was stranded after he tried to deal with a cross.
Queens had a chance to restore their lead immediately when Dan Carmichael was sent through but his shot was well kept out by Dilo. It was merely a reprieve though, Carmichael playing the ball through to Derek Lyle who nutmegged the Saints goalie to have Queens in front once more. They weren't content with that lead either, Carmichael lifting the ball over the top as they went looking for a killer fourth.
We finally woke up as the game entered it's final stages, Teale having a shot tipped behind and McGregor's goalbound header being nodded off the line by Lyle. Jon Scullion, who'd come on for Thompson, also had a go but his shot was deflected behind. We should then have been punished on the break as Chris Mitchell burst down the Queens' right and crossed for Lyle but he amusingly shot wide when it looked easier to score. It was rendered irrelevant a couple of minutes later though as Orsi passed to him and he shot home from close range to complete another disappointing Saints friendly display.
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