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Monday, 8th August, 2022
Season Review 2021/2022 Part 3
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Chris Burke's Best Mate!

By Stuart McLaren


Date 11th May, 2022


On 7th August, 2021, I finally felt ready to return to Palmerston for the first time since 29th February 2020, for the visit of Championship favourites, Kilmarnock.  There were still a lot of COVID restrictions in place, which had me wondering how I'd feel about it, but I actually quite enjoyed the experience, despite the result.

By the time we played Kilmarnock on 7th August, I'd decided that the COVID restrictions had been lifted enough that I'd give my first match in a year and a half a try.  Tickets had to be booked in advance online, you had to sit in your allocated seat and arrive at an allocated time, the rows in front and behind me were empty, as were the seats to my right and left, and you had to wear a mask (you know what, I don't find that too difficult!) but, despite all that, I did actually enjoy my first visit back.  It would have been nicer to have someone to talk to, but my seat turned out to be a good one right on halfway in the new stand (the only one open at this stage), giving me probably a better view than from my usual seat in the Old Stand!  It certainly allowed me to witness first-hand just how closely Roberto Nditi was man-marking Chris Burke as he followed him over to just in front of me as he argued with the Linesman during a break in play!  Despite a decent performance, Queens went down to a late goal, but I was encouraged. On the downside, Josh Rae suffered a broken jaw which would see him out until after Christmas, but we were able to bring in a very useful replacement in Sol Brynn from Middlesbrough (who must have some goalkeeping stock as they also had Zack Hemming at Kilmarnock).  I was further encouraged by a 3-2 victory at Morton in our next match, our first league victory of the season against a team I believe had to change their team almost as much as us over the summer.

 

By the time the other relegated side, Hamilton, visited Palmerston on 28th August, COVID had surged again in Dumfries, so I decided to give this one a miss as Queens went down 1-0 to what was to prove to be a boggy team for us this season.  I was still playing it safe as Lowland League Broomhill were beaten 3-0 in the First Round of The Challenge Cup, Max Johnstone and Ben Liddle made their loan debuts.  A 1-0 win at Raith in our next league game had us jump up to 5th in the league and had me hailing this as our strongest squad in years and hoping we could push on from this 😬.    I had considered returning to Palmerston for the visit of surprise package, Arbroath, but a non-COVID illness saw me miss this one too as we came crashing back to earth with a 2-0 defeat, our 3rd from 3 home league matches!  September was rounded off with another narrow defeat, 1-0 at Inverness, but I was already observing that while the Queens players seemed to be as good as any in The Championship, we seemed to have developed a losing mentality.

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