Peterhead 4 Queen’s Park 0
There are days when the trip to Peterhead is one of Gulliver’s favourite travels. When the weather is decent, the beauty of Scotland is laid bare for all (except the driver )to enjoy. Then there’s the stop off in Stonehaven for a bite to eat and mayhap a wee glass of red.
But when the weather is dreich and horrible, as it was this morning, the trip is not so appealing.
Regardless of the outward journey, the trip back from Peterhead is seldom much fun. There have only been two occasions this Millennium when the Spiders have brought back a full haul of points from Balmoor … and that’s on more than 20 visits.
So could we change that today? If we could, it would go down as one of our best results in many a moon. Apart from the inherent difficulties of every away fixture at Peterhead, we’d only had four days to recover from the exhausting – and ultimately heartbreaking – exploits on Tuesday night.
The situation wasn’t helped by the absence of Anton Brady through injury, but the good news was that new loan signing, Dominic Docherty was available after joining from Thistle until the end of the season.
He went into the squad, but the only changes to the starting XI were David Galt for Ewan MacPherson, and Conor McVey for Brady.
Peterhead manager Jim McInally was probably the neutral with the biggest smile on his face at Hampden on Tuesday as Queen’s ran their guts out, and he had reasons to be cheerful as his team started this one on the front foot. Within the first 20 seconds, Muir came to to the rescue of Queen’s twice, saving well from Stevenson and McAllister.
The Spiders did threaten briefly themselves after four minutes, winning a corner which saw Jamie McKernon get a brief glimpse at the home goal. He shot wide … and although we didn’t know it at the time, that was as good as it was to get on a truly minging afternoon.
The next Peterhead attack saw McGeever pulled up for a foul on McAllister, and more significantly, the defender also earned a yellow card.
Gulliver would love to know how many defenders have gone into the book after tangling with the experienced striker, and he’s certainly been a thorn in the flesh of the Spiders on more than one occasion.
A couple of minutes later, he was at the heart of the action again as the home side won a corner.
Queen’s were all over the place as the ball came in and Strachan had more space than there was at the Trump inauguration to nod past the helpless Muir.
Those who had seen this movie before, feared the game was already up for the Spiders, and the next 15 minutes of midfield stalemate did little to ease those fears.
It got worse after 25 minutes when Anderson was left on his own to volley home following a break on the right, and at 2-0 down, even optimists like Gulliver were struggling to find the positives.
At this point, we feared the worst; shortly after the half hour, we knew there was no way back.
McAllister broke clear and tangled with McGeever. Referee Graham saw it as a second yellow offence and a penalty. Ryan walked, Rory scored – and it was 3-0 and game over.
To their credit, Queen’s made it to the interval without suffering further damage, but it was already crystal clear that this was going to be yet another miserable return journey from the footballing highlands.
Peterhead 3 Queen’s Park 0
Gus made one change at the break, bringing on Gavin Mitchell for Sean Burns.It made no difference in an instantly forgettable opening 15 minutes. The home side knew the points were safe; Queen’s knew they were gone, and everybody just wanted to hear the final whistle.
Muir, however, showed his determination to avoid more punishment when he tipped a great effort from Blockley round the post after 54 minutes.
Sadly, that was only postponing the inevitable and after 64 minutes McAllister put the home side 4-0 ahead with a fine strike from outside the box.
With 70 minutes on the clock, McKernon picked up a yellow card for an innocuous challenge, and was hooked soon after to be replaced by Liam Brown.
Billy Mortimer was given the final 10 minutes at the expense of Gregor Fotheringham, but truth be told, we could have brought on the light brigade at this point and their charge wouldn’t have changed the outcome.
The good news was we made it to the whistle without shedding any more goals. The bad news was we never looked like reducing the deficit.
Whatever way you look at it, it’s been a pretty abysmal seven days for the Spiders. We’ve gone out of the Scottish Cup; seen two men sent off – and dropped to sixth place in SPFL 1.
But let’s look on the bright side. We’re sitting sixth in the league, three points off third place. If you’d been offered that going into February before the season started, you’d have jumped at it.
So it’s been a ####y week, but we now have seven days to pick ourselves up and go again.
Nobody said it was going to be easy; nobody said it was going to be straightforward. But we could all have guessed it was going to be a rollercoaster ride. We’re down now, but if Newton reckons that what goes up must come down, then Gulliver’s law of optimism says that what’s gone down, must bounce back up.
Keep the Faith!