Cowdenbeath 2 Queen’s Park 0
Queen’s headed for Central Park knowing that a good victory would see them leap into the promotion play-off places.
They left still in sixth place after losing 2-0 to Cowdenbeath on a night that definitely falls into the “best forgotten quickly” category.
With that in mind – and to spare the innocent any unnecessary suffering – your scribe will keep this report relatively brief, which won’t be a hardship given the lack of “highlights” on which to report.
The Spiders went into the game looking to put successive cup defeats behind them, and they had the boost of knowing that their last league game was the excellent victory over title-chasing Peterhead.
Gaffer Mark Roberts knew he would have to make one change, which was relatively simple, replacing the suspended Dom McLaren with Lewis Magee at the centre of the defence. The other change on the night was the introduction of Gregor Fotheringham at the expense of Euan East, possibly to bolster our defensive attributes in anticipation of a difficult night in Fife.
That anticipation – sadly – was fulfilled. From the first minute, when the home side had us under all sorts of pressure after winning a corner, we struggled to get our passing game going.
We survived that onslaught and tried to get into the game. All too often, however, we resorted to longer balls – which weren’t accurate enough – and when we did try to get going along the ground, we either ran out of room, or the final ball wasn’t good enough.
The first 20 minutes passed with precious little incident save the sound of referee Kirkland’s whistle as both sides were penalised for niggling fouls.
Queen’s did have a couple of shots from distance, but nothing to trouble keeper McGurn.
And it was the home side who produced the first moment of real danger – after 21 minutes – when Deas rattled our bar with a header from another dead-ball delivery.
Moments later, Gerry McLauchlan went into the book after being judged to have fouled Cox. The resultant free kick saw an effort from Malcolm go too close for comfort for the visiting ranks.
Gerry was followed in the book by Scott McLean just before the half hour for delaying yet another free-kick awarded to the home side. And within a couple of minutes, Queen’s had another narrow escape as Renton hit the post with another header.
Queen’s did manage to enjoy more possession after that scare and Kurtis Roberts had two efforts blocked in quick succession before finally firing a shot wide.
It became 2-1 on bookings when Malcolm was shown the yellow card for a foul on Magee.
Right on the half-time whistle, the Spiders had their best moment of the half when Fotheringham went close after a spell of pressure around the Fifers’ box. The final shot was close, but earned no cigar as it flew past the post.
That was it for the first period, and the hope as the players trudged off for their cuppa was that things would get better after the break.
Cowdenbeath 0 Queen’s Park 0
The Fifers made one change at the interval, replacing Swann with Skelly. Sadly, it was to prove decisive as the sub took only six minutes to set up the first goal. He skipped past a couple of challenges down our left – crossed low – and left Renton with a tap-in at the far post.
To their credit, the Spiders tried to respond. McLauchlan went close with a header from a corner, and McLean tried to work some magic in the middle of the park. Although he did get into position to get a shot off, he couldn’t find the accuracy or power to seriously test McGurn.
Mark Roberts tried to change things up a bit, first replacing Fotheringham with East – and then bringing on our latest trialist at the expense of Kieran Moore who’d found it hard to get into the game at all. (Mind you, he wasn’t alone in that respect).
Midway through the half, we should have finally got the message that this wasn’t going to be our night. A good ball through found Lewis Hawke in space and although he pulled the ball in, he couldn’t get it under control quickly enough. When he did get the shot off, he was off balance and it was no surprise to see his effort fly high and wide.
The game meandered towards a close with Queen’s huffing and puffing, but not really threatening. And it was game over eight minutes from time when the home side scored their second. A high ball through the centre was punched clear by Jordan Hart … straight to sub Skelly. He controlled the ball and sent a lob spiralling over the stranded keeper and into the net.
Again Queen’s tried to respond, with Hawke sending a header over the top after a decent ball in from the right.
That was the last action of a bitterly disappointing night in Fife and it was almost a relief when the final whistle sounded with the scoreline reading: Cowdenbeath 2 Queen’s Park 0.
That’s three defeats on the bounce for the Spiders, and next up is a testing trip to Edinburgh to face the City slickers who are leading the league. That certainly won’t be an easy afternoon, but we can at least hope for more entertainment than we “enjoyed” tonight.
Keep the Faith!