Queen’s got the competitive season underway with a tricky away match against an experienced Dumbarton side in Group H of the Betfred Cup and although it ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat, there were plenty of positives to be taken by everyone in the Spiders camp.
The scene was set for an enjoyable evening of football with the sun shining and the pitch looking to be in immaculate condition as the teams were put through their paces in the warm up.
The travelling Spiders support, who made up a substantial number of the 425 in attendance, saw gaffer Gus MacPherson name seven debutants in the starting XI, with two of those, Jamie McKernon and Gavin Lachlan, making their Queen’s debuts for a second time. Goalkeeper Jordan Hart, midfielder Dean Kildan, wingers Adam Martin and Kurtis Roberts and striker Josh Peters were the others handed their debut by the manager with Scott Gibson captaining the side.
It was the Sons who got the proceedings underway and they started the game on the front foot and their first attack came little over a minute in with Queen’s having Gerry McLachlan to thank for being in the right place to clear the danger from a cross ball.
Perry and Hutton both looked lively in the early stages for the Sons who won the first corner of the match in the third minute, it eventually came to nothing with Scott Gibson clearing the lines at the second time of asking. It had been a nervy start from the Spiders but the early waves of attacks from Dumbarton had been weathered.
Queen’s made their first real venture forward in the sixth minute with wide man Adam Martin providing a glimpse of what he has to offer as he broke down the left at pace before hauled to the ground. The resulting free kick was launched long into the box but it was an easy take for Dumbarton keeper Grant Adam.
With ten minutes on the clock the Sons mounted another attack as Perry got to the byeline on the right before cutting it back into the Queen’s six yard box and Gibson was once again on hand to clear the danger. From there Queen’s mounted their own attack but Peters saw his effort, from a difficult angle, go wide after some decent play in the build up involving Lachlan and Kindlan.
Queen’s were starting to find their way in the match and just a minute later, the confident Peters attempted an audacious 30 yard effort that wasn’t far off target.
With both teams going forward at every opportunity it was the home side who went close to opening the scoring next when with 16 minutes on the clock Michael Paton’s saw a 25 yard effort go inches wide of Hart’s post. Moments later Callum Gallacher saw his headed effort sail over the bar.
With Dumbarton looking a real threat in attack, Queen’s once again had captain Scott Gibson to thank for a timely intervention, thwarting what looked to be a goal bound effort from Andrew Little. Andrew Downie got on the end of the resulting corner but saw his header go inches over.
There was 24 minutes gone when debutant keeper Jordan hart was forced into his first real action of the game with a superb fingertip save denying Dumbarton what had looked to be the opener. The Sons won two corners in quick succession but neither was to come to anything.
Just before the half hour mark the travelling Spiders fans got another glimpse of promising attacking play this time involving Josh Peters who done well to hold the ball up before finding McKernon with a lay off, unfortunately the latter’s 25 yard effort was wide of the mark.
Despite the warning signs there for the Spiders the home side took the lead with 35 minutes played. The corner was delivered from the far side and found the head of Barr in a crowded penalty box, his knock down fell to the feet of Callum Gallagher who duly knocked it past Hart from close range. It was a poor goal to lose from a Queen’s perspective but the young Spiders didn’t appear to let it effect them.
As the first half drew to a close it was Queen’s who looked the better of the two sides and saw two chances to draw level. The first of these was through Gerry McLauchlan who saw a header saved from Grant Adam having got on the end of a McKernon corner but the second was much more clear cut. Although under pressure, the ball fell to Ewan MacPherson inside the box with the striker finding himself with just the keeper to beat from 12 yards, unfortunately he couldn’t direct the effort beyond Adam and the Sons had their keeper to thank for a vital save that saw them go in 1 up at the break.
HT: Dumbarton 1-0 Queen’s Park
Ewan MacPherson for the second half underway for Queen’s but it was the hosts who mounted the first attack of the second half with the lively Michael Paton seeing a decent effort from 25 yards go inches wide.
Despite Dumbarton going close to a second Gus’ men had begun the second half on the front foot and looked dangerous going forward. MacPherson dragged an effort wide in the 49th minute after Peters had broke at pace and found him on the edge of the box.
Just a minute later, with five minutes of the second half played, Queen’s had another decent chance, this time McKernon had held the ball up well on the edge of the box before finding Peters, unfortunately for the striker his powerful effort was straight down the middle and it proved a comfortable save for Sons keeper Adam.
Queen’s were beginning to enjoy more possession in the visitors half and growing in confidence as the game progressed. Peters and Martin in particular looked dangerous going forward at pace and they linked up delightfully as a flicked through ball from Martin found Peters in the box but his effort, from a tight angle, went inches wide of Adam’s right hand post. It was the closest Queen’s had went so far and an equaliser would certainly have been deserved had it come.
Just before the hour mark Ewan MacPherson made way for Billy Mortimer with the hosts replacing Andrew Little with Bobby Barr just a couple of minutes later.
Just after the hour mark Ciaran Summers, who looked transformed from last season, broke down the left before delivering an enticing ball into the Sons box, forcing the Dumbarton backline to head clear for a corner. Nothing would come of the corner but it was clear Summers and Martin were a real threat as they worked well together on the left side. It was the latter who had the Spiders next chance as he cut in from the wing but his effort was always heading off target.
With 67 minutes played Dumbarton were on the attack as Ross Forbes done well to get away from his man before going for goal from distance. It was an audacious effort but one which Hart in the Spiders goal was equal to.
Queen’s made their second substitution of the match with 20 minutes to go as Kurtis Roberts departed to be replaced by youngster Calvin McGrory who was making his senior debut. Dumbarton made their own substitution, replacing goalscorer Callum Gallagher with veteran striker Iain Russell just a couple of minutes later.
With the game well into it’s final third Queen’s continued to push for the elusive equaliser but the Sons backline was standing firm and thwarted the young Spiders in attack.
The last half chance of the game came with ten minutes to play as Martin broke down the left and found Mortimer with a decent pass, Mortimer’s cross found McGrory but the youngster couldn’t direct his header on target and to be fair to him, it would have taken an almighty effort to have beaten Adam in the Sons goal from where he was.
The closing stages of the match saw both sides make their third and final substitutions with Ryan Thomson replacing Ross Forbes for the hosts and youngster Ali Miller replacing Dean Kindlan for Queen’s.
There was to be little by the way of any real chances inside the last ten minutes and the Sons done enough to keep the clean sheet that they had fought hard for.
The match itself may have ended in defeat but there was more than enough to be taken by those in the Spiders camp to be positive about as we now look forward to the visit of Spartans to Hampden on Saturday.
FT: Dumbarton 1-0 Queen’s Park
Dumbarton: Grant Adam, William Dyer, Andrew Downie, Ross Perry, Stuart Carswell, Andrew Little (Robert Barr), Kyle Hutton, Callum Gallagher (Iain Russell), Ross Forbes (Ryan Thomson), Michael Paton and Craig Barr.
Substitutes: Cameron Ballantyne, Robert Barr (60), Iain Russell (73), Ryan Thomson (81) and James McGowan.
Queen’s Park: Jordan Hart, Gavin Lachlan, Ciaran Summers, Jamie McKernon, Gerry McLauchlan, Scott Gibson, Kurtis Roberts (Calvin McGrory), Dean Kindlan (Ali Miller), Ewan MacPherson (Billy Mortimer), Josh Peters and Adam Martin.
Substitutes: Smart Osadolor, Billy Mortimer (58), Cammy Foy, Daniel Nimmo, Ali Miller (81), Calvin McGrory (70) and Jack Dunlop.