Queen’s Park 0 Cowdenbeath 3
It was a classic case of glass half full or half empty for followers of Queen’s Park as they welcomed Cowdenbeath this afternoon.
Those optimists (eternal dreamers?) in the ranks pointed to the fact that Mark Roberts’ side are unbeaten over 90 minutes at our Hampden home this season. They added that victory over the Blue Brazil could see us leapfrog them and move up to the dizzy heights of third place in the league table.
That all sounds quite impressive, but the pessimists (grumpy gits?) could also make a strong case. After all, the Spiders haven’t won over 90 minutes on the South Side this term … and it’s taken late goals and penalties to salvage anything from a number of those games.
All your scribe will say is that if you had asked before a ball was kicked in earnest this season, there’s nobody connected with the club who wouldn’t have settled for the prospect of going third after seven games.
To get to third place today, however, we’d have to beat a Fife side in a rich vein of form. Gary Bollan’s men have won four out of their last five matches, including the last three on the bounce. Their only defeat in recent outings was a narrow 3-2 loss against league leaders Cove Rangers.
They’ve also been scoring goals regularly, while the Spiders have found it difficult to convert some excellent outfield play into concrete results. So all we had to do was defend well and take our chances … sounds Simples, doesn’t it?
There was one notable absentee when the team lines revealed that Big Alfie was unavailable. His place in the starting XI was taken by Salim Kouider-Aissa, while the two other changes made by the Gaffer saw Jack Purdue and young Reagan Thomson start in place of Joffrey Lidouren and Calvin McGrory.
The opening exchanges were very much a sparring session and it wasn’t until the sixth minute that a keeper was called into serious action … Willie Muir punching a dangerous cross well clear.
Queen’s had a couple of nearly moments with Purdue and Salim threatening to break free, but despite enjoying a lot of possession, we couldn’t bring Morrison into action.
Muir produced a routine stop to gather a long-range effort from Mullen before Queen’s first real chance … a foul on the edge of the box. Salim fired off a shot, but the wall did its job.
As the half hour approached, Purdue had Morrison scrambling … twice. The keeper palmed out his first effort from outside the box, and then Jack smacked the rebound back in. Morrison palmed this one behind for a corner that came to nothing, but the signs were more promising.
The first booking of the afternoon arrived after 37 minutes when Taylor hauled back Thomson.
Cameron Clark produced a lovely bit of skill to set himself free down the left, but then suffered a bit of a nosebleed and tried a driven cross rather than pick out a Hooped jersey.
Thonson showed his class as the break approached when he sent a couple of visitors on a wild goose chase with a dip of the shoulders before releasing David Galt. Davie bore down on goal and shot with his left peg, but Morrison gathered well.
Barr then went into the book for going through Galt.
Queen’s were on top, but got a reminder that the Blue Brazil weren’t here to make up the numbers just before the interval when Muir had to be alert to block an effort from Thomas.
Queen’s Park 0 Cowdenbeath 0
Queen’s made one change at the break. Creag Little, who had been a doubt pre-match, failed to reappear, and Ciarán Summers came on at left back.
The big question, however, was could the Spiders change their Hampden draw habit into a victory?
Seven minutes in, Galt went down in the box, but the penalty shouts went unheeded. Seconds later, when Clark blocked a shot from distance as Cowdenbeath broke, the referee pointed to the spot suggesting an arm had been used. Mullen converted with ease. In a game where the first goal always looked crucial, it was a body blow.
Todd was next in the book when he cynically hauled down Galt. Davie let fly from the free kick, but the wall again stood firm. Miller followed his defensive partner into the notebook soon after for another foul on Galt.
Thomson shot over after being given the chance by Galt, who was involved in everything that was going on.
Queens earned yet another foul when James Grant was decked, but Reagan fired the free kick wide.
As we reached the three-quarter stage of the game, Galt broke again and was only inches wide with a left-foot effort.
The visitors made a rare trip upfield as we entered the last 20 minutes and won a couple of corners in quick succession which were cleared without damage.
Cowden swapped Allan for Taylor as we entered the final 15 minutes … and instantly doubled their lead. Another corner was swung in by Mullen and Barr powered home a header.
Moore came on for Clark as Queen’s desperately tried to salvage something from the afternoon.
Galt was decked – again – but again, we couldn’t make anything of the free kick.
Queen’s continued to press and it took a good stop from Morrison to deny Block.
Guess what happened after 85 minutes … you got it, Galt was fouled again. Barr was again the offender, but Buchanan was booked for kicking the ball at the QP player.
Pyper came on for Miller as the visitors ran down the clock.
Home skipper Scott Gibson was booked in injury time as frustrations boiled over when Cowdenbeath won a foul right on the edge of the box. Muir spilled the first effort and Allan following up tapped home the rebound to turn a bad afternoon into a rank, rotten one.
The stats show that the Spiders had more than twice the number of efforts in the match as the visitors. The only stat that really matters, however, is that Cowdenbeath scored three goals from their five attempts; we failed to score from our 11.
Perhaps the best news of the afternoon is that Queen’s remain in fourth place in the league, but we’ll need to perform better next week when we travel to face title challengers Edinburgh City. The glass is definitely half empty just now, but it will soon have a large drop of red in it to drown the sorrows.
Keep the Faith!
Queen’s Park: Willie Muir, James Grant, Creag Little, Scott Gibson, Nicky Jamieson, Cameron Clark, Tommy Block, Reagan Thomson, Salim Kouider-Aissa, David Galt, Jack Purdue. Subs: Jacques Herraghty (gk), Kieran Moore, Billy Mortimer, Ciarán Summers, Joffrey Lidouren, Luke Main, Calvin McGrory.