Cove Rangers 3 Queen’s Park 0
One lesson Queen’s should have learned by now is that when you make the long trek to the Highlands, you have to earn anything you want to take home. Many years of travelling to Elgin, Peterhead- and before that Ross County – should have taught us that the golden rule is not to give anything away.
Sadly, the Spiders ignored that rule today, gifted our Highland hosts a couple of goals, and headed home with absolutely nothing to show for their efforts.
Cove are the bookies favourites to win League 2 this season, and they’ve started as if they mean to justify that tag.
But Queen’s had also got off to a good start and were unbeaten after their first four outings.
There was mixed news when the team lines revealed that Joffrey Lidouren was fit, as was Lewis Magee. But Kieran Moore missed out.
So there was only one change from last weeks starting XI, with Jack Purdue replacing Moore up front.
But while last Saturday saw us playing on a perfect Hampden pitch in calm conditions, today we had the “joys” of a plastic surface and a howling gale in our faces.
And it was the wind that dominated the opening exchanges with the home side trying to use it to their advantage, while the Spiders struggled to to make much headway in an attacking sense.
However, for all the home side had the bulk of the possession,Willie Muir has had busier days in the QP goal.
One shot from Glass was blocked early doors and David Galt had a sighter from distance, but that was about it as far as goal attempts were concerned in the opening 20 minutes.
Then, just when it looked as if Queen’s were in the mood to grab something from the game, we went to sleep and gifted the first goal. What will annoy Mark Roberts more than anything is that Cove had a rehearsal with their first corner. When the ball was played short from the right, Glass reacted first and shot narrowly over. Two minutes later, another corner from the right was played short and this time Higgins was the one to react and his shot found the QP net.
To their credit, Queen’s refused to buckle and although the home side had loads of the ball, and the wind advantage, the visiting defence coped well.
And this QP team can also break with purpose as they showed on a couple of occasions. One promising break saw Galt get a shot off, but it was blocked before it could trouble McKenzie.
Willie Mortimer then led a spirited break which was crudely halted by Megginson. Referee Lambie decided it was just a “forward’s” tackle, and let the offence pass without showing a card.
The resultant free-kick came to nothing when Salim volleyed the clearing header high over the top and the half ended with Cove wasting a promising looking 3-on-2 break with an overhit final pass.
Cove Rangers 1 Queen’s Park 0
With no changes in personnel at the break, the question was whether Queen’s could make use of the elements now in their favour.
They started brightly enough and Milne was booked for taking out Purdue as the midfielder tried to lead a Spiders charge.
Magee had a header easily saved before Galt was again unsuccessful with a shot from outside the box.
The home side showed they were still very much intent on extending their lead and Ross could have done better with a header, but Muir was well up to the task.
As the halfway point in the half arrived, Cove got the killer second goal. Queen’s failed to properly clear a series of corners, and from the final effort, Masson found space on our left to cross and Smith completed the job.
The Gaffer gambled at this point, replacing Magee with Reagan Thomson, but his plans were hampered when injury meant he had to hook the impressive Lidouren and replace him with Calvin McGrory.
Into the last 15 and Big Alfie came on to replace Purdue. The sub almost made an immediate impact, barrelling his way down the line before playing in Galt. His ball fizzed across the face of goal and found no takers.
With Queen’s pressing to take something from the game, there was always the danger of getting caught on the break … and that’s exactly what happened. Masson found the freedom of Balmoral to play a ball through the QP defence. Fyvie ran on and calmly finished beyond the helpless Muir.
The game was well and truly up by now, although Thomson did force McKenzie to turn a low shot round the post for a corner.
In the dying minutes, Lambie booked Glass when he went over the top on Tommy Block. The Queen’s midfielder suffered the same fate moments later when he tried to exact his own retribution on the Cove player.
So a disappointing afternoon saw Queen’s surrender their unbeaten league start. However, this was not an occasion to make judgements with the wind making it difficult to play much football.
The international break could have come at just the right time for the Spiders as it might give the medical team time to work on the knocks we are carrying … and we get back into action in two weeks time with a derby against our old rivals Albion Rovers.
Keep the Faith.
Queen’s Park: Willie Muir, Billy Mortimer, Ciarán Summers, Creag Little, Lewis Magee, Nicky Jamieson, Tommy Block, Joffrey Lidouren, David Galt, Salim Kouider-Aissa, Jack Purdue. Subs: Jacques Herraghty (gk), Scott Gibson, James Grant, Cameron Clark, Reagan Thomson, Alfie Agyeman, Calvin McGrory.