Queen’s travelled to Ochilview for the second of four Betfred Cup Group E ties that kick start our competitive season. The Spiders were looking to put points on the board and put Saturday’s 2-0 defeat to Queen of the South behind them.
With Gulliver still off sunning himself on foreign shores and Homer missing in action it was left to their able, or some would say not so able depute to fill in on match report duties.
With Ochilview basking in the Scottish sunshine it was Stenny who got the game underway and the opening few minutes of the game saw the ball in the air with almost every kick or header from either side. The only happening of any note being youngster Liam Brown nutmegging ex Spiders favourite Vinnie Berry in the opening exchanges.
Recent signing Aidan Malone was first to break forward for the Spiders in the early stages however he was adjudged to be offside as he attempted to get on the end of a through pass from Darren Miller.
Further Spiders attacks in the opening ten minutes saw both Miller and Bradley put balls into the Stenny box but the home side’s keeper, Colin McCabe, was equal to both, coming off his line to claim.
Stenny had a couple of chances of their own inside the opening 10 minutes courtesy of a dangerous ball across the face of the Spiders goal from Alan Cook, thankfully for the Spiders defence it evaded everyone in the box. The ball eventually landed at the feet of Jack Smith who’s cross/shot was fired over the roof of the stand behind the goal, bringing the Stenny attack to an end.
Malone and Bradley were looking lively for the Spiders however their quick thinking saw three offside decisions go against the Spiders in a matter of minutes.
Queen’s won the first corner of the game in the 18th minute however Darren Miller failed to make the most of it and his cross was cleared by the Stenny defender on the front post.
The following 10 minute period saw The Warriors press higher up the pitch and Meechan saw his 23rd minute effort go wide of the Spiders goal. Despite the pressing there was little end product from the home side and the half hour mark passed with neither team having had a shot on target.
A low key and uneventful 10 minute period passed with neither side producing anything of note and then from nothing the Spiders took the lead in the 41st minute courtesy of a Sean Burns wonder strike.
The ball dropped to the captain who was all of 35 yards from goal, his anticipation was second to none as he spotted Stenny keeper McCabe off his line and with the most delightful of efforts lobbed the keeper to put Queen’s ahead.
The goal seemed to spark a bit of life into the game and in the closing minutes of the first half both Malone and Miller had decent chances to double the lead, Miller’s 25 yard effort stinging the hands of McCabe who was forced into a decent save.
As the first half neared its conclusion McMenamin saw yellow for the home side after continually remonstrating with referee Craig Napier.
Half time: Stenhousemuir 0-1 Queen’s Park
Both sides emerged unchanged for the second half and Queen’s got the proceedings underway.
Similar to the first half, it was a slow start from both sides before Queen’s won a corner with 50 minutes on the clock. Miller delivered a decent ball into the edge of the six yard box and there was a moment of panic for the home side as keeper McCabe spilled as he tried to gather it. Fortunately for Stenny, Colin McMenamin was on hand to clear the danger.
Moments later it was almost a second for the Spiders as Liam Brown delivered an enticing low cross which Anton Brady was just inches away from making a connection with from close range.
Queen’s were looking dangerous in attack and won a free kick in a good position in the 55th minute. Again it would be Darren Miller on set piece duties but the midfielder was left disappointed as his right footed curling effort went a few yards wide of McCabe’s goal.
A few moments later Scott Gibson sent Aidan Malone racing through on goal, the striker went down in the box after a tangle but despite the penalty claims from Spiders players and supporters, referee Napier adjudged that Malone had been the guilty party and awarded the home side a free kick.
Gibson was booked for a foul on Berry as the game passed the hour mark and that gave the home side a free kick 25 yards from goal. Stirling rolled the ball to McMenamin who drilled a powerful low shot under the Spiders wall forcing Spiders keeper Murphy into his first real save of the game.
Stenny made their first substitution of the match in the 62nd minute as Kieran Millar made way to be replaced by Mark Gilhaney.
As play resumed Queen’s pressed up the park, winning a corner. Miller delivered but his cross was somewhat over hit and despite Gibson managing to get a head on it to knock it back into the six yard box McCabe gathered and ended the Spiders attack.
Seconds later it was the same scenario at the opposite end of the park. Stenny won a corner and it was delivered into the heart of the Spiders box but Murphy raced off his line to gather in a crowded box. The keeper’s commanding of his area was second to none.
As the game approached the 70 minute mark the home side created another chance after a quick passing move on the right. Gilhaney’s cross found McMenamin unmarked at the front post but the veteran striker headed just over from what was a difficult angle.
Queen’s then made their first substitution of the match as Conor McVey replaced Liam Brown. This was followed a minute later by another substitution which saw David Galt come on for the tireless Joe Bradley. Both Brown and Bradley departed having put in very decent shifts in tough conditions.
The following spell saw Stenny press forward as they sought an elusive equaliser but despite this the Spiders defence continued to stand firm with Murphy in the QP goal looking faultless whenever he was called into action.
Gus MacPherson made his third and final substitution of the match with 13 minutes to go as striker Aidan Malone made way for Euan MacPherson.
Four minutes later the gaffer’s substitutions were to pay off and ultimately win the game for Queen’s as Euan MacPherson delivered an enticing ball across the Stenny 6 yard line, Anton Brady went close to knocking it in but his misfortune was to the benefit of Conor McVey who was on hand to slam home from close range and put the game beyond Stenny’s reach.
Moments later, in the 85th minute, it was roles reversed as a McVey cut back found MacPherson however the young striker failed to make the most of his chance and fired off target.
The closing stages of the game saw both sides created chances and Anton Brady pick up a booking for Queen’s but there was to be no more goals and having played 4 minutes of additional time, referee Napier brought the match to an end.
Full time: Stenhousemuir 0-2 Queen’s Park
Stenhousemuir: Colin McCabe, Jamie McCormack, Ciaran Saunders, Fraser Kerr, Ross Meechan, Vincent Berry, Stephen Stirling, Kieran Millar (Mark Gilhaney 62), Colin McMenamin, Jack Smith, Alan Cook.
Unused substitutes: James Howarth (GK), Grant Hamilton, Alan Docherty, Calum Runciman, Liam McGrory, Paul Nash.
Queen’s Park: Andrew Murphy, Ross Millen, Scott Gibson, Adam Cummin, Ryan McGeever, Anton Brady, Liam Brown (Conor McVey 73), Darren Miller, Aiden Malone (Euan MacPherson 77), Joe Bradley (David Galt 74), Sean Burns.
Unused substitutes: Paul Woods, Bryan Wharton, Joshua Watt, Mark Williams.
Goals: Sean Burns 41, Conor McVey 81.
Referee: Craig Napier.
Next match: v Airdrie at Hampden on Tuesday 26th July. Kick off 7.30pm.