A double from Grant Savoury and additional goals from Simon Murray and Dom Thomas means Queen’s finish 2022 second top of the cinch Championship.
The Queen’s Park players gave the perfect Christmas Present to their fans with a 4-1 success at Arbroath thanks to Dom Thomas and Simon Murray goals as well as a Grant Savoury double.
Jake Davidson, Jack Thomson and Louis Longridge returned to the starting line-up at a more than blustery Gayfield with Alex Bannon and Jason Naismith moving to the bench following their starts in the 2-0 SPFL trust Trophy Cup success over Montrose 13 days ago.
Josh McPake who scored a 70-yard solo goal with the last touches of the ball against the Gable Endies dropped out of things with Head Coach Owen Coyle including the fit-again Pat Jarrett, who netted against the Red Lichties in the last meeting between the clubs back in October, in his list of replacements.
Both teams took the field in away colours to support Shelter Scotland’s #NoHomeKit campaign with the hosts kicking off and defending the ‘Pleasureland’ end of the ground.
The evergreen Bobby Linn won his side a corner after only 90 seconds however the Queen’s defence were able to see the dead ball out without danger threatening.
The visitor’s first threat emerged just after four minutes when Thomson slipped in Longridge, who was playing on the left, however Cammy Gill raced from his goal to smother.
A minute later Dom Thomas whipped in a free-kick that Thomas O’Brien headed over at the expense of a corner that met the same fate as Arbroath’s early one.
Thomas persevered and won two more corners however the home defence held firm with the assistance of an offside flag at the latter opportunity.
The hosts ignored their frustrations at the wind blowing the ball back in their direction to set up a chance on 12 minutes when Linn cut in from the left wing and looked for the far corner of Calum Ferrie’s goal however his effort was just off target.
Queen’s responded to Michael McKenna running clear before being flagged for offside by racing to the other end with Dom Thomas sending a low snap-shot wide.
Midway through the half Thomas whipped in a delightful, flighted ball from the right that reached Grant Savoury with Gill watching on as the attacker’s header flashed inches over with Simon Murray sending a first-time effort in from 20 yards that whistled past on 25 minutes.
Some twinkle-toed magic from Thomas took him deep into the Arbroath box with half an hour gone and his cut-back looked perfect for Murray to thump goalward however the striker appeared to be nudged out of his stride and the chance was lost.
The best chance of the game so far came on 38 minutes when Murray robbed O’Brien on the right wing and made a charge towards Arbroath’s goal. The skipper got his head up and picked out Thomson with a cut back and the midfielder took a touch and steadied himself and was all set to thump home from eight yards until Gill raced from his goal and blocked his effort.
A minute later one-time Queen’s Park player David Gold was replaced by Scott Stewart who is the son of current Queen’s coach Sandy!
Two minutes from the break Queen’s made a breakthrough with THOMAS finding the net. After some prompting play from Jake Davidson and Thomson a chance opened up for Murray who turned and fired for goal only to see his effort blocked.
Wide-man Thomas picked the ball up and rolled it onto his left foot before drilling through a sea of bodies and away from a diving Gil with the aid of a deflection.
In injury time Murray ran back 50 yards to help defend a free-kick, and the Queen’s fans at the Angus ground were delighted he did, as just a few seconds later he had netted at the other end. Murray helped clear Florent Hoti’s low free-kick and when the ball was fed out to Lee Kilday 30 yards from Ferrie’s goal.
The defender charged forward to the half-way line where he slipped a pass to MURRAY who ran clear and kept calm before stroking home to the delight of those supporters.
Arbroath looked to make a dent in Coyle’s side’s lead quickly into the restart with Ferrie doing well just 90 seconds in to save and hold onto a firm shot from Dale Hilson after the forward had exchanged passes with Stewart.
The visitors were also quick to show that they were not going a sit-back and a chipped pass from Thomas saw Murray gather in space on the right with Gill watching his shot flash just wide.
That warning was not heeded and on 51 minutes it was 3-0 to Queen’s with another lightning break from their own half seeing Murray time his pass to SAVOURY perfectly with his low drive sneaking past Gill and rolling in via a post.
Linn looked to lift his side instantly as he danced into the visitors’ box before looking bound for the left-hand corner of Ferrie’s net until the shot-stopper produced a fine stop.
Queen’s were soon in action at the other end again and a fourth goal looked on before a Thomas shot was charged down with appeals for a penalty for handball in the home box waved aside shortly afterwards.
Another visiting goal arrived on 66 minutes when Murray swivelled and fired for goal, and when his effort was blocked, SAVOURY pounced and swept home into the far corner.
The visiting side looked determined to give nothing away and Thomson’s sliding block on Hilson’s shot from the edge of the box with 17 minutes left was a perfect example of their resolve.
At the other substitute Scott Williamson ensured that there would be no rest for the home defenders as he burst clear only to be denied by Gill’s legs.
Arbroath continued to try and get on the score-sheet and as the game entered the last ten minutes Scott Bitsindou fired for goal but he saw his effort hit a sea of red shirts.
In injury time the hosts grabbed a consolation after a corner was pushed onto the bar and Daniel Fosu turned it over the line from a yard out.
The players looked disappointed at the loss however the message from the supporters was clear in that it should not ruin a fine win or indeed their Christmas!!
‘Merry Christmas 4-1!’
Queen’s Park: Calum Ferrie, Jake Davidson, Lee Kilday, Charlie Fox, Tommy Robson, Malachi Boateng, Jack Thomson (Alex Bannon 87’), Louis Longridge (Lennon Connolly 87’), Dom Thomas (Pat Jarrett 87’), Grant Savoury, Simon Murray (Scott Williamson 72’). Subs not used: Jason Naismith, Jonny Kenny, David Akrobor-Boateng, Stephen Eze, Jacques Heraghty (G/k).
Arbroath: Cammy Gill, Marcel Oakley, Colin Hamilton, Ricky Little, Thomas O’Brien, David Gold (Scott Stewart 39’), Dale Hilson, Scott Bitsindou, Michael McKenna, Florent Hoti (Daniel Fosu 60’), Bobby Linn (Kieran Shanks 60’). Subs not used: Kareem Isiaka, Derek Gaston (G/k).
Referee: Duncan Williams.