Queen’s Park 1 Clyde 1

*Due to Clyde fielding an illegible player Queen’s Park awarded a 3-0 win

TIME does fly when you’re enjoying yourself. It’s hard to believe there are just four home games left for Queen’s Park this season after today’s latest instalment of our ancient rivalry with Clyde.
It’s been an intriguing, inconsistent season. Gus MacPherson was in charge for the first four months, and the last four months under Mark Roberts’ leadership have been very entertaining and frustrating in almost equal measure.
Our head coach wrote the perfect application for the QP job, when as caretaker he guided Queen’s to a 1-0 home derby win over Clyde.
Four months on, he’ll hope to repeat the feat, while admitting we’re not getting into the promotion play-offs, but we’re not going to be dragged into a relegation dogfight, either (and pre-season was that our main concern?).
While the consistency in results has been hard to come by in recent weeks, the same can’t be said for the coach’s team selection, as he’s been able to rely on a settled squad.
In the build-up to this one, however, he hinted that a couple of players were carrying niggling injuries and raised the possibility of changes from the team that started the 2-1 defeat at Peterhead last week.
And changes there were, with Jamie McKernon and Billy Mortimer dropping to the bench and Dom McLaren and Ciaran Summers coming in as straight replacements.
The Bully Wee have been on an impressive 13-game unbeaten run that has taken them two points behind Peterhead and three behind League Two leaders Edinburgh City, but with a game in hand on the Citizens.
They took comfortable revenge for that Hampden loss when they beat us 2-0 at Broadwood in December, but their tormentor in chief that day, David Goodwillie, has since been sidelined with a broken arm and returned to the bench today.
And talking of ancient rivals, Clyde veteran John Rankin made his 600th senior appearance last week against Albion Rovers – while Dundee United loanee Scott Banks, at 17, became the first player born in the 21st century to play for The Bully Wee. The circle of football life. Ah…
The morning sunshine had disappeared by kick-off, to be replaced by heavy grey clouds and steady rain as Clyde, all in red, got us underway defending the away end.
It was evident right from the off that Gerry McLauchlan, still resplendent in head bandage after his recent Glasgow Kiss here with Kurtis Roberts, and Clyde stand-in striker Declan Fitzpatrick were going to have a right old-fashioned ding-dong.
Queen’s had the first chance after early exchanges, with McGrory’s strong run in seven minutes producing a chance for Hawke, who stepped inside a tackle and saw a shot blocked for a corner.
Clyde showed their impressive pace on the break when the corner was cleared, and it took a strong sliding tackle from Summers to halt their attack.
McLauchlan produced a similar intervention in 11 minutes, blocking a dangerous cross at the near post for a corner and earning a knock for his trouble.
The first 15 minutes flew in. It was fast action from both teams and Galt twice created chances as Queen’s showed up well.
First he had a shot blocked in 16 minutes by Rumsby’s sliding block, then another quick dart produced a strong right foot shot that Currie could only palm away at full stretch.
Queen’s had a free-kick in a dangerous position to the right of the area after Hawke was barged by Lang, but between them Summers and Gow couldn’t conjure up a chance.
Hawke, Gow and McLean almost created an opening in the box for the full back, but Gow’s final cute backheel just overran McLean.
Banks had Clyde’s first shot on target in 27 minutes, comfortably saved by Hart, but it was easy to see why they were right in the title race. Their quick passing style was very easy on the eye – but then so were the Spiders at their best.
Banks had another chance two minutes later after indecision between Hart and McLean, but the winger-cum-defender redeemed himself with a fine block off Banks to claim a bye kick.
Clyde looked dangerous every time they came forward and it took a splendid save from Hart to keep it level after 35 minutes. McNiff somehow found himself left clear in the box with only Hart to beat, and he looked to have done that as he rounded the keeper, but Hart recovered to dive full length and knock the ball away off McNiff’s toes and Fitzpatrick contrived to knock the rebound past the post. A let-off.
Hart was certainly the busier keeper now, but he was helpless as the speedy Banks fired over a cross from the left and Fitzpatrick again ran the ball past the near post. Spiders living dangerously, but at the break it was still all square.

Half-time: Queen’s Park 0 Clyde 0

Rankin opened second half proceedings with a left foot shot from distance that Hart took low down with ease.
And Roberts responded with a left foot effort of his own that lacked pace and was easily dealt with by Currie.
That early tit for tat quickly gave way to more serious intent, as Lamont’s fired cross from the right needed McLaren at the full extension of his long legs to divert the ball for a corner with red shirts queuing up for a shot.
Queen’s, though, were still making chances of their own, and Roberts again drew a save from Currie in 55 minutes, although this left foot effort from 12 yards was better struck.
Both teams made striking changes in 58 minutes, Moore replacing Gow for the Spiders and Goodwillie coming on for McStay.
Clyde were building a head of steam, no doubt fired up by the half-time results from Peterhead and Edinburgh City, and Hart again had to dive full length to tip away a Fitzpatrick header.
The Bully Wee should have been ahead in 64 minutes. Rankin was sent clear through the middle with only Hart to beat, but after drawing the keeper forward he slid a shot wide of the post.
And Hart was inspired again a minute later, his superb reflex save turning away another header from Fitzpatrick.
And that was the last contribution for big Fitz, going off to make way for Boyle.
Lyons on for flyer Banks was Clyde’s final change in 75 minutes.
Queen’s had changed their shape to counter Clyde’s changes, and to this untrained eye it looked like 4-3-2-1, but it didn’t matter as that man Goodwillie put Clyde ahead in 81 minutes.
The striker looked distinctly offside – and we may find out on QPTV – but there was no flag as he raced through onto a Rankin pass and calmly beat Hart.
A goal may have been coming, but it was tough on Queen’s, who had been caught out by a quick break after Galt had seen a shot blocked after a trademark run.
But Queen’s hit back immediately, after an inspired substitution.
Euan East came on to end young McGrory’s good shift, and with almost his first touch he thrashed a left foot shot past Currie to put Queen’s level.
And it could have been even better from the restart, when another gutsy Queen’s attack saw them win a free kick that McLaren headed agonisingly wide from six yards.
Both sides survived nervy corners before the end, but Queen’s ran themselves into the ground for what earlier had looked an unlikely point.
Keep the Faith.

Queen’s Park: Jordan Hart, Ciaran Summers, Gerry McLauchlan, Dominic McLaren, Scott Gibson, , Calvin McGrory, Kurtis Roberts, Scott McLean, David Galt, Lewis Hawke, Alan Gow. Subs : Kieran Moore, Jamie McKernon, Euan East, Josh Peters, William Mortimer, James Grant, Kieran McDougall.

Clyde: Blair Currie, Barry Cuddihy, Martin McNiff, Tom Lang, Scot Rumsby, Ray Grant, Scott Banks, John Rankin, Chris McStay, Declan Fitzpatrick, Mark Lamont. Subs: David Goodwillie, Ross Lyon, Kieran Duffy, Dylan Cogill, Jack Boyle, Jordan Stewart, Kieran Hughes.
Referee: Grant Irvine.