Brechin City 0 Queen’s Park 3
If we were to learn any lessons from history, Queen’s needn’t have turned up at Glebe Park today. Our last 30 league visits to the Angus ground – stretching back more than 40 years – have produced just two victories. Indeed, you’ve got to go back to March 2008 for the last of those successes, when now coaching staff stalwarts Steven Reilly and Tony Quinn were “active” members of the playing squad.
Despite that appalling record, there were some grounds for hope (if not optimism). Brechin have struggled so far this season, and have yet to taste victory. Queen’s, on the other hand, have only lost once in the 90 minutes this term. To top it all off, the bookies had us down as favourites to take the points… and they don’t get things wrong too often.
So the hope in the travelling support was that we could defy history and justify that favourites tag. That hope was boosted before the off when the team lines were unveiled. Mark Roberts had no new injury worries, and although Big Alfie was still not fit to return, the Gaffer had plenty choices.
In the end, he made just one change to our starting XI from last week, and it was a bold one – giving Kieran Moore the nod over Jack Purdue.
The choice suggested we would go for it, and that we did. Shooting down the Glebe Park slope, it took us just three minutes to carve out our first chance. Moore wriggled clear on the left and his deep cross found Billy Mortimer, but his shot caused more problems for the gulls on the roof than the home keeper.
David Galt tried his luck – without success- a few moments later, but Queen’s got their reward after just eight minutes. Galt tiptoed clear on the left and then rolled the ball across goal to leave Moore with a simple task to fire the ball into the net and put us 1-0 up.
The Spiders didn’t rest on their laurels and forced a series of corners as they looked to build on their lead.
The second goal duly arrived after 18 minutes and having provided the first, Galt scored this one all by himself. He found space on the left and curled home a wee beauty to leave Sinclair helpless… and the travelling support in dreamland.
The fans might have kept fearing the comeback, but the QP players had only positive thoughts on their mind.
Galt had a couple of long-range efforts saved, before referee McKendrick had to make his first intervention, booking McLaughlin for a foul and then flashing yellow at Billy Mortimer for voicing his displeasure too forcefully.
Hard though it was to believe given previous visits to this atmospheric wee ground, Queen’s were totally in control and a measure of their dominance was reflected in the fact that it took Brechin 41 minutes to win their fist corner… and that was easily cleared by a resolute QP defence.
Brechin City 0 Queen’s Park 2
There were no personnel changes at the break, but the worry for the visiting fans was that the slope would see the home side rank up the pressure.
The reality was quite the opposite. A great break on the left saw the Spiders win their first corner after just 48 minutes. Although that was cleared, when Galt ran the clearance back into the box, the home defence had to deck him to stop his run – and McKendrick pointed to the spot.
Our Salim stepped up to take the kick and although he beat Sinclair, he couldn’t find the right side of the post and the ball rebounded off the keeper for a corner which came to nothing.
The reprieve spurred the home side into action for a wee spell and Queen’s had to make sure they maintained their composure and their discipline.
They did both, and apart from an optimistic penalty shout from the Brechin ranks, there was precious little to raise your scribe’s already dodgy blood pressure.
Both coaches made changes around the hour mark. James Grant came on for Mortimer, before Brechin swapped Knox for the giant Crawford.
The home sub almost made an immediate impact, burling his way down the slope and into our box before getting off a shot. Thankfully, it was straight at Muir and he gathered with ease.
Queen’s had one more anxious moment to deal with when a Brechin corner caused all sorts of mayhem in the QP box, requiring a couple of blocks before Magee hoofed the ball to safety.
Fifteen minutes from time came the next changes. Reagan Thomson came on for the Spiders at the expense of Our Salim, while Brechin changed Reid for Watt.
Nine minutes from time and it was game over. The effervescent Moore nicked the ball in midfield and fed Galt. Davie bounded forward before releasing Tommy Block at precisely the right moment. The Hibs loanee took his time before burying the ball behind Sinclair to put the Spiders 3-0 ahead.
There was precious little to report in the dying stages, although Moore got a well deserved ovation when he was replaced by Jack Purdue with a few minutes to go.
The final whistle sounded soon after to signal our best victory in the shadow of the Hedge since 1973 when we took the points with a 5-1 success.
More importantly, the three points left us sitting right at the top of the pile… and although it’s ludicrously early in the season, it was incredibly good fun to hear the “We are top of the league” chant coming from the visiting support.
Mark Roberts was a happy man in the post-match interviews with QPTV, but the smile of the day award goes to Tommy Block who hadn’t even come out of the shower before retweeting his goal on social media.
It’s all going very well on the field just now, which is possibly just as well given the smelly stuff that we’ve endured off the pitch in recent years. We’ve got a decent squad, and a Gaffer who takes anything other than victory as a personal insult.
But let’s not get carried away – and let’s not try to imagine that there won’t be more than a few bad days ahead.
However, it’s only right that we should take a few minutes to celebrate the fact that an amateur football team – whose players still play for the jersey- are more than holding their own with the rest of their league competitors.
Almost makes an old eejit like your scribe ready to break the habits of a lifetime and enjoy a wee glass of red tonight.
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, Kieran Moore. Subs: Jacques Herraghty (gk), Scott Gibson, James Grant, Cameron Clark, Reagan Thomson, Luke Main, Jack Purdue.