Queen’s Park know what they need to do this Friday when they host Dundee after going down 2-1 at Morton who cancelled out Malachi Boateng’s sublime opener with a Grant Gillespie penalty and a Robbie Crawford goal.
Lee Kilday and Jack Thomson shrugged off knocks picked up at Ayr last week to be included from the start as Head Coach Owen Coyle made one change with Dom Thomas dropping to the bench and Louis Longridge earning a recall.
The hosts kicked off and forced a corner after only 20 seconds with Calum Ferrie dropping on the loose ball after the flag kick had been crossed over to the back post and hit off a group of players.
On five minutes Greenock dangerman George Oakley popped up in the box and chested down a cross with the ball running away from the striker before he could fire for goal. The Spiders raced to the other end and Connor Shields created space for a shot only for it to be blocked before it could trouble Brian Schwake.
Morton forced another corner as they looked to build up a head of steam and after it had been cleared Charlie Fox was fouled as he dived to head clear another cross into the visitors’ box.
Coyle’s side showed flashes of their attacking threat on 13 minutes when Grant Savoury sent Shields scampering down the right and his cross was just too high for the inrushing Scott Williamson.
On 15 minutes Fox fouled Robbie Muirhead 19 yards out from Ferrie’s goal with the hosts’ attacker sending the dead-ball into the red and black shirted wall.
Five minutes later former Spider Gillespie took a tumble just as he entered the Queen’s area with referee Beaton choosing not to point to the spot or caution the midfielder for simulation.
On 27 minutes a throw-in from Morton’s right was touched into the path of Robbie Crawford who fired first time for goal with Ferrie watching it closely as it cleared his bar.
Two minutes later Ferrie was more actively involved as he leapt to his left to produce an excellent stop as he clawed away a net-bound deflected 14 yard shot from Muirhead.
Queen’s built on that reprieve by taking the lead on 32 minutes with a superb curling effort from BOATENG.
Williamson won possession on the half-way line and found Shields on the right before darting into the box where he looked for a cross. Shields’ delivery was inches out however Williamson chased and recovered the ball before picking out Boateng 20 yards out with a cut-back with the on-loan Crystal Palace midfielder side-stepping his way into the box before picking his spot and finding it.
The pace continued to be frantic and Jai Quitongo flashed a cross into Ferrie’s goalmouth six minutes from the break with Oakley heading it wide and Crawford was off target with a shot shortly afterwards.
Ninety seconds from the break Quitongo cut inside Marcel Oakley on the right and darted towards Ferrie’s goal before crashing to the turf with Gillespie sending the resultant penalty out of Ferrie’s reach.
The Spiders started the second half with Jake Davidson on in place of Marcel Oakley and the reshuffled XI had Ferrie to thank for keeping the score at 1-1 within a minute of the restart as he bravely dived at the feet of George Oakley just as he was away to tap-in.
On 50 minutes a deep Tommy Robson free-kick was flicked behind for a corner that looked set for Charlie Fox until he was eased off the ball and the danger was cleared.
Boateng almost produced another moment of magic as he drifted past two defenders and cracked a shot goalward only for Darragh O’Connor to stick out his chest to stop the ball.
Ten minutes into the second half the visitors came close again when Longridge found Thomson as he darted into penalty area with Schwake having to stretch out an arm to push away the midfielder’s curving effort.
Robson surged forward to win a corner that Savoury headed towards goal only for it to be blocked by Williamson with Morton racing to the other end as the ball was cleared to earn a corner themselves.
Morton took the lead on 64 minutes when Oakley got ahead of Fox in the race for a bouncing ball 40 yards out and he advanced forward before slipping a pass to Crawford who deftly lifted a shot over Ferrie.
Substitute Thomas looked to bring his side level 18 minutes from time as he skipped past Liam Grimshaw and tried to find the far corner however his shot drifted wide.
Sixty seconds later Thomson carved a chance out for himself from 20 yards with Schwake using both hands to push his drive away.
With seven minutes left Quitongo sent a good chance wide after a couple of fortunate deflections took the ball into his path.
Queen’s kept on pushing and probing in their search for an equaliser with the hosts looking to keep the ball deep in the visitors’ half with a late long ball from Thomson unable to find Stephen Eze who had ventured forward.
Queen’s Park: Calum Ferrie, Marcel Oakley (Jake Davidson 46’), Lee Kilday, Charlie Fox (Stephen Eze 69), Tommy Robson, Jack Thomson, Malachi Boateng, Louis Longridge (Dom Thomas 60’), Scott Williamson, Grant Savoury (Aaron Healy 79’), Connor Shields.
Subs not used: Jacques Heraghty (G/k), Euan Henderson, Josh McPake, Alex Bannon, Patrick Jarrett.
Greenock Morton: Brian Schwake, Darragh O’Connor, Jack Baird, Calum Waters, Robbie Muirhead (Cameron Blues 60’), Jai Quitongo (Lewis McGrattan 83’), Calvin Miller, Robbie Crawford, Grant Gillespie, George Oakley (Ali Crawford 66’), Liam Grimshaw.
Subs not used: Lawton Green (G/k), Carlo Pignatiello, Efe Ambrose, Michael Garrity, Alexander King.
Referee: John Beaton