Stirling Albion 1 Queen’s Park 0

Queen’s came down to earth with a bump as they lost 1-0 to Stirling Albion in a lacklustre league performance at Forthbank. After the dramas of the Irn-Bru Cup victory at Oswestry last week, this was as big a contrast as you will see in just seven days.

And while the defeat in itself was bad enough, the sight of the unlucky Cammy Foy leaving the field on a stretcher rounded off a miserable afternoon.

In the build-up to the match, Gus MacPherson had spoken of the good atmosphere generated in the camp by the shoot-out success, and there was genuine optimism among the travelling fans who headed for Stirling. The Gaffer had also spoken of the mounting injury list which saw Gavin Lachlan being the latest to miss out. He was replaced by the returning Gregor Fotheringham, while Adam Martin dropped to the bench to give Josh Peters a start.

So the Spiders lined up with Jordan Hart in goals behind a back four of James Grant, Cammy Foy, Scott Gibson and Ciaran Summers. Fotheringham and Jamie McKernon took the holding roles, with Kurtis Roberts, Smart Osadolor and Peters supporting Billy Mortimer up front.

We looked for a fast start – and got one – although it was the home side who flew out of the blocks, forcing Hart into a sharp save after just 19 seconds. The physical presence of the Stirling side caused problems from the resulting corner, which was finally cleared, but not before the alarm bells had begun ringing loudly.

Albion continued to call the shots early doors, and it was no surprise when they took the lead after 12 minutes. The route to goal was no shock either as it was another cross from a corner that did the damage – McGeachie heading home from an unmarked position at the far post.

Queen’s tried to hit back right away, and Robertson was given a severe talking-to for a crude foul on Fotheringham that halted a promising Spiders counter.

Unfortunately, that was just about the best we had to offer in the first period. Whenever we tried to get the ball down and play the football that won us so many friends (and the match) last week, we couldn’t get the final pass right. And when we resorted to longer balls, we simply came up against a robust defence.

Stirling, on the other hand, caused us problems on a number of occasions with balls into the box, notably after 20 minutes when another corner fell to Allan who went far too close for comfort with his low shot.

A Peters volley way over the top was our first attacking moment of the second 30 minutes of the game, and then Gibson raised hopes with a header from a McKernon free kick. But as it slipped by, we were soon back on the defensive and hesitation in the ranks almost gave Fell another chance. Thankfully, Hart was alert and came out to clear the danger.

A stonking challenge from Fotheringham at least got the pulses up,  certainly annoying Robertson who slid into a retaliatory tackle seconds later and could have no arguments about the yellow card he received.

Right on the break, Allan unleashed a howitzer from distance which smacked off Hart’s post and bounced to safety. The effort bookmarked the opening 45 quite nicely, with the home side starting and finishing the stronger.

Half time

Stirling Albion 1 Queen’s Park 0

Gus made a change at the break, replacing Summers – who had taken a knock late on in the first period – with Ali Miller.

We did start with more intent in the second half, but Mortimer took things a bit too far for the liking of referee Lloyd Wilson and earned a yellow card after just a couple of minutes for a nothing challenge on McGeachie.

The Spiders continued to press and earned a corner when Roberts’ shot was deflected wide. This time, it was our delivery into the box that caused problems in the home ranks, but Wilson relieved the pressure by blowing for one of those fouls straight from the manual of the Goalkeepers’ Protection Society.

Gus made another change after 51 minutes, replacing Osadolor with Scott McLean.

Gibson became the third player booked soon after that when he was late with a sliding tackle on Jardine.

On the hour mark, Fotheringham forced Ferrie into action with a shot from distance … our first meaningful attempt on target in the match.

As the game wore on, neither side managed to fashion a clear chance. The closest Queen’s came was when Peters led a charge on the counter, but just as hopes were raised, his attempted cross was cut out. It was the last action Josh saw of the afternoon as he was replaced by Euan East.

Going into the final 10 minutes, a bad afternoon became a horrible one. Foy tried to clear a ball at full stretch and the moment he made contact, you could see something was amiss. Gibson was the first player on the scene and immediately signalled for the stretcher. The youngster was treated on the park for around five minutes before being carted off in some distress.

The injury meant Queen’s had to play out the game a man short, but it could have been 10-a-side in the extended period of injury time when Marr took Mortimer out with an elbow in an aerial challenge. However, Wilson decided yellow was the appropriate colour for the card.

It was the last moment of a bad day at the office for the Spiders. It possibly felt even worse after the highs of our cup heroics, and the last thing Gus and his backroom team need just now is more injury woes. We can but hope Cammy Foy is not as badly hurt as first appeared. He certainly deserves a bit of good fortune for a change.

Keep the Faith!