Queen’s suffered a third successive defeat when they went down 4-2 in a bad-tempered encounter at the Excelsior Stadium. And what will drive Gaffer Gus MacPherson mad is the fact that the wounds were very much self-inflicted.
Once again, we gave away early goals in both halves, and throughout the entire afternoon, we struggled to deal with the power of the Airdrie strikeforce.
Gus kept faith with the same XI who had played well for large spells in the loss to Ayr last weekend, but this was a very different performance.
The warning signs were there as early as the fifth minute when Furtado turned a hopeful punt into a corner by harassing the Spiders’ back line. Those signs were ignored and we paid a heavy price two minutes later. Furtado and Stewart exchanged passes down the left and the final ball left Stewart with a fairly straightforward finish to put the home side 1-0 ahead.
Full credit to the players for the way they responded and they soon got their reward. With 12 minutes on the clock, Summers romped down the left and drove in a vicious cross that was turned in at a crowded near post by Dominic Docherty.
The ink wasn’t even dry on the notepad when Airdrie stormed up the field and it took a wonder save from Willie Muir to deny Furtado.
The home side kept the pressure up and Fry should have done better after being played in by Stewart. Thankfully, he sliced his shot wide.
The midway point in the half arrived with a by now familiar piece of action – Furtado using his strength to get another effort away, but Muir was equal to the task.
There had already been a few strong challenges, some of them the wrong side of legal, with Docherty and Ciaran Summers on the receiving end. The midfielder needed treatment after another tackle that looked distinctly late, even though referee Graham saw nothing amiss.
Brady carved out an opening when tempers calmed down, but Summers final cross was cleared with Donnelly poised to pounce. David Galt and Docherty combined nicely on the half-hour mark but the move ran out of steam just as it began to look really promising.
Jack Iredale produced a stonking challenge moments later that sent Stewart spiralling into the air – and incensed the home support. The Airdrie forward recovered quickly enough to put in a sliding challenge of his own as Adam Cummins cleared.
It was only a matter of time before somebody went into the book – and Iredale was that person as the half entered its closing stages. His tackle was certainly robust, but it clearly took the ball long before any contact was made with his opponent. Graham saw it differently, however, and awarded a foul. He then booked the angry Iredale, but whether that was for the tackle or the reaction, was not immediately obvious.
Tempers were now distinctly frayed and it was a welcome surprise when the half ended with no further entries in the referee’s notebook.
Half time: Airdrie 1 Queen’s Park 1
The second period got off to a bad start for Queen’s when the promising Summers had to hobble off injured. He was replaced by Sean Burns.
That was bad, what followed in the 49th minute was awful. Queen’s were on the attack and won a corner, but when that was cleared, the Airdrie players sprang forward, while we seemed frozen to the spot. The home side found themselves with four attackers against one defender and the outcome was no surprise. Furtado played the ball into Hastie, and while his shot hit the post, the rebound fell kindly for Cairns, and he buried it past Muir to make the score 2-1.
Queen’s tried to respond as they had in the first period, and actually enjoyed possibly their best spell of the game. Burns went close with a long-range effort, before winning a corner which ended with a “Goalkeepers’ Protection Society” foul being awarded as Brady swung the ball in.
Gregor Fotheringham shot narrowly wide as another corner was cleared out to him, then Burns had a couple of long-range efforts saved by Ferguson.
Gus brought on Thomas Orr for Michael Bailey just after the hour as Queen’s continued to look for the equaliser. But two defensive howlers from the Spiders in as many minutes ended the game as a contest.
The first came in 68 minutes when a simple hoof up the park somehow found its way to Stewart who scored with ease. And if that wasn’t bad enough, we then allowed Furtado to bully his way past Iredale and slot the ball home to make it 4-1.
In between those goals, Cummins and Furtado both went in the book as Graham struggled to keep control of proceedings.
Adding insult to injury, Iredale was hurt in the lead-up to the goal and was replaced soon after by Scott Gibson.
Queen’s did pull another goal back after 80 minutes when Docherty pounced on a defensive error in the Airdrie ranks and blasted the ball past Ferguson from a difficult angle.
The midfielder almost got a third near the end when Queen’s broke on the right and Dom got his head to Ross Millen’s cross. Sadly, his effort flew straight into the arms of the home keeper so even that consolation prize was denied us.
As full time loomed, tensions boiled over. Millen was booked for a challenge on Furtado and then Docherty tried to retrieve the ball quickly from the home dugout. When he was blocked by Marc Fitzpatrick, he pushed the Airdrie man out of the way. That sparked a handbags altercation with players, officials, and stewards all involved.
When the dust settled, Graham booked Docherty, then followed that up with a chat with his linesman and a caution for Brady. Fitzpatrick was dispatched to the stand.
Thankfully, the whistle sounded soon after to bring a painful afternoon to a close.
This was a sore one to take, but we’ve now got a couple of weeks to regroup before our next outing … against Forfar at HQ, for what is already looking like a fairly significant match for both teams.
Gulliver won’t be at that one as he and Mrs G are off on their travels to celebrate a Big Birthday for the good lady. But while your scribe’s body might be in Trumpland, his heart and his thoughts will be very much at Hampden looking for the result that might kickstart our season.
Keep the Faith!
QP: Willie Muir; Ross Millen, Adam Cummins, Jack Iredale, Ciaran Summers; Gregor Fotheringham, Michael Bailey, Dominic Docherty, David Galt, Anton Brady and Luke Donnelly. Subs: Thomas Orr, Chris Duff, Kevin Green, Scott Gibson, Sean Burns, Conor McVey and Michael White.