An own goal from Morgyn Neill was the difference between the sides as Championship leaders Queen’s Park defeated visitors Cove Rangers 1-0.
Head Coach Owen Coyle selected the same starting line-up from last weekend’s draw with Morton for the second trip of the season to Ochilview from the Balmoral Stadium side.
Louis Longridge and Aaron Healy returned to the substitutes’ bench after illness against the Aberdeen side who included former Spiders Jason Naismith and Luis Longridge in their line-up.
Queen’s kicked off and an early run forward from Dom Thomas was ended by a sliding Miko Virtanen with the Cove man picking up a quick-fire booking for his troubles.
With five minutes gone the visitors threatened down the right through Michael O’Halloran with the on-loan St Johnstone striker forcing Calum Ferrie into a save high under his bar.
Queen’s responded with a low shot from Euan Henderson that Scott Fox dived to tip around the post.
Marcel Oakley conceded a foul 22 yards out with 10 minutes played which Longstaff whipped goalward with Ferrie able to watch the striker’s effort clear his bar.
Good combination play from Oakley and Thomas forced a corner with quarter of an hour played with Fox plucking Thomas’ dead ball off Stephen Eze’s head.
Queen’s forced another corner on 23 minutes when a long ball from Henderson looked set to reach Shields until Neill slashed a clearance wide.
Thomas’ first corner-kick was headed behind but from the second Eze sent a powerful header goalward only for Fox to make a fine save with Malachi Boateng firing the rebound over.
Oakley and Thomas exchanged passes again two minutes later with a desperate clearance taking the ball off Connor Shields toes with Eze just failing to connect with the corner this time.
As Queen’s continued to push for the opening goal a lofted pass from Jack Thomson found Shields with the striker sending a shot into the side-netting.
Another attack saw Thomson crash to the ground however referee McLean was not interested in penalty shouts.
With half an hour gone Cove came close to a goal when Longstaff slipped in Leighton McIntosh and Ferrie had to make a smart low stop to keep the ball out of his goal.
Two minutes later a fine flowing passing move for the hosts saw Thomas slip Henderson through and the striker looked to have done everything right as he sent a shot past Fox however the ball came bouncing back off a post.
Cove came close again on 35 minutes McIntosh was only inches out after connecting with a Longstaff cross.
A lightning break from the hosts enabled Henderson to tee up Grant Savoury 25 yards out with Fox doing well to scoop up the attacker’s deflected drive.
Jackson Longridge conceded a corner he knew little about a minute from the break when the ball smacked him in the face and it almost got worse for the Cove man as he headed Thomas’ dead ball against his own post with the visitors eventually clearing.
Shields created a chance early into the restart when he cut in from the left and let fly from 20 yards with Fox untroubled as the ball flashed wide.
On 53 minutes a promising exchange of passes between Henderson and Shields in the Cove box was ended by Naismith.
A minute later the woodwork was hit again and this time it was Cove that were unfortunate as a six yard header from McIntosh came back off the bar.
Thomson limped off on 64 minutes and was replaced by the ‘QP Cafu’ Jake Davidson albeit in a midfield role and the substitute was quickly involved as he accepted a Shields cut back only to send his shot over.
Davidson then set up a chance for Shields with his curling drive deflected wide for another corner with the pair combining again on 72 minutes with Fox required to dive and push the striker’s parting shot out of play.
Shields did well to race back and halt a Cove attack after a Davidson shot was blocked with referee McLean awarding a foul to the visitors despite an earlier indiscretion on the Queen’s man.
Healy was brought on with 13 minutes to go and he made an instant impact as his low cross from the left was met by the outstretched leg of Neill and he sent his clearance past Fox to put the Spiders one up.
Shields robbed Neill on the half-way line with five minutes left and he sent Healy scurrying away on the left however there was no friend or foe on the end of this cross ball.
Savoury had a shot turned over as Coyle’s side looked to secure the win however there was a huge scare at the other end as Anthony Weston’s cross was headed just wide by McIntosh.
Nerves were getting frayed as Cove continued to push deep into injury time however after an extra five minutes had been played the final whistle was sounded.
Queen’s Park: Calum Ferrie, Marcel Oakley, Stephen Eze, Charlie Fox, Tommy Robson, Jack Thomson (Jake Davidson 64’), Malachi Boateng, Dom Thomas (Patrick Jarrett 83′), Grant Savoury, Euan Henderson (Aaron Healy 77’), Connor Shields.
Subs not used: Jacques Heraghty (G/k), Josh McPake, Cameron Bruce, Calum Biggar, Scott Williamson, Lewis Reid.
Cove Rangers: Scott Fox, Jason Naismith, Connor Scully, Morgyn Neill, Michael O’Halloran, Leighton Mcintosh, Miko Virtanen (Anthony Weston 83’), Luis Longstaff (David Bangala 83’), Jackson Longridge, Cieran Dunne (Gime Toure 87’), Mark Reynolds,
Subs not used: Kyle Gourlay, Shalem Logan, Scott Ross, Iain Vigurs, Declan Glass,.
Referee: Steven McLean