A pulsating second half display turned a potential defeat into a roaring 2-1 success as Queen’s Park saw off Inverness Caledonian Thistle at Ochilview to move back into the top four in the Championship.
Despite the Spiders playing well in the first half the visitors led through a Billy McKay goal however wave after wave of attack in the second 45 minutes was rewarded with goals from comeback man Charlie Fox and skipper Simon Murray.
There were three changes to the team that faced Cove eight days ago with Jake Davidson and Fox coming in for Alex Bannon and Stephen Eze with the free from suspension Dom Thomas replacing Grant Savoury as the Spiders chased their first league success over the Highlanders in close to 28 years.
After a minutes silence was held to mark Remembrance Day the game got off to a controversial start when Thomas looked to be pulled back in the Inverness box with just 30 seconds played however referee Scott Lambie waved away strong penalty appeals.
On five minutes it looked like Queen’s were going to take the lead as Thomas slid an inch perfect pass through the Caley defence to release Murray some 30 yards out. The number 23 must have thought he had ended his eight-game wait for a goal as his low shot arrowed towards the net however goalkeeper Cameron Mackay got the faintest fingertip on the ball to turn it round for a corner.
As the hosts continued to press a strong run on the left from Murray ended with a cross that found no takers with a similar effort from Pat Jarrett meeting the same fate shortly afterwards.
Jarrett was crowded out at the edge of the box just as he was about to shoot before
Inverness threatened for the first time on 14 minutes when Sean Welsh reached a corner at the back post with his header deflected wide.
Four minutes later it was 1-0 to Billy Dodds’ side when Welsh chipped a delightful pass into the path of McKay, who held off Fox and let the ball bounce, before crashing a shot past Calum Ferrie.
The goal gave the visitors a shot of confidence however Queen’s looked to hit back quickly with Murray heading a Thomas corner just over before Jack Thomson was denied by Mackay when he tried his luck with a powerful long-distance effort.
Jake Davidson went on one of his trademark surges up the park on 33 minutes with Mackay well-placed to collect the full-back’s parting shot.
Lee Kilday used all his experience to stop George Oakley in his tracks before McKay forced Ferrie to leap to his left and make a diving save with a header from another fine ball from Welsh on 35 minutes
The hosts had one final opportunity to equalise before the half-time whistle when Thomas whipped in a cross however it was an inch out of the reach of Murray.
Being behind at the break must have irked Head Coach Owen Coyle and his players as they came out with a determination to take something from the game.
Within 90 seconds of the restart Murray had nodded a Jarrett cross just off target and on 48 minutes Kilday thought he had grabbed an equaliser when he prodded the ball home from close range after Murray had knocked on a cross only for an offside flag to cut-short the celebrations.
A minute later Mackay had again shown his worth as he stretched to push a Murray drive past however from the resultant corner a leveller was found.
Thomas took the corner on the right and his floated cross to the back post was perfect for the spring-heeled Fox to rise and nod home from six yards out.
It looked like the game had been turned around totally on 51 minutes when Thomas, who was in unstoppable form at this time, reached the touchline and cut the ball back for Josh McPake however the striker’s shot flashed an inch wide.
Murray was then just off target before more trickery from Thomas created danger with a cross that fizzed across the six-yard line.
On 68 minutes Thomas set up Jarrett who fired past Mackay but was denied by the base of a post.
Inverness substitute Steven Boyd pepped them up and his arrival prompted their best spell of the second half with Aaron Doran sending two efforts at Ferrie’s goal without success.
Queen’s were soon back on top and took the lead on 73 minutes when Thomson won possession 30 yards out and slipped a pass wide to Savoury on the left. The substitute skipped past David Carson and sent in a low cross that a gleeful Murray volleyed in from four yards.
Savoury dragged a shot wide as the Black and White Hoops looked to increase their winning margin with Ferrie giving everyone a reminder of how slender the lead was as he stretched high to grab a dangerous Carson cross.
In the final minute Thomson, who was another Queen’s player to put in an outstanding shift, broke clear with only the woodwork denying the midfielder a well-deserved goal.
Queen’s Park: Calum Ferrie, Jake Davidson, Charlie Fox, Lee Kilday, Tommy Robson, Jack Thomson, Malachi Boateng, Dom Thomas Pat Jarrett, Josh McPake (Grant Savoury 70’), Simon Murray) Scott Williamson 83’). Subs not used: Jason Naismith, Louis Longridge, Johnny Kenny, Cameron Bruce Jacques Heraghty (G/k), Lennon Connolly, David Boateng.
Inverness Caledonian Thistle: Cameron MacKay, Wallace Duffy, Cameron Harper, Sean Welsh, David Carson, Billy Mckay, Aaron Doran (Aaron Nicolson 81’), George Oakley (Steven Boyd 65’), Max Ram, Nathan Shaw, Zak Delaney (Lewis Hyde 81’). Subs not used: Mark Ridgers, Matthew Strachan, Calum MacKay.
Referee: Scott Lambie