A lot can happen in a short space of time in football nowadays and that had certainly been the case as Queen’s made the short journey to Hamilton to face our Premiership opponents in the first of four Betfred Cup Group F matches. Ten weeks to the day from our last competitive match, the Queen’s side that started at the Foys Stadium against Hamilton was almost unrecognisable to that which had faced Peterhead at Hampden in early May. In fact, no fewer than 18 players departed the club in that period with Mark Roberts’ summer rebuild having saw nine, in some cases, new faces sign on the dotted line at Lesser Hampden.
With such a big turnaround in personnel, those in attendance were keen to see just how Roberts’ would set his side up and it wouldn’t have come as much of a surprise to see seven of those new signings in the starting XI, six making their Spiders debut and Willie Muir in the Spiders goal making his ‘third debut’ for Queen’s.
It was Queen’s who got the proceedings underway and it took just two minutes for the Spiders to win the first corner of the match, unfortunately Cammy Clark’s delivery was comfortably claimed by Fon Williams in the Accies goal.
The opening ten minutes proved to be a somewhat scrappy affair with neither side taking the game by the scruff of the neck and neither keeper being tested. There was a short break to allow Accies defender Ciaran McKenna treatment to an injury but play quickly resumed and McKenna was able to continue.
The first real chance of the match fell the way of the Spiders with 14 minutes on the clock as a mix up in the Accies defence allowed Kouider-Aissa a one on one chance with Fon Williams. The big striker controlled, before taking it round the keeper, giving himself a tighter angle to get the shot away from and crucially, allowing the Accies backline to cover their keeper as Easton blocked the shot on goal.
Just a couple of minutes later at the other end of the park Accies won their first corner of the match but Willie Muir commanded his box well and punched the cross well clear of danger.
The half hour mark passed with our hosts having somewhat surprisingly, failed to register a shot on target.
Queen’s were growing in confidence and at times the one and two touch passing from back to front was a joy to watch with Mortimer seeing his dangerous delivery into the Accies box cleared by McKenna after some nice play in the build up involving Tommy Block and Jack Purdue.
The closing stages of the first half saw Easton fire well wide with a 25 yard effort for the home side and then Block pick up the first booking of the game after a foul on Scott McMann but there was nothing separating the sides as referee Nick Walsh called time on the first half.
Half time: Hamilton Academical 0 Queen’s Park 0
With no changes for either team at the break it was the home who got the second half proceedings underway.
It took Accies just a couple of minutes to win the first corner of the second as the energetic Block headed clear the danger from MacKinnon’s delivery in the build-up. Hunt delivered the corner which was met by McKenna but he failed to direct his effort on target.
Just a minute later at the other end of the park Accies had Gogic to thank for a timely intervention as he managed to get a foot on the ball and stop what looked to have been a great ball from Little down the middle, reaching the Spiders frontmen.
With 55 minutes on the clock David Galt picked up booking for a deliberate foul on MacKinnon, hauling the midfielder back after he had got the better of him just inside the Accies half.
A minute later Accies made their first, and the game’s first, substitution as Johnny Hunt was replaced by Aaron McGowan.
As the half hour mark approached, the Spiders continued to enjoy a fair share of the possession, looking comfortable knocking it about from middle to front, but creating nothing that called Fon Williams into action.
Accies first real chance of the second half came just before the hour mark as Oakley, under pressure, headed narrowly off target having got on the end of McMann’s corner.
The home side made their second substitution of the match just after the hour mark as Marios Ogkmpoe replaced Steve Davies, shorty followed by Queen’s first substitution which saw Salim Kouider-Aissa depart to be replaced by Kieran Moore. Salim left the field to the applause of the traveling Spiders fans having put in a very good debut performance.
Both teams could see the game was there for the taking and Accies had McKenna to thank for being in the right place at the right time to block Galt’s effort after a delightful ball over the top from Little had sent Galt racing in on goal.
With 70 minutes on the clock the home side made their third and final substitution of the game as Mikel Miller replaced Brian Easton, followed seven minutes later by a Spiders substitution which saw Alfredo Agyeman come on to make his debut at the expense of Jack Purdue. Like Salim before him, Jack left to the applause of the travelling support having put in an impressive shift.
Mortimer picked up a booking in the 80th minute after a silly foul on Ogkmpoe. Just one minute later Muir was finally tested properly by the home side as he was forced into a one handed save from an Alston set piece. From the resulting corner the keeper was again on hand to punch clear.
James Grant replaced Billy Mortimer with five minutes to go and from there it was Queen’s who finished the game the stronger of the two sides. The Spiders won a couple of corners in the closing minutes, one of which Jamieson headed over from but the 90 minutes was to end with both sides taking a point apiece and the match going to a penalty shoot out for a bonus point.
Full time: Hamilton Academical 0 Queen’s Park 0
HAM Oakley scored (1-0)
QUE Galt scored (1-1)
HAM Alston missed (1-1)
QUE Clark scored (1-2)
HAM McGowan scored (2-2)
QUE Moore scored (2-3)
HAM Ogkmpoe scored (3-3)
QUE McGrory missed (3-3)
HAM McKenna scored (4-3)
QUE Grant scored (4-4)
HAM McMann scored (5-4)
QUE Agyeman missed but Fon Williams booked for being off his line. Agyeman then scored the retake (5-5)
HAM MacKinnon missed (5-5)
QUE Block scored (5-6)
Penalties: Queen’s Park won 6-5
Hamilton Academical: Owain Fon Williams, Scott McMann, Ciaran McKenna, Johnny Hunt (55’ Aaron McGowan), Steve Davies (64’ Marios Ogkmpoe), George Oakley, Blair Alston, Alex Gogic, Ronan Hughes, Darian MacKinnon, Brian Easton (69’ Mikael Miller).
Unused substitutes: Kyle Gourlay, Marjus Fjortoft, Lewis Smith, Jack Breen.
Queen’s Park: Willie Muir, Billy Mortimer (85’ James Grant), Cammy Clark, Creag Little, Nicky Jamieson, Lewis Magee, Calvin McGrory, Tommy Block, Salim Kouider-Aissa (64’ Kieran Moore), David Galt, Jack Purdue (77’ Alfie Agyeman).
Unused substitutes: Kieran McDougall, Luke Main, Adam Martin.
Referee: Nick Walsh.