Queen of the South 1 Queen’s Park 2
Anybody who has followed football for longer than 10 minutes will know the ability the game has for kicking you in the unmentionables. Just when you think things are going your way, the football Gods wreak their revenge and bring you crashing down to earth.
But occasionally, just occasionally, the Gods smile on you … and when they do, there’s nothing quite like it.
In the great scheme of things, Queen’s Park beating Queen of the South in a Scottish Cup tie might not register too highly on the Richter scale of news.
But try telling that to the players wearing the famous Hooped jerseys as they celebrated at the final whistle today.
Try telling that to the band of supporters who had travelled down from Glasgow hoping for the best but fearing the worst.
Try telling that to coach Mark Roberts who told QPTV that he had “a wee feeling” something good would happen today … and had the look of a man determined to enjoy the occasion in the full knowledge that there would be moments ahead when the shoe would be very much on the other foot.
This afternoon’s result should serve as a warning to all those tempted to bung their mortgage on a “sure thing”. The Spiders went into the game on the back of a dismal defeat at Cowdenbeath. Our hosts were two leagues above us and had already beaten Ayr and Dundee United at their Palmerston home.
In spite of the odds, it was the Spiders who settled better and had the first sniff at goal after two minutes when a Mortimer cross was met by the head of Lidouren, but his effort failed to trouble McCrorie in the home goal.
Perhaps stung into action, the home side tried to exert some pressure on the upstart visitors and two crosses in quick succession flew across the Spiders’ goal before McCarthy fired over from a decent position.
As the clock approached the quarter hour, the game’s first big moment arrived. Salim won a free kick on the left, and then when Le Joff’s delivery arced into the box, the striker reacted first to glance a header into the net and send the visiting support into raptures.
The home side tried to react immediately, and when Oliver beat the offside trap (at least according to the officials) Muir had to be at his very best to palm away the shot and keep our lead intact.
Although your scribe would never criticise any official, referee Dickinson was not topping any popularity poll with the visiting support as he awarded the home side a series of what are often described as soft fouls. Thankfully Muir and co were alert and dealt with all that was thrown at them.
For their part, Queen’s looked menacing on the break, and were desperately unlucky not to double their lead at the halfway point in the opening period. Great play by Galt gave Salim the chance for another header in the box, and although he again beat McCrorie, his effort rebounded off the inside of the post into the keeper’s arms.
At this point, those knowledgeable followers of the Spiders hung their heads in expectation that the equaliser would appear. They didn’t have long to wait for the next goal, but it came for the Spiders. And a thing of beauty it was to behold.
Lidouren wriggled into space, fired a ball over to Summers and the full back laid the ball on a plate for Salim to fire home. Thirty minutes gone and the Spiders had a two-goal lead.
The home side promptly made their first change of the afternoon, bringing on Paton for Lyon, who looked none too chuffed at his early departure.
The change did spark life into the Championship side, and the prolific Dobbie began to look a real threat for a spell. Block went into the book for a challenge as he tried to nip danger in the bud.
However, the Spiders defence coped admirably with everything that was thrown at them, and on any occasion that the home strikers did get a sight of goal, they found Muir in one of those “thou shall not pass” moods.
Right on the interval, all the good work was almost undone as a corner was swung in from the right. Paton got his head to the ball, but as it headed for the far corner, Mortimer hooked it off the line, and Muir then dealt comfortably with the follow-up shot.
Queen of the South 0 Queen’s Park 2
The talk among the visiting support at the interval was whether we could withstand the expected onslaught as the Championship side flew out of the blocks at us.
The reality was that while the Dumfries Queen’s did monopolise possession for large chunks of the second period, the Glasgow Queen’s seldom looked like being in the mood to surrender their advantage.
The offside flag did come to our rescue in one early break, but we continued to look reasonably composed at the back, and good enough going forward to trouble our opponents when we had the chance.
Ten minutes in, one promising break was halted by Kidd, who could have no arguments about the yellow card he received for chopping Galt.
Then, just after the hour, Summers delivered a gem of a ball for Salim to run onto. The striker composed himself and tried to lob McCrorie, but the keeper stretched just enough to grab the ball and prevent the scoreline looking even worse for his side.
Dickinson continued to incur the wrath of the visiting support; firstly by booking Salim for a nothing challenge – and then awarding the home side a series of fouls in threatening positions.
Thankfully, the heads of Little, Clark and Jamieson continued to prove an insurmountable obstacle to any balls flung into our area, while Muir remained defiant on any occasions when he was called into action.
As the 90 minute-mark approached, Main went into the book for a foul on Mercer as he tried to lead the counter. The ball was swung in, and just for once, the QP defence didn’t deal with it properly. The ball fell to Murray and he fired it home from the edge of the box.
A frustrated Muir kicked the ball away in disappointment at losing the clean sheet so late on … and naturally incurred a yellow card from Dickinson.
The message from the QP dug-out, and the more senior players on the park, was to “keep calm”, and that they did for the seconds remaining before Dickinson’s whistle sounded to signal a memorable victory.
Mark Roberts and his coaching staff had every reason to look delighted at the final whistle, as did the players, who dragged their weary bodies over to the side of the park to acknowledge the support received from the terracings – and join the celebrations with them.
Make no mistake, this was a big win, and after the tumultuous events off the field this season, it’s good to know that Queen’s will pick up a couple of column inches tomorrow morning for their footballing abilities.
It’s one of those classic situations, that had we lost today, it would have been good to get the distraction of a cup competition out of the way to allow us to concentrate on the league. As it is, because we won, this cup result will lift the whole club and give us something to look forward to in tomorrow’s draw.
Perhaps the Gaffer summed it up best when he said the boys would enjoy this one for a couple of days, but come Tuesday, it will be time to focus on our next league encounter … the small matter of recording a first victory over high-flying Edinburgh City.
Keep the Faith.
Queen’s Park: Willie Muir, Billy Mortimer, Ciaran Summers, Tommy Block, Nicky Jamieson, Creag Little, Cameron Clark, Luke Main, Salim Kouider-Aissa, David Galt, Joffrey Lidouren. Subs: Jacques Herraghty, James Grant, Kieran Moore, Reagan Thomson, Cameron Foy, Jack Purdue, Scott Gibson.