We’re approaching the two-thirds stage of the season and it’s fair to say things haven’t gone our way so far.
Sitting very much at the wrong end of the table, the time has come for putting points on the board … quickly. So isn’t it typical that after playing top of the table Ayr last week, we have to do it all again today against their nearest challengers, Raith Rovers.
The Ayr game pretty much summed up the way a lot of matches have gone this time round. We dominated possession in the first half, created numerous chances – and went in at the break two goals behind.
Then Ayr bring on a sub in the second half and the lad – who was just about to be sent out on loan – scores a couple of belters. C’est la vie.
Gus had brought in a couple of new faces for the Ayr game – Aidan Keena and Jamie Gullan – and there was another on the bench today, centre half Daniel Nimmo. The 21-year-old has been in the States recently, but his return to Scotland will give the Gaffer a bit more choice at the back as we enter the home straight.
Despite the encouraging aspects of last week’s performance, Gus rang the changes for this afternoon; replacing Scott Gibson, Kevin Green, Billy Mortimer and Luke Donnelly with the fit again Ross Millen and Lewis Magee, while Aidan Keena got a first start for QP up front and Dominic Docherty returned to the starting XI.
It was a newish look to the team and they needed time to settle. They didn’t get much with Raith forcing a corner in the first two minutes. It came to nothing.
They got another corner moments later after a promising Queen’s break petered out. This time White punched the cross well out of the danger area.
Queen’s had their first chance after six minutes when Millen released Keena. Aidan bore down on goal, but was denied by the legs of keeper Lennox. The resultant corner eluded Cummins at the far post … although the fact that Murray had Adam in a virtual headlock made that inevitable.
There wasn’t a lot in it at this stage, but a third Raith corner after 15 minutes changed all that. The ball came off McVey at the near post and fell nicely into the path of Murray who belted it past a helpless White. The task had been difficult at the start; at 1-0 down it was now a lot harder.
Two minutes later and it was virtually game over. Queen’s lost the ball deep in Raith territory, and a quick ball released Furtado who galloped forward before crashing an unstoppable shot into the net from 25 yards.
Queen’s tried to hit back straight away and Galt was oh so close with a long-range effort after Lennox miscued a clearance. Heron managed to get back and save the blushes of his stranded keeper.
When you’re down, the mistakes you make come back to bite you and young Magee won’t want to look back on Raith’s third goal which arrived after 30 minutes. Lewis made a hash of an attempted clearance and Buchanan had a simple task to roll the ball into the net from six yards.
It was bad … and it nearly got worse after 36 minutes when Furtado smacked a shot off the post. It rolled behind White, but ran along the line and out to safety at the other post. It was a stroke of luck, but it was a bit late.
Gus made his first change at this point, replacing Leitch with Jamie Gullan.
No doubt the Gaffer will say the change made the difference, but after 40 minutes, Queen’s got their first goal. Gullan ran forward and fed Docherty, who played in Keena. Aidan shot from out wide and although the effort was deflected, nobody was taking his first goal at Hampden away from him.
It was still bordering on Mission Impossible, but 3-1 sounds a lot better than the 4-0 it could have been a few minutes earlier.
Queen’s Park 1 Raith Rovers 3
Furtado had been a constant threat in the first period and forced White off his line early in the second period to avoid further damage. Then the keeper saved well from Buchanan as Raith tried to really turn the screw inside the opening five minutes.
Cummins had a header just wide from a Galt free kick as Queen’s tried to get a foothold in the game, but it was hard work for the Spiders.
What Furtado was doing for Raith, Keena was trying to replicate for the home side, with an all-action shift that reminded fans of John Carter, to whom he bears more than a passing resemblance.
Aidan won a corner that was cleared before Queen’s came close with a piledriver of a free-kick from Burns. Lennox did well to parry the ball and the rebound was hoiked to safety.
Just after the hour, Queen’s were lucky to escape when White was beaten to the ball outside his box by Buchanan. This time the visitors couldn’t make the most of the chance. The keeper then did brilliantly to tip a cross off the head of Furtado, before diving at the feet of Buchanan to deny the striker a second goal.
Mortimer came on for McVey after 66 minutes, and two minutes later Millen produced a gem of a pass to release Galt. Lennox saved well.
Then it was Raith on the attack again, with a little help from whistler Beaton who penalised Burns for an innocuous challenge and then compounded matters by booking the defender. The free kick was cleared.
Magee was next in the book after he pulled back Furtado. He was soon followed by Millen for a foul on Zanatta.
We were now inside the last 15 minutes, and the hope was we could at worst avoid further punishment. But that was looking a tall order with Beaton awarding a succession of free kicks and Queen’s hanging on a bit.
Ten minutes from the end, Burns engineered a chance for Gullan, but the sub was blocked out before he could get off a shot.
Docherty was replaced by Donnelly and Raith swapped Zanatta for Spence.
A Fotheringham foul on Barr brought the inevitable yellow card from Beaton as the clock reached 83. White produced a miraculous stop as the free kick came in to tip a Buchanan effort wide.
Queen’s were still trying to hit their visitors on the break and Galt almost sent Keena through, but Herron made sure the striker wasn’t getting anywhere.
Barr was then penalised for hauling back Fotheringham, but despite the plaintiff pleas from the home support, there was no card for this offence.
Two minutes from time, Buchanan was replaced by Hendry.
Deep into injury time, Beaton sent Fotheringham packing for a foul on Vaughan to round off a disappointing afternoon.
So it’s another defeat for the Spiders, but with Forfar and Albion both losing as well, there’s no major damage done … and it could have been a lot worse.
Keep the Faith.
Queen’s Park: Michael White; Ross Millen, Sean Burns, Lewis Magee, Adam Cummins, Gregor Fotheringham, Robbie Leitch, Conor McVey, Aidan Keena, Dominic Docherty, David Galt. Subs: Luke Donnelly, Thomas Orr, Ciaran Summers, Jamie Gullan, Daniel Nimmo, William Mortimer, Owen Stott.