Queen’s Park 0 Cowdenbeath 0
Time flies when you’re having fun, so they say, and time is certainly flying by this year. You might not know it, but summer is officially over as this is the first day of the meteorological Autumn.
And considering the adjustments Gus had to make to the squad over the summer, we’ve been having a fair bit of fun on the field.
The Spiders were today going for their third successive home league victory … something they haven’t managed since November and December in 2016. Indeed, if you throw in the penalty kick cup success against Ayr, we could make it four in a row with the right result.
But let’s not get carried away with ourselves, this is Queen’s we’re talking about. Yes, we were very good for the first 50-odd minutes last Saturday, but you only need look back to Annan to confirm that we’re not the finished article yet.
Cowdenbeath have had a mixed start to their season, losing two, winning one – and then having one cancelled because the pitch was too dry – you couldn’t make it up.
Queen’s kept the same starting XI as last week, and came out the traps quickly. Osadolor had the ball in the net with just two minutes on the clock, but sadly, the flag was up and it didn’t count.
Moments later another sweeping move saw Mortimer lay the ball into the path of Hawke, but his sidefooted effort was brilliantly cleared off the line by Marsh.
Cowdenbeath then threatened twice themselves; Scott having a header saved on the line by Hart and then the same player was denied by Jordan again as the offside trap failed to operate properly.
Just after the quarter hour, Mortimer was denied by McGurn after Billy’s pace took him clear.
End to end doesn’t begin to sum this one up, as it could be 3-2 for Queen’s already. Throw in a couple of questionable decisions from veteran referee McKendrick and it was certainly not dull.
Mortimer obviously had the taste for goal after last week, and was desperately unlucky after 20 minutes when another goalbound effort was deflected onto the post and behind for a fruitless corner.
Osadolor earned Queen’s another corner after 23 minutes, but after a spot of aerial ping-pong, Roberts tried a volley that was saved by McGurn.
McKendrick gave the visitors a soft free kick that almost proved very costly when Hart misjudged the flight of the ball and was relieved to see his palmed clearance bounce to safety off the bar.
Incredibly, the clock soon showed 30 minutes, and the only surprise was that the scoreline was still blank.
Queen’s continued to press, with Osadolor and Grant combining to win a corner which Hawke got his head to, but although there was plenty power in the effort, the accuracy wasn’t there and it flew over the top.
Four minutes from the break, McLean did well to win a header and flick the ball on for Hawke, whose powerful long-range effort wasn’t far away.
It was the last meaningful action of a first period that had everything bar goals.
Queen’s Park 0 Cowdenbeath 0
Another sign of the passing seasons came at the start of the second period, when the floodlights were on from the outset (who said the nights were fair drawin in?)
Compared to the first period, the second half was sluggish to start and it was seven minutes before the first clear chance – McLean shooting too close to keeper McGurn from a decent position.
The worrying thing from a QP perspective at this early stage was that Gerry McLauchlan looked to be struggling with an injury and Cammy Foy was sent out for an extended warm-up.
Cowden were first to make a change – after 57 minutes, replacing Marsh and Sheeran with Pyper and Renton.
Renton almost made an immediate impact, but Hart raced from his goal in the nick of time.
The scare was the signal for our change, with Foy coming on for McLauchlan.
On the hour, Mortimer was sent clear by McLean, but Billy was again denied by the legs of McGurn.
Five minutes later, Gus made his second change, introducing Euan East for Hawke.
The visitors threatened when they won a free-kick close to the edge of our box, but Mullen overhit his cross after the first delivery was cleared.
A promising run from McLean was halted illegally by Talbot, but the free-kick was wasted and McLean was then replaced by Martin as Gus made his last roll of the dice.
It was now starting to look like one goal would be enough to win this one.
Fifteen minutes from time, the pace of Mortimer took him clear – again. But McGurn spread himself to deny the striker – again.
Foy got his head to a McKernon corner as we entered the final 10 minutes, but the effort was easy for McGurn.
Mortimer looked to be decked in the box as another Grant cross came in, but despite loud appeals, McKendrick and his linesman saw nothing amiss.
Queen’s were finishing strongly, but this one could still go any one of three ways as the final five approached.
Mullen was booked for taking out Martin with two minutes left on the clock.
As the final whistle approached, McKendrick again took centre stage, grabbing McKernon by the scruff of the neck as Jamie and Cox exchanged pleasantries.
The whistler then signalled time up after adding just a few seconds, prompting one wag in the crowd to suggest he had a hot date and was in a hurry to get home.
The final scoreline remained blank, somehow, and Gus will be happy at another clean sheet. The Gaffer will also be chuffed at the number of chances we created – and distinctly unhappy that we didn’t take any of them.
So the hope of three wins on the bounce has gone, but we are unbeaten at home in the league and now have the wee awayday to look forward to in the cup.
Rumour has it that former Spider and TNS midfielder Johnny Whelan will be in the crowd. It will be good to see him again.
Keep the Faith.
Queen’s Park: Jordan Hart, James Grant, Ciaran Summers, Jamie McKernon, Gerry McLauchlan, Scott Gibson, Kurtis Roberts, Smart Osadolor, Scott McLean, Lewis Hawke, Billy Mortimer. Subs: Gavin Lachlan, Alistair Miller, Adam Martin, Cameron Foy, Brendan Sharpe, Euan East, Dominic McLaren.