Another fine result for John Connolly's side today as they finally broke down a stuffy Queen's Park defence and took three points back to Dumfries, opening the gap between themselves and Stirling Albion (who were running Hibs close in the cup) up a little more. The line-up showed one change from Monday's fateful meeting with Airdrie, new loan signing Stuart King replacing Danny Patterson on the left side of midfield, and what a debut it was to be for the Preston North End youngster. Colin Scott retained the goalkeeper's jersey ahead of David Mathieson.
The Doonhamers went on the attack straight from kick-off and had the ball in the Spiders net inside two minutes. Jon Sunderland crossed from the right and King pressured a defender into heading into his own goal. However, referee Ian Fyfe had spotted the push and awarded the hosts a free-kick instead. In five minutes John O'Neill exchanged passes with Sunderland and struck a shot from the edge of the box which flew narrowly wide of the right post. In the seventeenth minute, a similar move from the other wing saw King exchange passes with Warren Hawke and find himself free on the edge of the penalty area but he shot well wide.
Completely against the run of play, it was the home side who took the lead in the 25th minute. Once again it was Kevin Finlayson who caused all the trouble. The winger tricked his way past Des McKeown rather too easily and crossed to the back post where it was met and buried by the left back, Stephen Canning. However, we bounced back immediately and spurned two great chances to equalise within the next five minutes. First Warren Hawke laid a good ball off to Peter Weatherson who side-stepped a defender but miss-hit his shot well wide and right from about the penalty spot and then Graham Connell collected a Hawke knock down and strode into the area. He beat a defender but got too close to the goalkeeper and could only hit his shot into the keeper's body. The loose ball was hooked clear from the six yard box.
On 42 minutes, Weatherson cut inside from the right touchline and tried to slide a pass to John O'Neill. However, a defender stretched out a leg and the ball looped up and over his own goalkeeper, only to land on the roof of the net. Right on half-time, Queen's Park had their second good chance of the match when Miller beat Des McKeown to the ball and flashed a shot across the face of the goal.
The second half was only three minutes old when Jon Sunderland picked up the game's first booking after a bad challenge on goalscorer Canning and, following another dangerous challenge by him, he was replaced by Steven Pickering in the 55th minute. Within a minute of the substitution, an O'Neill free kick from the left caused confusion in the home penalty area and just missed the far post. A corner was given and O'Neill's cross was headed goalward by Ronnie McQuilter but the keeper gathered the ball comfortably. Just after that Paddy Atkinson became the second name in Mr Fyfe's book for a late tackle.
The equalising goal finally arrived after 67 minutes and it was worth waiting for. Young Stuart King got possession in the middle of the park and advanced towards goal. He beat two Spiders players before playing a one - two with Peter Weatherson. The return ball was perfect for the debutante and he found himself free in front of goal eight yards out. He made no mistake about the finish and placed the ball neatly in the bottom left corner, past the keeper's despairing dive. What a way to mark your debut!
Eight minutes later we took the lead and it was another fine goal. It all came from a Queen's Park foray forward down our right side. Andy Aitken came across and won the ball cleverly before playing a short pass forward to Paddy Atkinson. Atkinson played the ball on to King on halfway and he played it out wide right to the waiting Warren Hawke. Hawke wasted no time and hit a first time cross to the left corner of the penalty box where Peter Weatherson had arrived. "Nelly" controlled the ball beautifully with one touch and turned inside his marker before lashing the ball into the same left corner of the net, a tremendous team goal.
That really killed the Spiders off and they had McFarlane booked in the 80th minute for a late, over the top challenge on Paddy Atkinson. In the 83rd minute, Scott made an easy save from Finlayson's shot and we broke forward. King got the ball on the left side and played a one - two with Weatherson before crossing to the back post where Steven Pickering was unable to reach the ball and it was turned out for a corner. From the resulting corner, John O'Neill's cross was headed just wide by Warren Hawke. With five minutes left John Connolly gave a first team debut to, recent signing from Stranraer, Martin Hughes in place of Peter Weatherson. In injury time, the home side had one final chance to equalise when the ball dropped to McFarlane following a corner. However, his shot was only half hit and easily dealt with by Scott.
Report courtesy of Ewan Lithgow