Another massive win for Queens with another late winner in a tight match. This is getting to be a habit!
With John Connolly away on business this week, Ian Scott took charge of the team in rainy Cowdenbeath. To nobody's huge surprise, it was same again to the starting eleven which beat Stenhousemuir last week which meant that Peter Weatherson had to content himself with a place on the bench again. The rest of the substitutes was the same as last week as well.
Played in teeming rain throughout, this was never a classic, nor a day for great football. It was a day for hard work and grinding out a result. Indeed, for much of the day it seemed that Cowdenbeath's good record against us would continue and they can consider themselves a little unfortunate to lose the game. The first half chance came after just five minutes when a Gordon Connelly free kick from the left touchline curled just past the top right corner. Whether it was intended as a cross was not clear but it certainly had O'Connor in the Cowden goal scrambling. However, straight up the other end and the "Blue Brazil" seemed to have a decent penalty appeal rejected after a challenge by, I think, Jim Thomson. On the quarter hour mark, a good move down our right side saw John O'Neill's cross narrowly elude George O'Boyle's diving header with the goal gaping.
In 18 minutes we were very fortunate not to be behind after a mistake by Graham Connell let Craig Winter strike a great shot from the edge of the box which beat Colin Scott but cracked off the bar. The rebound was scrambled clear by Jim Thomson as Craig Young tried to capitalise. Back at the other end after 21 minutes though and Alan Gray's cross was met on the volley six yards out by Graham Connell bursting into the box but his effort screwed wide of the right post with the goal gaping. The breakthrough came in the 29th minute. Alan Gray gained possession in the middle of the park and exchanged passes with Connelly before curling in an excellent cross. George O'Boyle met it with a powerful header and, despite O'Connor getting a full hand to it, the ball found it's way into the bottom left corner of the net.
Cowdenbeath almost found their way back into the game from a poor Scott goal kick in the 36th minute when Derek Anderson found himself trying to defend against three breaking attackers. Fortunately the move ended with a looping header over the top. The equaliser was not long delayed though and arrived after 40 minutes. A dangerous ball was played towards our six yard box and, as the striker tried to turn it towards goal, Derek Anderson slid in with a challenge. He might have got the ball but it was a dangerous challenge to make and, after just a second's hesitation, referee Doug Somers awarded the penalty kick. Centre back David White strode forward and lashed the kick into the top left corner past Scott to make it 1-1. Straight up the other end, Graham Connell stung the keeper's hands with a powerful thirty yard drive but the teams went in at half time level.
In the first minute of the second half, O'Neill created a good chance for O'Boyle but the striker failed to make good connection on his shot, spinning in the six yard box, and a combination of goalkeeper and defender managed to scramble the ball clear from the line. Ten minutes later, Graham Connell became the first name in the referee's book for a late challenge in the middle of the park. The resulting free kick was driven in and deflected just past the left post with Scott utterly stranded at the other. In the 65th minute Peter Weatherson replaced John O'Neill as O'Boyle's partner. Straight away Queens won a corner and Atkinson's kick was headed narrowly over by Andy Aitken. With ten minutes remaining, Weatherson set off on a forward run which ended when David White fouled him rather cynically. He was the last defender but was well out and Peter was heading wide so a yellow card was probably the correct decision. Paddy Atkinson's twice taken free kick from 25 yards was bent wide of the right post. Perhaps he should ask Jamie McAllister for lessons! Ian Scott then made his second change, bringing on Allan Moore in place of Barry Donald.
The match seemed to be winding down to a draw when suddenly Queens struck a winner out of absolutely nothing. It was all down to the magic of that man, George O'Boyle. He gained possession over towards the right touchline, halfway inside the Cowdenbeath half. Skipping a couple of challenges, he made his way to the middle of the park about twenty yards out and then, just as we all expected a ball out to the left, suddenly turned and curled a shot into the top left corner of the net. On a horrible day, in was a goal fit to win any match. There was just about enough time for Derek Allan to replace the double goalscorer before Mr Somers blew for time.
This was far from a vintage performance by Queens and, as I said above, Cowdenbeath can consider themselves unlucky not to get something out of the game. However, these are the sort of results you have to grind out if you are to make a successful challenge on the division and, with Alloa's game against Clydebank postponed and Stranraer losing two late goals and a point to Berwick Rangers, it was a good day for us. Three late winners and nine points in three games have made the season look a whole lot brighter for us now and the next match against Alloa gives us a chance to really put a gap between ourselves and the chasers.