By The Spider
July 8 2005
Saturday, 7th May, 2005 Cowdenbeath 1 Queen's Park 0 (Bells Scottish League – Third Division) (picture from qpfc.com) At any time during a topsy turvy season QP could have finished anything between 3rd and 8th so 4th is not that bad an outcome
Queen's had their noses in front as they approached the last fence, but they stumbled to allow Cowden to pip them at the post for 3rd place in the League. Had anyone offered the Spiders 4th spot back in August, many fans would have gleefully accepted it so there should be no sense of failure in a season where the "goals for" tally of 51 is the best in over ten seasons, the promotion tally of 54 apart. It is at the back that there is much work needing to be done, and the "goals against" figure of 50 shows that the defence is crying out for a dominating centre half who will provide much needed protection to the skilful players that he will have around him.
The kick off was delayed by 10 minutes, not to allow the big crowd of 346 additional time to get in, but to provide Queen's with extra warm up preparation due to their late arrival because of roadworks on both the Kincardine and Forth Road bridges.
Queen's were facing a stiff breeze in the first half, its ferocity deceptive, but still sufficient to divert a high Tony Quinn goalwards drive 90 degrees to the left to send it out for a throw in.
Cowden took the lead in the 7th minute with a goal of remarkable simplicity. Williams skipped past two half-hearted challenges on the left touchline before cutting the ball back to Marc Millar who took the ball on the run before side-footing it past a startled David Crawford.
A casual back-pass from Paul Harvey put Danny Ferry under pressure, but instead of playing safe the skipper was caught in possession and the ball was quickly played through to Gribben whose powerful shot was deflected over.
Richard Bowers should have equalised a minute later when put clean through, but the youngster delayed his shot far too long and he was blocked out before he could pull the trigger.
Cowden immediately swept back down to the other end, and Buchanan's shot on the turn came back off the post near the junction of the postage stamp corner.
Damiano Agostini has yet to open his account for Queen's, but he came close twice in as many minutes. The first effort was a powerful shot which was deflected for a corner, but his next attempt was not one to be proud of. Some good refereeing saw play brought back for a foul on Alan Trouten after no advantage had accrued, and Paul Harvey saw his direct free kick tipped wide by Carlin. From the resultant corner, the majestically mercurial moody midfield maestro magnificently manouvered his way past two defenders before laying the ball on a silver salver for Big D who somehow contrived to poke the ball wide with the goal at his mercy.
Following some recent ineffectual performances, Alan Trouten was looking much more like the player who rose to prominence in the earlier part of the season, and a typical surging run was abruptly ended by a trip from McHale who was deservedly shown a yellow card.
David Crawford then made two important stops, firstly saving high from Gribben before getting down quickly to keep out Millar's low shot.
There was then some handbags at 10 paces with Damiano Agostini and Frankie Carroll both booked for their part in the scuffle, and yet neither had done anything worse than any home player, all of whom escaped without censure, despite the stand side official clearly having spotted something else untoward; advice which referee Calum Murray inexplicably chose not to follow up.
Queen's best spell came either side of half time, and Mark Ferry executed a good turn in midfield before firing in a decent left foot shot which Carlin dived well to hold. Another low shot, this time from Alan Trouten, was similarly dealt with.
Immediately following the break, and for the 4th game in a row, Mark Ferry fired in a right foot shot from 30 yards out, yet again to be denied by the woodwork as the ball clipped the bar on its way over.
An excellent turn by Richard Bowers gave the youngster room to play in Stuart Kettlewell, but Carlin made the save of the match to divert the midfielder's powerful high shot.
A long clearance gave Gribben a rare opportunity, but a pitifully weak shot was gratefully accepted by David Crawford. Richard Bowers was again found guilty of dwelling on the ball when provided with a clear sight of goal, and his delay allowed his 55th minute shot to be blocked once again. Then when the forward finally did fire one in a minute later, Carlin was well positioned to save.
There was only one team in it now, and further chances fell to Queen's in the closing stages. A Stuart Kettlewell volley was blocked before Tony Quinn blasted a piledriver narrowly wide.
The best chance fell to substitute Ally Graham who couldn't work the loose ball out from under his feet in time, and instead he was forced to prod the ball wide to Mark Ferry whose low shot beat Carlin only to be cleared off the line.
So Cowden managed to cling on for the win which saw them leapfrog Queen's into third place, a meaningless position unless a higher league club goes to the wall in the close season, in which unlikely event the missed chances will come back to haunt the Spiders.
As always at this time of the year, QP fans will be keeping their eyes peeled on the sporting pages of the press for news of any players who may choose to accept the Queen's shilling in return for their services. Amongst those who have done enough to receive offers are David Crawford, Alan Trouten, Paul Harvey, Mark Ferry and Frankie Carroll, but if coach Billy Stark is able to hang on to at least three of them, and Paul Harvey in particular, and add a centre half and a centre forward both with physical presence, then Queen's must be in with a genuine chance of promotion next term as neither Berwick nor Arbroath are likely to dominate to anything like the same extent that Gretna and Peterhead did this season.
See you all again in roughly 10 weeks time!
ENTERTAINMENT VALUE : 3/5
STAR SPIDER(S) : Alan Trouten (looked to have regained his confidence)
QUEEN'S PARK : David Crawford, Alan Trouten, Danny Ferry, Damiano Agostini, Richard Sinclair, Paul Harvey, Stuart Kettlewell (Ally Graham - 77), Tony Quinn, Mark Ferry, Frankie Carroll, Richard Bowers
Subs (not used) : Jonny Whelan (G/K), Ross Graham, Gavin Rushford, David Weatherston
Scorer(s) : none
Booked : Agostini (29 - agressive behaviour), Carroll (29 - agressive behaviour)
COWDENBEATH : Andy Carlin, Iain Mauchlen, Jonathon Bain, Marc Millar, John McKeown, Darren McGregor, Gary Fusco, Paul McHale, Liam Buchanan (John Paul Kelly - 85), Darren Gribben (Ryan McCallum - 68), David Williams
Subs (not used) : Allan Fleming (G/K), Mark McEwen, Daniel Glynn
Scorer(s) : Millar (7)
Booked : McHale (27 - late challenge)
REFEREE : Calum Murray *** (* = inept, ** = poor, *** = mediocre, **** = good, ***** = excellent)