Queen’s out-muscle Rovers to victory.
A pre-match downpour meant the game started on a slick AstroTurf at Ochilview. Rovers started the brighter side seeing an early effort from Sam Stanton hit the inside of the post, but stay out. Rovers continued to press and some nice work from Connor McBride on the right allowed him to cross but ultimately it evaded everyone and went behind for a goal kick. Next, it was Stanton again probing the Queen’s defence and his run from deep and low shot was well saved by Calum Ferrie in the Queen’s Park goal.
Queen’s started to come into the game and looked dangerous in Rovers’ final third. Connor O’Riordan did well to block from Grant Savoury, and a minute later an equally good block by Ryan Nolan denied the same player. Queen’s should have taken the lead on 22 minutes when 6ft6” Nigerian internationalist, Stephen Eze, rose above everyone from a corner but his header went just wide of Jamie Macdonald’s near post.
The half drifted into a bit of a battle with Scott Brown seeing a long range shot go close before Savoury shot just wide for the home side. On half time, Macdonald produced a great one-handed save to deny Savoury the opener from his net-bound free kick.
Half Time: Queen’s Park 0-0 Raith Rovers
Rovers again started the half well and Kyle Connell had an early shot saved by the goalkeeper. Simon Murray, who was a constant thorn in Nolan’s side, won a corner and Eze headed over when he should have hit the target. Rovers brought on Brad Spencer for McBride but, just three minutes later, Queen’s took the lead. Dom Thomas’ corner was perfectly met by the unmarked Eze and he bulleted the header home. Queen’s Park 1 – 0 Rovers.
Rovers’ frailty from cross balls was exposed again when Lee Kilday was left unmarked at the back post and his header hit the post and out for a goal kick. 70 minutes in and Queen’s were looking the more likely to score rather than Rovers finding an equaliser.
However, Rovers gradually started to retain the ball better and a nice move put in Stanton down the right. His cross-come-shot was close and just eluded in the in-rushing Connell. Ian Murray rolled the dice by putting on Jamie Gullan and Quinn Coulson but they never really had the impact he was hoping for.
The last ten minutes was scrappy: Coulson had a deflected shot go over, Macdonald saved from a Thomas effort, and Savoury had a shot deflected wide. Into injury time Rovers nearly snatched a draw when Quinn Coulson’s header was cleared off the line and O’Riordan’s follow up header came back off the bar.
In the end a good day for a well organised and physical Queen’s Park side. They were strong in defence and their wide players, Savoury and Thomas, looked potent throughout.
Full Time: Queen’s Park 1-0 Raith Rovers
Man of the Match: Stephen Eze
Pictures by Eddie Doig.
Ferrie, Robson, Kilday, Thomson, Kenny, Thomas, Davidson, Savoury, Murray, Boateng, Eze. Subs: Naismith, Longridge, McPake, Moore, Heraghty, Williamson, Bannin, Jarrett, Akrobor-Boateng
McDonald, Dick, Millen, Nolan, Connolly, McBride, O’Riordan, Stanton, Connell, Brown, Easton. Subs: Spencer, Matthews, Gullan, Ngwenya, Thomson, Coulson, Masson
© Eddie Doig
Ian Murray spoke to RaithTV after the Ochilview fixture:
After defeating Cove Rangers at the Balmoral Stadium in the SPFL Trust Trophy last weekend, Raith Rovers are on their travels again this Saturday, when they return to league action against Queen’s Park.
With lesser Hampden still under construction, the game will take place at Ochilview, but The Spiders have acclimatised well to their new surroundings, with only Dundee picking up more home points in the Championship this term.
Despite gaining promotion via the playoffs and trailing Cove Rangers by 28 points last season, Owen Coyle’s men have enjoyed an impressive start to this one, sitting third in the table, just a point behind leaders Partick Thistle.
Queen’s also enjoyed a winning weekend in the cup last Sunday, when they defeated Cliftonville 3-2 at the Solitude ground, thanks to goals from Grant Savoury, Scott Williamson and Dom Thomas.
Rovers do have an excellent recent record against Queen’s Park, although this will be their first meeting since the Glasgow side switched from an amateur club to full time.
Their last meeting was a Scottish Cup tie back in November 2018, when goals from Kevin Nisbet, Liam Buchanan and Nathan Flanagan sealed a comfortable 3-0 win at Hampden, which was their 10th win in a row against The Spiders.
Saturday’s match referee will be Grant Irvine.
Head-to-Head record versus Queen’s Park:
Queen’s Park Wins: 33
Raith Rovers Wins: 49