East Fife 1 - 2 Queen's Park
Despite usually playing with only one forward, Speirs reverted to a 4-4-2 formation for the match against old rivals EF. David Crawford was in goals, the defence consisted of Martin Ure, Barry Douglas, Richard Sinclair and Jamie Brough. In midfield appeared McGrady, Dunlop, John Neill and Paul Harkins while Quinno partnered Adam Coakley up top.
The big spending Fifers, funded by ex Raith Rovers owner Willie Gray, started on top, with one of their expensive summer signings coming close within 60 seconds. Chris Templeman lashing a volley narrowly wide of David Crawford's right hand post. After a bit of East Fife pressure where former Scotland striker Stevie Crawford was denied a clean sight of goal by a last ditch Brough tackle, Queen's had their first chance on seven minutes. Adam Coakley firing high and wide from outside the penalty area. Three minutes later however, Coakley was instrumental in the opener.
Big Quinno won the ball in midfield and played Coakley up the right hand side of the penalty area, his shot/pass from the edge of the six yard box ended up at the back post where it was tapped in by the waiting Ross Dunlop. It was Dunlop's first competitive Queen's goal, which sent the vocal Spiders support into a frenzy. The celebrations were shortlived however, as giant striker Templeman levelled things up on 13 minutes. The wicked gusts of wind aided Dougie Cameron's inswinging corner, and it was headed home at the near post by Templeman, as Stevie Crawford ran across the front of his Queen's namesake. We were level, and this Queen's side faced a real test.
The Fifers had lots of pressure from here on, but very little insiciveness. The Queen's defence were resolute from a number of Fife corners, and David Crawford only had to make one save. From the head of his own defender Jamie Brough, as he diverted a Goran Stanic cross towards his own goal. We won our first corner of the match on 34 minutes, but Martin Ure's delivery was held by ex Stenhousemuir keeper Willie McCulloch. Minutes later however, Queen's netted again, with what proved to be the winner.
Barry Douglas surged up the left hand side before prodding the ball through to Adam Coakley on the edge of the box. He was in acres of space, and switched his feet well before prodding the ball past McCulloch and into the back of the net. It was Adam's first in Queen's colours and one which sparked manic celebrations in the Bayview stand, and on the park. Queen's were this time alert to the dangers which face teams straight after scoring, and managed to hold on till half time, with our lead intact.
The Fifers were first out the blocks again in the second period, and within minutes DC had to make a stunning reflex save to stop Templeman from grabbing his second of the match. Despite Fife dominating things early doors, our first break up the park was almost golden. DC's long punt was flicked on by Ross Dunlop and Adam Coakley's sizzling half volley came back off the bar and was hoofed to safety by Jon Smart. Stevie Crawford, an object of much derision from the Queen's support, missed a great chance soon after and was hooked therafter, for ex Albion Rovers forward Paul McManus.
The pressure from East Fife was constant and the heroic defending caused an injury to captain Sinclair. He limped off to a standing ovation with 20 minutes left, and on came another fans favourite, Big Damiano Agostini, making his first appearance of the season. He fitted perfectly into central defence however, and was at his best within seconds, forcing a throw in with a fantastic lunging tackle on Templeman. Queen's were surviving however, and could have extended their lead on 75 minutes. John Neill's 35 yard free kick forcing a good save from Willie McCulloch. Speirs then used his quota of subs as we looked to grind out the win, replacing goal hero Coakley and Stuart McGrady with Robert Dunn and Ryan Holms.
After a gutwrenching spell of ping pong in the Queen's box, we broke free once more and Ryan Holms had the simplest of one-on-ones to convert, and to finish the game off. He somehow looped the ball over the bar however, and the nerves were still unbelievable. We did somehow hold out however, thanks to some heroic defending and a number of saves from Crawford, for a fantastic battling win.
QUEEN'S PARK: David Crawford, Martin Ure, Barry Douglas, Richard Sinclair (Damiano Agostini), Jamie Brough, Paul Harkins, Stuart McGrady (Robert Dunn), John Neill, Adam Coakley (Ryan Holms), Tony Quinn, Ross Dunlop
SUBS NOT USED: Zander Cowie (gk), David Murray
GOALSCORER(S): Ross Dunlop (10), Adam Coakley (38)
REFEREE: Mike McCurry
MAN OF THE MATCH: John Neill