Queen's Park 1 - 0 Alloa Athletic
Boss Speirs made a couple of changes from the side which picked up a battling point at Gayfield last weekend. Forward David Murray was unavailable and replaced by 18 year old Ian Watt, and Ryan Holms was dropped from the 16 altogether, in favour of Harkins. There was also a place on the bench for the first time for another summer signing, Tony McGrogan, who was brought in from St Patrick's FP's.
The game hardly sprung into the life, and only a crunching challenge by Queen's defender Ricky Little sprung the game into action. Little was rightly booked by referee Euan Norris. Alloa created the game's first chance on 9 minutes, Jamie Stevenson's cross was headed towards goal by Chris Townsley, but keeper DC produced the simple catch.
We looked decent with the ball, but the touch in the final third was deserting us and Alloa were the more threating up front. Agostini had to make a great challenge on 16 minutes to stop Scott breaking up the wing, and they also had a free kick on the edge of the box following a foul by Agostini, but the delivery into the box left a lot to be desired from a Wasps standpoint. Our best opportunity came on 27 minutes, when Harkins sprayed in Watt with a through ball, but Watt's lack of stature cost him as he was brushed off the ball easily by Townsley. On 33 minutes, Alloa got a free kick on the edge of the penalty are after a lunge by Brough which saw him booked, but Alloa's Jamie Stevenson saw his free kick easily handled by DC.
Watt broke up the left wing as Queen's counter attacked, but he hit his cross into the box a fraction too early, and didn't give strike partner Tony Quinn enough time to get his large frame into the penalty area. After a poor, poor first half, the referee blew his whistle on first half proceedings with the scores blank.
The first action of the half saw John Neill booked for a tug on the jersey of Alloa's Stevenson as he threatened to break over the half way line with the ball. This triggered Alloa into life, and their best chance of the afternoon came moments later. Campbell let rip with a thunderous 25 yard volley, but DC made a stunning fingertips save to put it to safety. We didn't heed the lessons of Alloa's shooting ability and gave Brown Ferguson too much space 30 yards out. He cannoned a shot towards the top corner and Crawford appeared from nowehere to tip it onto the crossbar. DC had no right to save it, but he did, and he was looking every inch the top quality keeper who left for Dumbarton last year.
Alloa were well on top now and cross after cross threatened to bring a goal, but the defence stood resolute, and with the introduction of Tony McGrogan for Ian Watt, were now looking threatening ourselves. John Neill had our first shot (!!) of the afternoon on the hour firing over with his left foot after dancing past two Alloa defenders on the edge of the area. Tony Quinn then fired just wide after a mazy run from the left wing. We were getting closer, and we nicked a goal on 75 minutes. Paul Harkins picked the ball up in his own half and embarked on a great run, he skipped past a number of players before a great give and go with McGrogan. He eventually found himself in space 16 yards out, and curled a shot past Jellema in the Wasps goal with his favoured left foot. A great strike from the midfielder, and one which gave Queen's real hope of our first Hampden three points of the season.
We were now on top, but Alloa's replacement of Grant with McKeown appeared to swing the momentum their way once more. Moments after, Alloa looked as if they would finally net. Stevenson was one on one with Crawford but he produced a great stop with this right foot and the danger was averted. Alloa had one more chance, as McKeown fired wide from ten yards, but Queen's held on to pick up a great, if very lucky, three points.
QUEEN'S PARK: David Crawford, Ricky Little, Barry Douglas, Damiano Agostini, Jamie Brough, Paul Harkins, Ian Watt (Tony McGrogan), Paul Cairney, Tony Quinn, John Neill, Ross Dunlop
SUBS NOT USED: Adam Coakley, Andy Boslem, Paul Ronald, Zander Cowie (gk)
GOALSCORER: Paul Harkins (75)
BOOKED: Ricky Little, Jamie Brough, John Neill
REFEREE: Euan Norris