The early stages of the match were hardly explosive at a freezing Hampden, Roberston's cross-cum-shot floated a yard wide early on for United and at the other end Paul Ronald's towering header cleared the bar by at least five, he should have done better.
After 12 minutes, debutant Cowie made a good stop to keep the scores blank. Roberston was sent through by Keenan's through pass, and his powerful drive was knocked away by the legs of Cowie, who stood tall at his near post. Alec Williams then saw his close range flash wide of Cowie's goal, before Williams and Cowie clashed in the games first flashpoint.
Cowie gathered the ball from Keenan's poor long ball and after Zander had rolled the ball out to full back Martin Ure, Williams raised his studs and clattered into Cowie's standing leg. Queen's players and fans were furious, he didnt even get a booking. Referee Murray had somehow ruled it as an accident, a disgraceful decision which set the tone for a refeering performance of dire ineptitude.
Queen's nearly took the lead in first half stoppage time. Ronald's through pass sent in Canning whose drive was 14 yards was well saved, low to his right, by veteran Ayr keeper Mark McGeown. Queen's fans were growing incensed at the amount of time added on by Murray, and after 5 minutes of stoppage time, which came from nowhere, Ayr were ahead. A contentious free kick was awarded for a "foul" by Agostini on Williams, and David Lowing smashed it high into the net with Cowie helpless, to make matters worse, Williams was clearly impeding Cowie in an offisde position. Take your pick of why this one shouldn't have stood. Another two minutes later, and the ref blew for half time, to the boos of the Queen's faithful.
Queen's started the second half with purpose that had been missing in the opening 45 minutes. Dunlop combined with Ferry whose cross was almost headed home by Tony Quinn, McGeown holding his effort well. Stephen Canning then headed Paul Cairney's cross narrowly over, as Queen's searched for a leveller. Dunn replaced Quinn soon after and Queen's were quickly seeing more creativity in the final third. Cowie though, had to make two smart stops from Robertson and Ryan Stevenson. Ure pulled a hamstring soon after this, and was replaced by Shaun Molloy.
76 minutes had passed, and Spiders were level from nowhere. The Ferry corner paid off for once, Cairney's low ball, Dunlop's well hidden "tackle" on the Ayr defender looking to intercept and Ferry's wicked low drive which passed through a ruck of bodies in the six yard area. Ayr were down to ten men on 81 minutes, when Lowing crocked Kettlewell with a sloppy tackle on the halfway line, video evidence later proved this one was harsh, but considering Williams had somehow stayed on the park earlier on, some would say justice was done.
A melee ensued in the centre of the park after Williams had made some choice words towards the writhing Kettlewell. Cowie rushed from his goal to confront him, and both were booked for sparking the handbags on the centre circle. Queen's almost stole it in injury time, Paul Ronald's chip from twelve yards headed off the line by Keenan.
QUEEN'S PARK: Zander Cowie, Martin Ure (Shaun Molloy), Mick Dunlop, Richard Sinclair, Damiano Agostini (Stephen Reilly), Tony Quinn (Robert Dunn), Stuart Kettlewell, Paul Cairney, Paul Ronald, Stephen Canning, Mark Ferry
SUBS NOT USED: Alan Harty, Mark Cairns (gk)
GOALSCORER: Mark Ferry (76)
BOOKED: Paul Cairney, Paul Ronald, Richard Sinclair, Zander Cowie
REFEREE: Callum Murray
MAN OF THE MATCH: Mark Ferry