Queen's Park 3 - 2 Ross County
As the ball slid about on the soaking Hampden surface it was County who had the first real opportunity. A cross from the right was swung towards the back post and Stewart Petrie nodded the ball on to the roof of the net. It was Spiders who created the next clearcut chance minutes later. Paul Cairney was laid up in the box and he curled the ball just wide of Joe Malin's goal when it looked easier to net. The Staggies came close twice more through Barrowman and Scott but neither could meet crossed balls due to the slippery surface which was making it difficult for the players to control the ball after a day in which it had been teeming it down for hours.
Paul Cairney and Alan Trouten both forced decent saves from the alert Malin within seconds of each other and then it was the energetic Cairney who again came close to netting, but Malin was sharp enough to make another save. Trouten then won a corner after he wriggled through the defence and forced Malin to knock it wide and from the set piece Queen's took the lead, from an unlikely source.
Alan Trouten stepped up and Tony Quinn flicked the ball on to Richard Sinclair at the back post who sidefooted it home on the volley to give Queen's the advantage. There was a scare soon after however, when Alex Keddie got past Sinclair with little effort and forced a close range stop from Mark Cairns. Stephen Canning then came close when he struck from twenty yards but under pressure from Dowie, he couldn't get it on target. County levelled and punished Queen's for the lack of final touch. A long cross from the farside was nodded back across Cairns and off the back post and in by ex St Mirren kid Iain Anderson.
Richard Sinclair found himself bizzarely booked just before the second half, he crunched into a 50/50 with Anderson and won the ball, but Euan Norris dished out a ridiculous booking. The half petered out soon after with neither side really threatening in the final five minutes of the half. After the half time "entertainment" and after I had taken soon gesturing abuse from a large Hippo the second half was ready to begin and it was a fantastic fourty five minutes of football.
County piled on the pressure from the start and a fantastic Sinclair challenge denied Barrowman space to shoot from twenty yards. Tony Quinn took a head knock after winning a header from a corner at the near post and the injury seemed to take its toll on the big midfielder filling in at number nine in the abscence of Paul Ronald. Stevie Canning came close for Queen's but his lack of pace as exposed by Keddie who nicked the ball off him.
The crocked Quinno was replaced by Robert "Dunnsy" Dunn after 67 minutes, and Dunn, made almost instant impact for the Spiders. A wonderful long pass found Trouten in the clear, the energetic Trouts reached the ball and crossed low for Stephen Canning who hammered it high into the net with his left foot to spark bedlam in the Hampden stands and continue his fantastic scoring form. As Ross County piled forward they became exposed at the back and after 86 minutes, Spiders made it 3-1.
A wee pass by Paul Cairney found Mick Dunlop on the far side whose sublime skill beat McCulloch on the far side. Dunlop knocked the ball across the penalty area, Stephen Canning dummied and Robert Dunn sent the ball spinning into the bottom corner with his left foot to spark some more mental celebrations.
A minute later Dick Campbell's outfit got a goal back when Mark McCulloch bundled a set piece home from close range but as County looked for a third Stark brought on McGrady for Canning in injury time to waste some time. Then Paul Cairney won the ball and played in Dunn whose cross was nearly turned home for a Queen's fourth by Kettlewell. Queen's saw the game out with minimal fuss and secured a fantastic home win.
QUEEN'S PARK: Mark Cairns, Paul Paton, Mick Dunlop, Richard Sinclair, Damiano Agostini, Alan Trouten, Stuart Kettlewell, Paul Cairney, Tony Quinn (Robert Dunn), Stephen Canning (Stuart McGrady), Mark Ferry
SUBS NOT USED: Martin Ure, Shaun Molloy, Alex Cowie
GOALSCORERS: Richard Sinclair (14), Stephen Canning (76), Robert Dunn (86)
BOOKED: Paul Paton, Richard Sinclair, Stephen Canning
REFEREE: Euan Norris
MAN OF THE MATCH: Paul Cairney