Raith Rovers 2 - 0 Queen's Park
It was Queen's who started the brighter against predicted championship challengers Rovers, with Pul Cairney looking lively in the midfield. It was his defence splitting pass that sent through Ryan Holms early on, but under pressure from Iain Davidson he scooped his shot from twelve yards up and over the bar. A good opportunity, which should have at least forced keeper McGurn to make a save.
Despite the good start it was The Fifers who took the lead, after only eight minutes. Sinclair and Brough were posted missing as Robert Sloan slipped in Kevin Smith, the ex Sunderland kid was in acres of space as our centre half pairing went AWOL, and he smashed the ball past Crawford from twelve yards. Another awful piece of defending had handed the opposition a goal, a pattern becoming all too familiar to the Queen's Park faithful. Inspired by Paul Cairney however, we were back on the attack soon after, but a moment of madness from dynamic midfielder, saw Queen's reduced to ten men on 17 minutes.
After winning a corner off Davidson, Cairney kicked out at the Rovers captain and there was no doubt from referee Craig Charleston who dished out a deserved red card. After Cairney had left the field, Douglas swung the corner in and it was easliy gathered by McGurn. As the chances of gaining anything from our venture to the Kingdom looked dead, Queen's created a chance out of nothing. John Neill played in Adam Coakley, who used his pace to outstrip Raith defender Laurie Ellis. He bore down one-on-one with keeper McGurn and fluffed his shot straight at the keeper. This was the second game in a row where Coakley had missed a golden, early chance, and we can only hope that this won't become a habit.
The half petered out with Queen's seemily concentrating on defending more than going forward, but we did have one more chance before the half was out. Barry Douglas drove his 19 yard free kick straight at McGurn, and the chance was gone. The second period was a poor one from Queen's point of view, where very little was created, and Raith dominated with their incisive passing and the pace of their forwardline.
Graham Weir and Kevin Smith were ripping apart our defence from their centre forward positions, the first chance was created two minutes in, David Crawford making a fine save low to his left as Rovers counter attacked at pace following another poor Queen's Park set piece. Five minutes later however, Rovers did extend their lead to two. Douglas, who had been disappointing at left back, rashly dived into a tackle and was skipped round by the impressive Smith, he drove into the box and cut the ball back to the waiting Walker who fired home from twenty yards. Queen's were under constant pressure for the rest of the match, but the defence who had'nt inspired confidence throughout, started to turn the screw. They were resolute as Raith broke forward, and Graham Weir made a stunning goal line clearance to deny Graham Weir. Ex Spider Mark Ferry forced two top saves from Crawford as Queen's kept the score down.
QP had one chance right at the death, Paul Harkins' low 25 yarder brilliantly saved by keeper Mark McGurn. All in all, a performance in which Queen's never hit the heights. Next up is East Fife at Bayview, next Saturday.
QUEEN'S PARK: David Crawford, Martin Ure, Barry Douglas, Richard Sinclair, Jamie Brough, Paul Harkins (Ross Dunlop), Robert Dunn (Jack Henry), Paul Cairney, Adam Coakley, John Neill, Ryan Holms (Stuart McGrady)
SUBS NOT USED: Damiano Agostini, Zander Cowie (gk)
BOOKED: Paul Harkins, Barry Douglas, Richard Sinclair
SENT OFF: Paul Cairney
REFEREE: Craig Charleston
MAN OF THE MATCH: David Crawford