The Cove Rangers played more than their part in a close fight on Friday night in Ochilview but eventually had to pay for not taking their chances. Defender Morgyn Neill’s goal proved crucial that night – it just happened to be at the wrong end of the pitch.
Spiders manager Owen Coyle slammed his fist at home fans as he celebrated the win at the end – he will be well aware of how important this result could be for his side.
Here are three talking points from Ochilview.
Crucial moment for Queen’s?
Some of their football is impressively smooth and sharp, but at this stage of a title race, it’s all about winning. A chilly Friday night against a Cove side at the bottom of the table might not be the most glamorous of outings, but it’s hugely important to get over the line.
As time passed, Ochilview grew concerned that the path to the gate might just elude them. The winner obviously had some luck, but Coyle will insist his team made their own fortunes by further crushing Cove’s strong resistance.
The win gives the Spiders some breathing room from Dundee in a grueling sprint to the flag over the next few weeks and months. Crucially, it also turns up the heat a bit further over their Dens Park rivals.
These two sides have very different priorities, but both can legitimately claim to have done something here based on the opportunities created. Mind you, if you’re challenging at the top end, those opportunities tend to fall in your favor a bit more than if you’re struggling at the bottom of the stack.
Stephen Eze looked ready to head home from a corner in Queen’s Park but the ball somehow flew past his head at the crucial moment. He did hit the next one but found Cove keeper Scott Fox’s palms in the way and Malachi Boateng was only able to turn the rebound over the bar.
Boateng is one of the few impressive technicians in the Queen’s midfield but it was Jack Thomson who sliced open Cove with a seeking ball from deep. Connor Shield’s touch and spin were impressive, but he could only shoot off target. Thomson then had a penalty call rejected in the penalty area and the unmistakable sound of boots on shin pads, clearly audible even from a distance, suggested he had a fall.
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Cove had offered little until former Spider Luis Longstaff left Leighton McIntosh behind, but he shot straight into the body of keeper Callum Ferrie. Longstaff and McIntosh combined again minutes later, but this time the latter’s header grazed the post.
After the break, Jackson whipped in Longridge for McIntosh to hit the woodwork again, his header smashing the bar. At the other end, a neat interplay eventually got Shields half a yard into the box, only for the forward to be denied by Fox’s dive save.
It felt like we were destined for a stalemate. However, the old ‘mistake or magic moment’ cliché gives hope up to the last second, and unfortunately for Neill, the former has proven true for him. He tried everything to prevent a low cross from the left but only found his own net.
Too bad for Cove
The last time these teams met, Cove found himself on the wrong end of a 6-0 bombshell. In contrast, they have been very strong in this competition as a whole, although that will be of little consolation as they made the long journey back north with nothing to show for themselves.
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Hartley and his players will spend several hours on a bus contemplating the array of opportunities that just didn’t work out in their favor and the misfortune to win the match that ultimately led to Queen’s victory. A loss means they, Hamilton and Arbroath remain inextricably linked at the bottom of the league table.
If they want to survive, it might not be where they’ll get the points they need going to the top of the table, but the way that defeat turned out will hurt for a while.
https://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/23379122.queens-park-1-cove-rangers-0-instant-reaction-burning-issues/?ref=rss Queen’s Park 1 Cove Rangers 0: Immediate response to the burning issues