Sunday 12th August v Ormond Saints
Andy Dick (c); Ally McNaught (Arthur McCue), Allan MacKenzie (Gav McDonald), Jack Waugh and Alan Galindo; David Blair, Sean Connolly, Stephen Fox (Robert Shimmons) (Ryan McCue) and Craig McKenna; Adam Walker and Scott Macrae
Queen's Park Supporters FC began their new season with a bang as they defeated old friends and rivals Ormond Saints 3-2 at Toryglen Regional Football Centre.
Queen's hadn't beaten Saintees since August 2009 on the same pitch, but Scott Macrae's excellent hat trick was enough to make sure that Andy McNaught's first game as Head Coach was a memorable one for all involved.
McNaught, without trusted sidekick Martin Kelly due to work commitments, lined the team up in a familiar 4-4-2 formation to start with. New skipper Andy Dick was in goals with Ally McNaught and Allan Mackenzie at full back. Last season's top scorer Alan Galindo lined up at centre back alongside gnarled veteran Jack Waugh, while “Long Hair” David Blair and Sean Connolly started at wide midfield.
Stephen “Foxy” Fox and Craig McKenna were at centre midfield while Adam Walker partnered new boy Sebo Macrae up front. Queen's boasted a four man bench of many talents, with Rob Shimmons, Neil Skinner and the McCue twins on the sidelines.
It was a boiling hot day at Toryglen but Queen's began the game well dictating the play in midfield. Foxy in particular was pulling the strings and his through ball unleashed Adam for the first chance of the game but he could only smack the ball against the onrushing keeper.
Blair was looking lively on the right for Queen's and he was unlucky to see his near post header from a
Saints were struggling to create with Galindo and Waugh in solid form at the back and it seemed only a matter of time before Queen's would break the deadlock. Macrae was in a threatening mood up top and he tested the keeper a couple of times with decent efforts from the edge of the box.
“Big Sebo” came even closer to breaking the stalemate when he crashed a shot off the post from 16 yards but his goal did come on the half hour mark.
Blair did well on the right to keep the ball in play and managed to cut the ball back to Craig. McKenna's cross to the back post was nodded across the face of goal by Adam and there was Sebo in the right place to prod it over the line.
Queen's teams of the past had eased off after gaining the lead in such circumstances but that never came on the day and it wasn't long before we notched up another. A perfectly weighted through ball cut the Saintees defence open, Sebo's run on to it was perfect, and he calmly stroked it past the keeper and into the bottom corner to make it 2-0.
Saints came into the game a bit more towards the end of the half as they managed to force a couple of corner kicks but they didn't look like scoring until they got in behind the QP defence for the first time on the break.
Waugh missed a tackle on the edge of the box and despite making a great original save, keeper Dick could only watch from the deck as the ball was slammed home from close range with his defenders trying to close the ball down. A disappointing end to the half but Queen's were much the better team.
The second half was a much closer affair with both sides creating a decent amount of opportunities. A rare slip by Galindo let a Saints forward bare down on Dick very early in the half, but the skipper/treasurer earned his cheeky cut of club funds with a terrific diving save low to his right to keep Queen's in the lead that they certainly deserved.
Jack Waugh, a top performer of the day, almost got a rare goal when he began a passing move at the back and eventually met a cross from the right at the back post, alas the big man could only direct his diving header onto the post.
Keeper Dick was suddenly a busier man for Queen's as he had to impose himself at a number of set pieces but the Queen's defence was certainly standing firm under a lot more pressure in the second half.
Saints were a different proposition in the second half and we required a touch of good fortune to restore our two goal cushion. A long ball through the middle was harmlessly rolling back into the hands of the Saints keeper but he inexplicably dropped the ball at the feet of Macrae, who stroked the ball home to complete his hat trick on only his second start for the team.
The game was becoming stretched now with masses of space appearing and Saints got the reward for their second half pressure as they pulled back a second goal.
A lofted free kick into the box was met by the head of a Saints player who had peeled off his marker and suddenly it was game on once again.
From here in on it seemed to be all Saintees but they failed to create any real clear cut chances. The best opportunity fell to QP's Blair who did well to beat his man on the edge of the Saints box but dragged his shot into the near side net when he should have tested the keeper.
Queen's showed true grit in the closing stages and everyone played their part in seeing out the 90 minutes.
A great way to start the season.