Match Reports 2017/18

12th August 2017 - IFA League v Troon Academicals at Nethercraigs

1-0 (0-0)

Alan Galindo (c); Fraser Anderson, Ross Pollock, Stephen Stockman, Drew Omand; James Williams, Allan Lennox; Darren Dunsmore, Raymond Ford, Derek Muir; Ross Dunbar. Subs: Adam Ellsworth, Neale Waugh, Andy Waugh, Graeme McQuarrie, Scott Macrae

Scorer: Dunbar

POTD: Galindo

In: A. Waugh, Macrae

Out: Kilpatrick

The long summer of training cones, passing drills and hill sprints is finally over, and QPSFC are back in league action!

A lot has changed since we lost the Scottish Cup Final in our last competitive game.

Four new signings have been added to the squad, while a number of regulars have departed for pastures new.

The latest to leave is midfield battler Gary Duncan who has been sent beyond Hadrian's Wall to serve Queen and country. We wish him all the best!

There has also been a change in management as recently retired Andy Dick seized the QP throne in what has now been dubbed the 'Night of the Long Brooms'.

Ex-gaffer Andy McNaught has been forced into exile and was last spotted on horseback making his way towards the Station Bar in Alloa. We wish him all the worst.

However, the more things change though, the more things stay the same. 

Troon Accies were again our opponents for the first game of our 31st season on a tiny pitch at Nethercraigs, and the new boss had a tough task picking his first league XI.

Wee Gee was in goals with a back four of Fraser, RP, Drew and ex-Troon stalwart Stockers in front. 

The nicest man in football refused to bend the knee to Accies gaffer Stewart Boughen and fled North to continue his blossoming relationship with good pal Allan Lennox.

Talking of our flame haired vice captain, he was one part of a holding midfield duo with new boy James.

Interestingly, James once holidayed abroad with QPSFC legend Dougie Lyden at his luxury Barbadian estate. Perhaps a story for another time…

Darren, Ray and Del were the deadly attacking midfield trio with RD up top, looking to put Troon to the sword.

From the start, it was a very open match with the lack of space leading to a lot of direct play and errors forced by congestion.

Accies were the first to threaten as Sinclair went past Fraser on the left, but his bending shot never troubled the keeper.

We had our first opening after 8 minutes, RD heading wide from Fraser's cross. A difficult chance for our number 9 who was always stretching.

We had our #LittleSpaniard to thank for a couple of great saves after around 15 minutes. Denying both Rae and Falconer what looked like certain goals from close range.

Conditions were difficult; a stark reminder that winter is well on its way, and definitely not an advert for summer football.

The game was flowing end to end and Darren almost gave us the lead on 24 minutes, the Troon keeper making a great save to deny him from a one on one.

There wasn't too much going on for the remainder of the half as the rain began to pour, but the gaffer was forced into a change before half time.

James, who was having a cracking game in midfield, took a sharp elbow in the back and had to be replaced by Adam Ellsworth.

Half time and the scores were level, and the capacity crowd on Corkerhill Road were happy enough with what they had seen so far.

Two changes at the break as The Brothers Waugh (what are they good for?) replaced Fraser and Del. There was also a change in system to a 3-5-2 as the Gaffer tried to focus more of our play through the middle of the park.

The change had the desired effect, and truth be told we dominated the second half from the get go. Adam Ellsworth was the first to come close a couple of minutes in. Picking the ball up in midfield, he strode forward before unleashing a right foot drive which fizzed just wide.

Ross Dunbar was next to threaten, and he should have opened the scoring on 49 minutes. Diving to connect with a wicked delivery from the left, the unmarked RD seemed to get his bearings wrong, and could only glance the ball wide.

Troon were on the ropes now, and chances were coming thick and fast. Adam volleyed wide from twenty yards after a corner was cleared, before RD had a wonderful dipping free kick tipped over the crossbar.

Our most gilt edged opportunity so far came just after the hour, and it was RD again who spurned the chance to give us the lead. Ray slipped a delightful through ball in past the defence, and our former Club Captain could only slam the ball against the keeper’s legs from 16 yards.

Neale was next to come close when he shot straight at the goalkeeper from well inside the area, before Drew skewed a free header wide following a great cross by RP.

Troon started to grow again at this point, no doubt feeling fortunate to have survived the onslaught. Galindo had to be sharp to collect a fizzing drive at his near post, and a couple of other efforts from the edge of the area narrowly passed the QP crossbar.

The game was quite open now, with both teams looking for a winner, and on 82 minutes it arrived for QP. Darren was fouled on the edge of the area, and up stepped Ross D to bend a delightful free kick into the net. A brilliant goal and no less than QP (and Ross) deserved following a tireless shift.

The final eight minutes were closed out with the minimal of fuss, and QP enjoyed their first opening day success since returning to the IFA three years ago. A great result!

Head Coach Andy Dick reflected on the result:

"It was a tough game on an extremely narrow pitch and I am delighted we were able to pick up the 3 points to kick off the league season.

We struggled a little in the first half and Gee had 3 or 4 fantastic saves to keep the scores level.

The change of shape at half time worked really well and we dominated the second half.

The late winning goal was the least we deserved in the end.

All credit to the players for adapting so quickly to the change of shape and we will now look to carry on our great start to the season.

It was also fantastic to see so many people down to support the team and really helped drive the guys on throughout the game."