Irn Bru Second Division Play Off Semi-Final
Queens Park 0 Stenhousemuir 0
Stenhousemuir win 2-1 on aggregate
The Warriors took a one goal lead into the second leg of the Second Division Play-Off Semi Final and they made good use of that advantage in this match.
Both teams made one change to the starting eleven from the Thursday encounter with Alan Brazil replacing Iain Diack who has taken a couple of knocks in recent games for Stenhousemuir whilst the Spiders changed keepers with David Crawford coming in for Zander Cowie who had an uncomfortable game in the first leg.
It was a tentative start by both teams as Stenhousemuir adjusted to the wider pitch and both sides settled down on a surface that was rutted and with divots coming out as well it was not conducive to flowing football.
It took until the 18th minute before the first shot from either side when Kevin Motion drove forward but his effort went over the bar without troubling Crawford. Three minutes later Brazil fired wide after the ball was transferred quickly into the Queens area after Scott Bennett had intercepted at the other end. The home side threatened for the first time in the 22nd minute when Ryan Holms held off his marker but squandered the opportunity by weakly shooting wide from a good position. Bennett was called into action in the 40th minute to save a Paul Cairney effort after Robert Love had received a face knock in the build up. After recovering Love attacked at the other end and managed to create space for himself in the danger area but his effort was blocked by James Brough. Just before the interval Brough stopped another Stenhousemuir as Scott Dalziel tried to chip the ball over him but strong claims for a penalty as a hand appeared to be used were turned down by the referee.
The second half started in similar fashion to the first and it took the game a while to get going again. The atmosphere in the stadium was so quiet as well that you could almost hear the proverbial pin drop but the home side in particular were struggling despite plenty of possession to up the tempo as they struggled to save their season. The introduction of fresh players on either side did inject more impetus in both sides though and Chris McLeod did well to block an effort from Stuart McGrady. It still took until the 68th minute before either keeper was tested and Crawford smothered a Scott Dalziel effort. This was Scott’s last involvement in the game as he was subbed by Iain Diack just a minute later. The 75th minute saw Crawford tip over a Diack cross with Andy Brand in close attendance and after the home side failed to clear their line s properly from the resultant corner Jordan Smith thundered in an effort from close range that somehow Crawford saved one handed. That let off for Queens seemed to spark them to life and they should have taken the lead in the 79th minute when the ball broke to McGrady 12 yards out but he snatched his shot wide of the target with Bennett stranded. The keeper did save the Warriors in the 82nd minute by tipping An Ian Watt effort over the bar.
As the game drew to an end Queens were exposed at the back with Diack and Brazil stretching the home defence and both could have put the result beyond doubt. Despite being unable to do so the Warriors held out comfortably for the aggregate win and kept their promotion hopes alive.
The games against Cowdenbeath are likely to be more eventful games than this one but it was a measured and professional performance by the Warriors who over the two legs deserved to progress
Queens Park – Crawford, Ure [Dunlop 86], Douglas, Reilly [b53], Brough, Ronald [Murray h/t], Holms, Cairney, Nicholas [McGrady 61], Harkins and Watt. Subs not used – McGinn and Cowie
Stenhousemuir – Bennett, Lyle, Reid, Thom, Smith, McLeod [b31], Love [Brand 65], Molloy, Dalziel [Diack 69], Brazil [Thomson 83] and Motion. Subs not used – Tyrrell and Renton
Referee – Steve Conroy Attendance – John Gilmour and Andy McWilliam