OWEN RONALD’S first senior goal gave Queen’s Park a vital 3-2 victory over second placed Stranraer at Hampden on Saturday.
Two David Murray goals had earlier helped The Spiders twice come from behind.
The game started slowly and it took David Anderson’s strong sliding challenge to liven the 637 crowd.
On 11 minutes, Blues’ ‘keeper Ryan Marshall comfortably gathered Ian Watt’s cross come shot.
Soon after, Anderson’s chip found Craig Smith, whose effort was parried by Marshall, with Murray unable to scramble in the rebound.
The home side’s passing began to flow better; Martin McBride’s 20 yard shot whizzing by the post on 20 minutes.
Watt turned inside David MacGregor on 23 minutes, only for Smith to take the ball off his toe and scuff wide.
Out of nothing, Stranraer took a 24th minute lead. Craig Malcolm negotiated his way round two Queen’s challenges to curl a shot high into the far corner of Parry’s net from 22 yards.
Gardner Speirs’ men came close to equalising after build-up play from Paul McGinn and Jamie Longworth ended with Watt’s left-foot strike from 12 yards shaving the post.
Parry saved well from Sean Winter on 31 minutes before a Queen’s leveller arrived on 33.
Anderson turned his defender cleverly in the box and supplied a tasty cross for Murray to head back across Marshall into the net.
But Stranraer restored their lead on 42 minutes. Chris Aitken wrong-footed Anderson, sending a saveable shot goalward, but Parry misjudged the bounce and it nestled in the bottom corner.
Smirry rain greeted the players when they emerged for the second half, with goalmouth action not arriving until 56 minutes – Parry atoning for his earlier mishap by denying Steven Noble.
On 61 minutes Watt provided an injection of pace and skill, breaking down the right only for Smith to miscontrol his cut-back.
The Spiders’ equaliser came on 63 minutes, Smith threading a pass for Murray to delicately lift over the onrushing goalie.
Then, Marshall’s 67th minute fluffed goal-kick was intercepted 30 yards out by Smith, before being fouled by Blues’ defender Frank McKeown.
In keeping with last man rules, referee Andrew Dallas showed McKeown the red card.
A Longworth strike was well saved by Marshall on 79 minutes, with Tony Quinn’s follow-up diverted over.
The decisive goal came on 81 minutes, McBride’s excellent pass allowing Quinn to shoot. Marshall stopped his effort, but Ronald took one touch to control the loose ball before firing a superb volley into the top left hand corner.
Speirs said: “If we could be a wee bit more clinical and composed when we make chances earlier in games, then we would maybe give ourselves an easier ride.”