Better luck next year

Queen’s Park will play their football in division three again next season after a disappointing play-off defeat to Stranraer.

Almost 1200 supporters gathered at Hampden on Saturday in the hope that a 3-1 first leg deficit could be overturned, but instead the Blues won 2-0 to make it 5-1 on aggregate.

Home fans were boosted by the surprise return of David Anderson, but despite some early Spiders pressure, Stranraer took a 12th minute lead.

Sean Winter won the visitors’ their first corner after good work down the right. Chris Aitken’s set-piece was headed goalward by defender Frank McKeown and Craig Malcolm stuck out a foot to divert it past Neil Parry.

It was exactly the kind of start Queen’s did not want and they rallied to try and get back into the match.

Left-back Peter Bradley exchanged passes with David Murray to burst into the opposition penalty box, but his cut-back to Jamie Longworth was not converted.

Stranraer then struck another killer blow on 20 minutes.

Forward Martin Grehan sent the tireless Malcolm down the left-hand side and he found Grehan again on the edge of the box. The ex-Partick Thistle man hit a shot which trundled low into the corner of Parry’s net to make it 2-0.

Already the tie looked out of sight for Queen’s, and it seemed like it just wasn’t to be when Paul McGinn missed a clear opportunity to pull one back on the stroke of half-time.

The Spiders came out with an attacking 3-4-3 formation for the second period, but chances remained few and far between.

Anderson’s 25-yard drive did not trouble Blues goalkeeper David Mitchell greatly in the 58th minute, and a looping Tony Quinn header hit the bar a while later.

On 65 minutes, McGinn made a penetrating run and teed up Longworth, but the normally potent striker pulled this one narrowly wide of the far post.

Malcolm should have scored the third with fifteen minutes left after Michael Moore’s headed flick-on put him one-on-one with Parry, but the ‘keeper stood strong to deny his former Arthurlie team-mate.

A Queen’s penalty shout after David MacGregor’s hand-ball was turned down by referee David Somers in the 81st minute.

Quinn had the Spiders’ last chance on 86 minutes, but Mitchell turned his effort wide.

Overall, a comprehensive victory for Stranraer despite Queen’s looking so promising going into the play-offs.

Gardner Speirs said: “Stranraer deserved it over the two games, there’s not any question about that. Anybody who came to watch us these last couple of games would probably have got false picture of us.

“But if you want to go up divisions, these are the games you have to deal with and unfortunately we haven’t done that.”