The all-red Rovers started in a rush and had the home support suffering mild palpitations in the first minute, when Fisher got clear on the left and whipped over a hanging cross. Ferns got in a looping header which Muir seemed to be ushering over the bar, but the ball struck the frame and bounced back into play and Muir had to be quick to collect it before McGuigan.
The first five minutes went by in a rush for Queen’s but they forced a corner in seven minutes which Miller knocked into keeper Parry’s arms.
There were further alarms for Queen’s immediately after. A throw-out from Muir put Burns under pressure and he lost possession to McGuigan, but the striker’s cross couldn’t find a red shirt and Mitchell knocked it for a corner at the far post.
But Queen’s looked rattled and from the corner Mitchell had to come to the rescue again when he headed Fisher’s effort off the line when the Rovers man looked certain to score.
A nervy start from Queen’s, not relieved when McElroy wasted possession when we finally got on the ball, and then Wharton’s sliced clearance from Mullin’s driven cross fortunately went straight into Muir’s arms.
Miller, a former Rovers player, had already shown his frustration by fisting the ball into the ground after a decision went against him, so when he booted the ball away after McPherson was stopped for offside his name went into the referee’s book.
Queen’s, though, were slowly getting a foot in the game and they almost broke the deadlock with help from Rovers in 21 minutes, Miller’s corner finding the head of a visiting defender and Parry having to pull off a great acrobatic block under his bar.
Woods won a free kick wide left, nutmegging Young then being blocked by the Albion player-boss, but Miller sent it sailing high over the bar.
The action was more often in the Rovers half as we approached the half-hour mark, but we were struggling to get any width and were getting bogged down in the middle. Rovers took the lead in the 34th minute on Saturday, in what was hailed as a crucial match for Queen’s Park. They had looked the more likely to score, but there was more than a slice of luck when Fisher’s shot deflected off the tackling Quinn and took a wicked deflection over the stranded Muir and into the net.
The first goal was always going to be crucial. With Rovers having shown their ability to protect a lead, it was now a monumental task for a Queen’s side who thus far didn’t look up for it.
Burns was booked for a foul as Rovers continued to call the tune and Love called Muir into action again with a low shot which the keeper held at his right-hand post.
Parry had yet to be troubled by a Hooped shirt, and Burns’ long-range trundler was never going to get the job done as it went wide.
Queen’s had failed to turn up so far and Rovers were cruising. They could only hope that would change in the second half.
With Albion Rovers taking the field in the second half already one-up, Gus MacPherson made a change at the break, sending on Fotheringham for McElroy.
Woods was booked for a foul as Queen’s continued their struggle to break down Rovers’ well organised defence, and you have to say it wasn’t looking hopeful as Queen’s sent a succession of simple passes astray.
Rovers sent on Cadden for Love in 58 minutes and two minutes later Queen’s made a double switch with Moore and Hynes replacing Fraser and McPherson.
Queen’s had struggled to create any chances and it was a sign of their attacking shortcomings that Wharton’s long throw-in after 62 minutes offered their first real chance. It almost brought success as Hynes connected with it, only for Mullin to deflect the ball over the bar.
It should have been 2-0 in 68 minutes. McGuigan was put in the clear by a clearance but with a man inside him he chose to shoot and Muir blocked low down.
Mitchell became the latest Spider in the book for a foul but for such an important game you couldn’t even say Queen’s looked fired up. They were just distinctly low key and Rovers were having to do nothing special to retain their lead.
The steady Young went off in 73 minutes to be replaced by Phillips.
The Dunlop brothers had looked assured and steady throughout but they got their wires crossed in 75 minutes and gifted Hynes possession with keeper Parry off his line, but the striker’s touch took him too wide and his attempted shot wasn’t going in when it was booted clear.
That was enough to get the home support excited but then they had seen precious little to enthuse them.
Any half chances Queen’s were creating were wasted with nervy touches and poor options. Hynes won a corner when he could have got off a shot and Fotheringham’s header from the flag kick was deflected for another corner, this one being knocked clear only for Wharton to head it high over the bar.
Gemmell finally arrived in 80 minutes, replacing the troublesome McGuigan, and promptly was mixing it with Wharton.
Queen’s Park: Willie Muir, Gavin Mitchell, Sean Burns, Tony Quinn, Bryan Wharton, Vinnie Berry, Paul Woods, Darren Miller, Shaun Fraser, Ciaran McElroy, Ross McPherson. Subs: Scott Gibson, Kevin Fotheringham, Jordan Moore, David McGregor, Conor McVey, Ryan Hynes, Blair Lochhead.
Albion Rovers: Parry, Mullin, M Dunlop, R Dunlop, Turnbull, Ferns, Young, Fisher, McGuigan, Davidson, Love. Subs: Phillips, Cadden, Chaplain, McKenzie, McCluskey, Gemmell, Hughes (gk).
Referee – Grant Irvine.