Grant Savoury and Scott Williamson had provided leads in the first half that were cancelled out by The Reds, however there was no way back for the hosts following Thomas’ second half strike.
The Spiders fans that were situated behind one of the goals saw Jake Davidson returning to the starting line-up with Tommy Robson moving to the substitutes bench. Head Coach Owen Coyle also made changes in attack with Josh McPake and Scott Williamson involved from the kick-off, with Simon Murray joining Robson on the list of replacements and Johnny Kenny dropping out as he is cup-tied in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
David Boateng who was playing in a left back role gave away a corner after 90 seconds and the opening goal quickly followed albeit it came at the other end!
Malachi Boateng headed Cliftonville’s cross clear to Williamson who flicked the ball to the feet of SAVOURY 30 yards from his own goal. Savoury took off, and just kept on going and going, with his blistering pace leaving two home defenders in his wake and when the striker reached Cliftonville’s box he slotted a low shot out of the reach of Fynn Talley.
Any thoughts that Savoury’s knife through butter routine was going to set the tone for the rest of the game were misplaced as Cliftonville sprung into life.
On 5 minutes Kris Lowe fired over Calum Ferrie’s bar from 10 yards and eight minutes later Luke Turner headed down to Ryan Curran who was all set to tap the ball home until Ferrie grabbed it off his toes.
As the hosts continued to enjoy a fine spell Ronan Hall was released on the left and his parting shot was deflected into the side-netting by Stephen Eze.
The resultant corner on 15 minutes produced an equaliser as Chris Coates headed in Jamie McDonagh’s cross from six yards.
Sixty seconds later Ferrie prevented his side from going behind as he dived to his right to keep out a Ronan Hall header.
Queen’s eventually settled back into things and midway through the opening half Savoury was tripped 20 yards from the home goal. The striker took the dead ball however there was no repeat of his Hamilton heroics as his effort sailed over the bar.
On 29 minutes McPake fired for goal from the edge of the home box only to see his shot strike a defender and roll safely to Talley.
A minute later Queen’s were back in front when WILLIAMSON ignored loud appeals for offside to take a pass from McPake, who had won the ball 25 yards out, and find the far corner as Talley advanced.
Williamson and Davidson combined as play switched from left to right 10 minutes from the break to create an opening for McPake however the striker shot wide.
Just as the first half was drawing to close it looked like David Boateng had been set free on the left flank however the ball ran out for a by-kick before the full back could create danger.
Cliftonville came out re-energised at the start of the second and after McDonagh broke free on 48 minutes Ferrie had to stand tall to block his shot.
Three minutes later Robbie Hale had a shot blocked at the expense of a corner and the dead ball situation led to another equaliser.
McDonagh rolled the corner to Ronan Hale who picked out Jonny Addis at the back post with the defender firing home at the second attempt after his initial effort had been blocked by a super stop from Ferrie.
Queen’s Park took that second set-back on the chin and a low drive from McPake forced Talley into a fingertip diving save after a ball from 18 yards out.
Midway through the second half McPake was able to pick up the ball in a dangerous position in the Cliftonville box after some defensive uncertainty, with the striker firing high over despite Savoury’s appeals for a pass.
Queen’s took the lead for a third time with 20 minutes left through a fierce THOMAS strike as the wide-man slipped past a defender and cracked home from 16 yards after a Jack Thomson shot was deflected into his path.
Substitute Lewis Moore helped tee-up Savoury to shoot home shortly after his introduction on 78 minutes however the strike was ruled out for offside.
Teenage striker Lennon Connolly was given a run-out with 88 minutes on the clock and in the final minute of the ninety Ferrie rose to clutch a dangerous cross from Sean Moore.
Deep into injury time Talley ventured forward as the hosts earned a corner however the visiting defence stood firm and they did likewise when Ronan Doherty sent in another late cross.
Queen’s Park: Calum Ferrie, Jake Davidson (Jason Naismith 88′), Lee Kilday, Stephen Eze, David Boateng (Alex Bannon 59′), Jack Thomson, Malachi Boateng, Grant Savoury, Dom Thomas (Louis Longridge 78′), Josh McPake (Lewis Moore 78′), Scott Williamson (Lennon Connolly 88′). Subs not used: Jacques Heraghty (G/k), Tommy Robson, Simon Murray, Pat Jarrett.
Cliftonville: Fynn Talley, Jonny Addis, Chris Gallagher, Rory Hale, Ryan Curran, Jamie McDonagh (Sean Moore 73′), Kris Lowe, Ronan Doherty, Luke Turner, Ronan Hale (Joe Gormley 65′), Colin Coates (Christopher Curran 78′). Subs not used: Nathan Gartside, Jamie Robinson, Gerard Storey, Odhran Casey, Stephen McGuinness, Shea Kearney