The Spiders hit the road for the second consecutive week, this time journeying down to Ayrshire to take on Kilmarnock. Following an impressive and clinical performance last week, Queen’s Park aimed to maintain their momentum in this top-of-the-table clash.
Craig Joyce made two changes to the line-up that faced Stirling University the previous weekend. Darcy Molley and Emma Craig joined the starting XI, while Leah Daly and Nicole Cairney took their places on the bench. Hannah Fulton also made her return to the matchday squad, and deadline day signing, Ami Robertson, featured in the squad for the first time.
The opening minutes of the game were a bit chaotic, with both teams struggling to maintain possession as the ball bounced around in the middle of the park. Nonetheless, the Spiders orchestrated an encouraging passage of play down the left flank, with Bonner, Quigley, and Callaghan working in tandem. However, their efforts were stopped by the Kilmarnock defence, preventing them from making a breakthrough.
It was Kilmarnock who struck first, earning a corner in the 5th minute. Abby Robinson delivered an accurate corner right into the crowded 6 yard box, eventually ending up at the feet of Laura McLaughlin. McLaughlin kept her composure, lofting the ball over McGregor, where it struck the underside of the crossbar before nestling into the net.
A mere 4 minutes later, Kilmarnock doubled their tally with Dionne Brown finding the mark. The sequence began when Georgia Crooks intercepted a pass from the Spiders, right in the heart of the midfield. The ball fell to Jordan McLintock, who played it wide to Kelsy Crainie who then drilled the ball across the box, finding Brown’s waiting feet. The veteran striker made no mistake, steering the ball into the back of the net.
Queen’s Park came close to an immediate response, fashioning a superb opportunity right from kick-off. The ball was circulated back to the Spiders’ defence, where it was moved around nicely before Rachel Ross initiated a long ball forward towards Ellie Kane. Kane nimbly knocked the ball onward for Monica Harty to pursue. With the Kilmarnock goalkeeper venturing into an uncertain territory, Harty had a golden opportunity to loft the ball over her, but her attempt soared just above the crossbar.
Queen’s Park started to find their rhythm and crafted another opportunity in the 18th minute. Ciara Bonner’s throw-in was cleverly flicked onward by Megan Quigley towards Ellie Kane. Kane expertly allowed the ball to glide past her, embarking on a goalward charge that left her marker trailing. However, a slightly heavy touch allowed Killie defender Reese McCulloch to regain her ground, disrupting Kane’s balance and blocking her shot. In the ensuing chaos, the ball ricocheted within the 6-yard box, leading to a frenzied scramble before the Kilmarnock defence managed to clear their lines in a desperate bid.
The Spiders began to pose a series of challenges for Kilmarnock, crafting yet another significant opportunity in the 25th minute. Substitute Leah Daly seized an opportunity presented by a loose ball just outside Queen’s Park’s 18-yard box. She lofted a delightful pass over the Kilmarnock defence for Abby Callaghan to chase down. Callaghan adeptly stopped the ball, allowing her marker to rush past, before delivering a precise pass across the box to find Ellie Kane stationed at the penalty spot. Unfortunately, Kane’s subsequent shot soared just above the crossbar.
Kilmarnock made a strong comeback, securing their third goal in the 36th minute. Abby Robinson played a short corner to Alex Middleton positioned at the corner of the 18-yard box. Middleton whipped the ball into the box, finding the head of Dionne Brown. The ball then ricocheted around the 6-yard box, resulting in a scrum for possession. Ultimately, it was Kilmarnock’s Kelsy Crainie who applied the decisive touch, nudging the ball over the line.
Half-Time: Kilmarnock 3-0 Queen’s Park
Queen’s Park made some halftime adjustments and entered the second half with a renewed determination to salvage something from the game. They were keeping the ball better, moving their way up the pitch well, and for the most part, kept Kilmarnock pinned into their own half.
The Spiders’ well-deserved breakthrough arrived in the 63rd minute, courtesy of substitute Ami Robertson, who was fouled on the left wing, earning Queen’s Park a free kick. Ellie Kane took charge of the set piece, and true to her style, she executed it flawlessly by planting the ball directly into the top corner of the net, injecting new life into the Spiders’ bid to make a comeback.
Less than two minutes later, Queen’s Park believed they had notched another goal. They executed a fluid passage of play in midfield before Nicole Cairney laid the ball back to Eleanor Smith in the defensive line. Smith unleashed a long ball over Kilmarnock’s defence, seeking out Megan Quigley’s well-timed run in behind. Quigley managed to connect her head with the ball, guiding it toward the goal, only for Ellie Currie, Kilmarnock’s goalkeeper, to make a crucial save.
Despite their best efforts, the final moments of the game remained goalless for Queen’s Park. The Spiders applied relentless pressure on the home side and maintained control of the majority of the second half. But the home side’s defence held firm, frustrating Queen’s Park’s endeavours to add to their tally.
Full-Time: Kilmarnock 3-1 Queen’s Park
Kilmarnock: Ellie Currie, Reese McCulloch, Georgia Crooks, Dionne Brown (Mhairi Crooks, 80’), Abby Robinson, Kelsy Crainie (Kerrie Halpin, 85’), Laura McLaughlin, Lauryn Reside, Lucie Burns (Kayla Healy, 21’), Alex Middleton, Jordan McLintock Subs not used: Holly Kerrigan, Georgina McTear, Yasmin Boyce.
Queen’s Park: Lauren McGregor, Ciara Bonner (Taylor Davis, 55’), Rachel Ross (Leah Daly, 20’), Rachael O’Neill, Eleanor Smith, Darcy Molley, Megan Quigley, Emma Craig (Ami Robertson, 45’), Monica Harty (Nicole Cairney, 45’), Ellie Kane, Abby Callaghan (Robin Gallagher, 77’) Subs not used: Chloe Gibney, Hannah Fulton, Rachael McConnachie, Eve Pollock.