Queen’s Park took all 3 points from their first SWPL2 match of 2023, but they left it late to do so. The Spiders came into the match knowing a win was essential after the top two sides in the league dropped points in the earlier games.
Head Coach Craig Joyce made three changes to the starting XI from the Scottish Cup exit the week prior. Lauren Grant returned in goals, while Caitlin McKee and Sophie Bayless were handed their first Queen’s Park starts – with Sophie making her Queen’s Park debut in the process.
It was an edgy beginning to the match with neither side managing to get a strong foot hold in the game, but it would be the spiders who would have the first real chance. A pass from Leah Daly made its way through the visiting team leaving McKee one-on-one with the goalkeeper. McKee was able to round the onrushing shot-stopper but the tight angle meant she couldn’t convert.
Despite constant Queen’s Park pressure, East Fife struck first. An under hit back pass from Eleanor Smith was intercepted by Tyler Thomson, who was then brought down by Lauren Grant. The referee pointed to the spot with no hesitation. Teri Skivington professionally converted her spot kick despite the best efforts of Grant in goal.
Queen’s straight away searched for the equaliser. But despite continued pressure towards the East Fife goal, shots from Nicole Cairney, Ellie Kane, Abby Callaghan and McKee weren’t enough to trouble the visiting goalkeeper.
Half Time: Queen’s Park 0 East Fife 1
Queens came out in the second half fired up. On the 51st minute, great skill from Cairney found in-form Abby Callaghan, but the striker dragged her shot just wide. Taylor Davis was next to threaten with a shot from distance.
Queen’s continued the hunt for an equaliser, and eventually their efforts paid off. McKee took the ball expertly on the turn, before slotting in Abby Callaghan with a wonderfully weighted pass. In true Abby Cal style, she rounded the goalkeeper and scored for the sixth game in a row.
As the clocked ticked down, you would have been forgiven for thinking the winning goal may never come. A superbly struck Leah Daly free-kick tested Hamill in the East Fife goal, but she had a super save to match. Kane then once again tested the goalkeeper from range, but the strike was tipped round the post.
In the 91st minute, 20 shots and 13 corners later, the spiders got their winning goal. Daly delivered an inch-perfect corner which was met by the head of Smith. Her downward header bounced up and over Hamill into the net.
In the 97th minute, substitute Sarah MacLeod won the ball on the half way line. She broke up the pitch presented with the opportunity to secure all 3 points for Queen’s Park, but again, Hamill made a fine save and the score remained 2-1.
After 10 additional minutes, the referee brought the game to an end, securing Queen’s Park’s fifth straight league victory.
Full Time: Queen’s Park 2 East Fife 1
Queen’s Park: Lauren Grant, Leah Daly, Sophie Bayless, Eleanor Smith, Taylor Davis, Hannah Fulton (Jaya Gill 66′) Abbi McDonald, Ellie Kane, Nicole Cairney, Abby Callaghan, Caitlin McKee (Sarah MacLeod 75′). Subs not used: Rachel Caddell, Chloe Gibney, Alex Fraser, Nikki Lavery, Zoe Clark, Yasmin Boyce.
East Fife: Lauren Hamill, Elizabeth Corke, Mirren Lumsden, Teri Skivington, Maya Knight, Nicola Wallace, Rebecca McAdam, Chloe Guppy, Tyler Thomson, Elizabeth Anderson, Brodie Rugby-Wilson. Subs: Karina Coster, Libby Lowrie, Kira Sutter, Kerys Blyth, Courtney Porter, Gemma Brown.