Craig Joyce made two changes to the starting XI that faced Glasgow Women the previous weekend. Elise Macara marked her Spiders debut, taking the spot of Taylor Davis, while Nicole Cairney stepped in for Robin Gallagher. An unfortunate injury during the warm-up prompted a last-minute change, with Leah Daly replacing Emma Craig just before kick-off.
The opening minutes saw Queen’s Park on the front foot, moving the ball around nicely and working their way up the park which lead to a great opportunity just two minutes in. Ciara Bonner threw the ball to the feet of Nicole Cairney by the corner flag. Cairney brilliantly evaded her marker before fizzing a ball into the box. Despite a clearance, Leah Daly headed the ball back into danger. Abby Callaghan retrieved the loose ball and set up Monica Harty, whose powerful shot narrowly missed the target.
Only three minutes later, the Spiders attacked again. Elise Macara stopped a Stirling attack, releasing Quigley, who passed to Cairney out wide. Cairney skilfully navigated past the Stirling defender, delivering a cross to Ellie Kane. Kane cleverly backheeled the ball towards goal, but Stirling’s goalkeeper, Scarratt, did well to block the shot.
Queen’s Park eventually secured the opening goal in the 13th minute as they capitalised on a Stirling goal kick. Cairney, receiving a header from Eleanor Smith, nudged the ball to Callaghan, who, with an exceptional reverse pass, found Kane, who powered through the Stirling defence before calmly slotting the ball into the bottom corner.
Stirling appeared to respond four minutes later. Intercepting a pass from Queen’s Park, Megan Armstrong sent the ball towards the box. The ball reached Athina Varnava, who created space for a shot. Despite a well-struck attempt, Lauren McGregor made a remarkable save, tipping the ball over the bar. Unfortunately for Queen’s Park, Stirling equalised from the resulting corner, with Rebecca McMillian nodding the ball into the net.
Queen’s Park thought they went ahead once more on the 20th minute as Kane floated a corner into the 6-yard box. Quigley rose highest and got a touch on the ball to direct it goalward, but Scarrat made a crucial save.
A minute later, the Spiders struck again. Ciara Bonner played a one-two with Leah Daly down by the corner flag as she threw the ball back into play. Bonner then whipped the ball into the box where it was cleared by a Stirling defender but only as far as Abby Callaghan on the edge of the box. Callaghan brought the ball down well before expertly shuffling onto her left foot and striking the ball towards goal. But Scarratt did well once again to deny The Spiders.
In quick succession, Queen’s Park secured their second lead of the afternoon. Megan Quigley blocked a clearance from the Stirling defender and the ball fell to Ellie Kane. Kane knocked the ball down with her head and embarked on a powerful run forward, driving past the Stirling defence. Kane played the ball across to Abby Callaghan, but Stirling’s Rebecca McMillian intercepted, directing it into the path of Nicole Cairney, who calmly slotted the ball home.
Stirling nearly levelled once again as they won a freekick just past the halfway line on the 26th minute. Lucy Jackman floated the ball into the box, finding Emily Gray who headed the ball towards goal. But Lauren McGregor secured the ball comfortably.
The game continued with back-and-forth chances as Queen’s Park created another. Darcy Molley initiated play, finding Ellie Kane, who worked the ball across the park to Megan Quigley. Quigley fizzed a great ball across the box towards Monica Harty whose effort was saved by Scarratt.
Stirling University came dangerously close to another equaliser on the 35th minute as Amy Davidson got the ball out wide from a throw in. She played the ball into the box towards Emily Gray, but Lauren McGregor intervened before she could get a touch. The ball fell to Chenoa Rainer at the edge of the 6-yard box who struck the ball towards goal, but Eleanor Smith did exceptionally well to get a vital touch which sent the ball onto the crossbar before she was able to clear.
Queen’s Park then piled on the pressure and posed a constant threat to the Students for the rest of the half. Multiple shots came off for Cairney, Harty and Callaghan however, Scarrat kept the deficit to one for Stirling University.
Half-Time: Queen’s Park 2-1 Stirling University
Frustrated not to be ahead by more at the break, The Spiders came back out for the second half eager to put the game to bed.
The second half kicked off on a quieter note compared to the energetic first 45 minutes. The ball was kept in the midfield for extended periods, and both teams struggled to carve out any clear chances in the initial 10 minutes.
Queen’s Park had the first real opportunity of the second-half in the 56th minute, seizing an opportunity from a loose ball in the middle following a Stirling University clearance. Leah Daly knocked the ball forward, over the top of the Stirling defence for Ellie Kane to run onto. Kane knocked the ball in front and surged through the Stirling defence before knocking the ball over the on-rushing Scarrett. Unfortunately, Kane’s effort went narrowly over the bar.
Breaking the second-half deadlock, Queen’s Park found the back of the net in the 65th minute from a corner. Ellie Kane’s clever delivery found Darcy Molley, unmarked on the edge of the 18-yard box. Molley, in acres of space, expertly controlled the ball before unleashing a fantastic half-volley into the bottom corner, securing her first goal for the club, and doubling the Spider’s lead.
Taking command of the game, Queen’s Park restricted Stirling University’s chances, keeping them confined to their half. The Spiders maintained possession and moved the ball well while working their way up the park. Despite creating numerous chances, none posed a significant threat to Scarrett guarding the Stirling goal.
Queen’s Park notched their fourth goal in the 81st minute. Darcy Molley took a quick free kick at the back, initiating a well-coordinated move that found Megan Quigley wide. Quigley delivered an excellent ball into the back post finding Ellie Kane who pulled off an exceptional volley to put the ball into the top corner.
Full-Time: Queen’s Park 4-1 Stirling University
Queen’s Park: Lauren McGregor, Ciara Bonner, Elise Macara (Taylor Davis, 46’), Eleanor Smith (Rachel Ross, 69’), Darcy Molley, Leah Daly, Megan Quigley (Rachael McConnachie, 81’), Nicole Cairney, Monica Harty (Robin Gallagher, 72’), Ellie Kane, Abby Callaghan (Sophie McGoldrick, 81’). Subs not used: Chloe Gibney, Hannah Fulton, Emma Craig.
Stirling University: Victoria Scarratt, Rhianne Ferguson, Holly Watson, Rebecca McMillan, Amy Davidson, Lucy Jackman (Chloe McAllister, 86’), Emily Gray, Megan Armstrong (Sophie Rupp, 65’), Chenoa Rainer (Louise Reid, 86’), Athina Varnava (Eve Somerville, 61’), Penelope Kidd (Maddison Garrad, 86’). Subs not used: Regan Ott, Jennifer Cunningham, Megan Hope