Queen’s IIs 1 Portavogie Rangers 2

Portavogie were the visitors to The Dub on Saturday. Queens had won the away game in Portavogie and were anxious to keep their promotion hopes alive against the second placed team in 2B.

On a freezing cold afternoon conditions were quite tricky with the pitch being extremely uneven and soft underfoot in places. An experienced Potavogie side started slightly the better of the two teams but the students weathered the early pressure and began exerting some of their own. Maguire up front for Queens won several good flick-on headers as Queens pushed for the opener. Good crosses from Devine and Andrews had the visitors’ tested the Portavogie keeper – Maguire also trying his luck with a long range free kick. The home defence – well marshalled by Budden – also held firm until the interval. Half-time 0-0.

Queens started the second period on the front foot with Andrews, Maguire and Murphy linking well down the right on several occasions but against the run of play Portavogie took advantage of an under-hit past and broke from their own half to score the opening goal. Queens reacted well but a cruel piece of luck saw them go further behind ten minutes later when a low free-kick took a wicked deflection off a home defender leaving McCrea with no chance of saving it.

Again the reaction from Queens was good as they pressed hard for a way back into the game. Some decent opportunities went unconverted before McDermott got a deft touch to a cross from Murphy setting up an exciting last ten minutes. The home side forced a succession of corners and threw the kitchen sink at their opponents as time elapsed. McCrea came up for a corner and Queens came with inches of rescuing what would have been a well-deserved point. The game ended in even more frustration for the home side as right at the end the referee deemed there was no time left to take a corner.

A game played in good spirit by two closely matched teams – where a point each might have been a fairer outcome. The 2nds had not played a game for a month meaning a few players were off the pace. Michael Kerr – who will take over as manager of The 2nds on Monday had a chance to see his team in action and will no doubt be planning a run at promotion

MOTM: Robbie Budden