Last night, I took a trip to the Scotland National Team stadium, Hampden Park, for the first Irn Bru Cup, quarter final match between Queens Park and Connah’s Quay Nomands. Both sides came into Fridays game in fantastic form with The Spiders not losing a game in nearly 2 months. The Scottish side beat Peterhead last weekend who were top of the league 2 table, winning 2-0 with left-back Ciaran Summers netting a double. Welsh side, Connah’s Quay Nomads are also in a rich vein of form and currently sit joint-top of the Wales Premier League along with the regular title challengers, The New Saints. The Flintshire side have lost only one game since September which came away to The New Saints. Queens Park coincidentally knocked The New Saints out of the Irn Bru Cup in the last 16 of the competition before coming from behind to beat St Mirren Colts to book a quarter final place. The away side beat Northern Irish side Coleraine FC in the last round, winning 2-0 with George Horan and Jay Owen scoring the goals.
Queens Park made no changes from the success at Hampden on Saturday against Peterhead.
Connay’s Quay Nomads made two changes from last Saturdays 2-2 draw against Barry with Declan Poole And Jay Owen dropping out. They were replaced by Centre-Back, George Horan and and Michael Parker.
The game got underway at Hampden with the away side starting the much better side. The first major chance of the game came after 10 minutes, when Nomads winger, Michael Bakare ran through on goal after latching on to Michael Wilde’s flicked on header. The Englishman took the ball and ran clean through 1v1 ,but his effort was brilliantly tipped onto the post by Queens keeper, Jordan Hart. Bakare went close again around a minute later when a long throw-in caused all sorts of problems in the home sides box before the wingers snapshot was once again well saved by Hart. The Flintshire side continued to dominate and were only denied the opening goal by another fantastic save by Jordan Hart. Laurence Wilson delivered a corner into the box before Wilde found himself in space. His powerful, goal bound header was brilliantly tipped onto the bar before being cleared to safety. The Spiders began to come to life after the heavy spell of pressure from the Welsh side. The contest began to become a bit end to end. The home side nearly opened their selves, when a delivery found Gerard McLauchlan at the back-post but his glancing header was sent wide. The final chance in a mostly dominant Connah’s Quay Nomads half was a long range effort by the dangerous, Michael Bakare which was comfortably saved by Queens keeper, Jordan Hart.
The second half got underway and it started nothing like the first. It was a slow start by both sides, who kept cancelling each other out. It looked like it was gonna take a huge sway to break the deadlock in this one. The big moment didn’t take long as out of no where the home took the lead. A pass from Ciaran Summers was poorly defended by John Disney, allowing Lewis Hawke to run through and brilliantly slot the ball into the far right corner by John Danby, in the Nomads net. The goal was a huge surprise to most as the majority of possession and chances had been for the Welsh side. The Away did respond well however, going close after 67 minutes when a long range effort was spilled by Jordan Hart. The Queens keeper just about managed to recover and scramble it off the line. The rebound fell to Michael Wilde who somehow headed his effort wide from point-blank range. The Nomads kept knocking on the door and they did get there well deserved equaliser after 80 minutes, when Rob Hughes bolted down the line before firing a cross across goal. The cross found the head of Michael Wilde, who headed it back across goal for George Horan to tap home. It was game on at Hampden. The Scottish side looked to be running out of steam as the Connah’s Quay Nomads continued to push for the decisive goal. The comeback was complete on the next attacking move, when the Nomads took the lead. All Rob Hughes done since he came on was cause trouble for The Spiders defence and it was no surprise that he was involved again. He picked up a loose ball before sliding in Michael Parker, who took the unselfish option and cut it back for the the other Michael in the Nomads side, Michael Wilde who had the easiest of finishes from 10 yards. Queen’s sent everyone forward in hunt of a equaliser but the big and strong Nomads defence continued to Repel them. It was a historic night for Welsh football as it Finished at Hampden, Queen’s Park 1-2 Connah’s Quay Nomads.
Queen’s Park XI
Hart, Grant, Summers McKernon, McLauchlan, McLaren, East(69), Roberts, Hawke, Moore, McLean(85)
Subs- Fotheringham, Osadolor(69),Mortimer(85), Peters, Martin, Magee,McDougall
Connah’s Quay Nomads XI
Danby, Disney, Wilson, Horan, Harrison, Wignall(90), Morris, Wilde, Holmes, Parker, Bakare(65)
Subs- Spittle, Woolfe, Poole(90), Kenny, Owen, Rushton, Hughes(65)
Referee- David Rock
Assistants- Frank Connor + David Doig
Fourth Official- Alan Newlands
Goals- Hawke(64), Horan(80), Wilde(84)
Yellow Cards- Parker(63), Wilde(76), Hawke(79),
Red Cards- 0