Arbroath are traditionally a tough nut for Queen’s and Gus MacPherson is not alone in voicing surprise at seeing them at the opposite end of the table from his Spiders.
Queen’s won 2-1 at Gayfield in September with goals from Sean Burns and Paul Woods.
The home side kicked off under the floodlights, the pitch looking great for December.
Queen’s came close to opening the scoring in 10 minutes. Watson did well to get in front of Woods as the Spiders’ playmaker went for a cross, but the big No5 couldn’t control his clearance and sliced it over his own bar with keeper Fleming stranded.
There was more panic in the Lichties’ box when Fleming dropped Burns’ corner, but the keeper was in the right place to collect Burns’ cross/shot from the rebound.
But there was nothing the busy Fleming could do when Queen’s went ahead in 11 minutes with a splendidly worked goal. Bradley did all the spadework, the wee midfielder angling his way through the Arbroath defence before releasing a perfect pass into the box to meet the run of DUGGAN, who took a touch before driving his shot low past the keeper.
Arbroath top scorer Bobby Linn can always be guaranteed to cause Queen’s problems, and he was at it again in 18 minutes, turning quickly on the right of the area onto a misplaced pass by Woods and firing a left-foot shot that Muir palmed away before collecting.
It was fairly even after that, up to midway in the half. Ramsay had a free kick saved low down to his left by Muir then Duggan came close with a powerful shot deflected narrowly past.
Arbroath twice came close to an equaliser around the half-hour. Lowdon was allowed a free run to the byeline to get in a cross that the unmarked Rutherford headed over the bar, then Linn was through one-on-one with Muir but saw the keeper block his shot.
The lively Arbroath defence dealt with Queen’s attacks, Bradley combining with Woods to set up a cross for Mitchell that Duggan rose to meet and glance a header just wide of the far post.
Halftime: Queen’s Park 1, Arbroath 0.
Arbroath almost made a sensational start to the second half. Straight from their kick-off, and within 30 seconds, Queen’s passed up several chances to clear and McGeever had to stop a Ramsay shot on the line with Muir beaten.
The visitors had restarted on the front foot and they should have been level on 50 minutes.
Mitchell’s poor pass allowed Arbroath to break past him down the left. The cross was blocked, but only to Linn, 12 yards out, and he made space before firing a low shot that again rebounded off the legs of the advancing Muir.
Arbroath couldn’t sustain that start, and Queen’s gradually regained their toehold in the game.
Linn got the first yellow card of the game for a foul on Bradley on 65 minutes.
The visitors made a double change in 68 minutes, Gold and Ryan replacing Reid and Ramsay. Wilson became the second booking for a foul on Burns,then Mitchell followed for a foul on Lowdon.
Queen’s made their first change in 81 minutes, Galt coming on for Woods.
Three minutes from time the industrious Bradley was replaced by McVey.