Stenhousemuir 1 QOS 3: Stenny lose Betfred opener

Mark McGuigan puts Stenhousemuir ahead from the penalty spot
Mark McGuigan puts Stenhousemuir ahead from the penalty spot
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Stenhousemuir began their Betfred Cup campaign with a 3-1 defeat to Queen of the South in their first competitive match of the season at Ochilview.

However it was a scoreline that somewhat flattered the visitors, with Stenny leading the affair 1-0 for the vast majority of the 90 minutes.

Brown Ferguson’s men, rebuilding for a League 2 promotion push after last season’s relegation, got off to a flying start against their Championship opponents when they were awarded a penalty inside the first 15 minutes.

Martin Scott was blatantly shoved by new Queens’ signing Shaun Rooney, leaving little doubt in referee Gavin Duncan’s mind.

Summer signing Mark McGuigan stepped up and calmly slotted the ball past the keeper and into the right hand side of the net.

The closest Queens came to a reply was in the 31st minute, when Stephen Dobbie’s free kick caused problems for Chris Smith, the keeper having to palm it clear over the bar.

All in all, the Warriors were resolute and held out well with their opponents barely threatening.

In fact, it took until the 70th minute for Queens to breach the Stenny defence.

Smith, who had barely put a foot wrong throughout the game, failed to deal with a corner kick, before Stephen Dobbie collected the ball, found space and rifled a shot that deflected agonisingly into the roof of the net.

Smith did make amends for his earlier mistake by first dealing with another Dobbie free-kick and then making a last ditch save from Andy Stirling’s low driven ball which had deflected off one of his defenders.

At this stage the game looked destined to go to penalties - with Stenny having done enough to get at least a point.

It wasn’t to be however and Queens took the lead after a well worked set piece in the 83rd minute.

Dobbie was once again at the centre of things. His pinpoint delivery found the head of Rooney who looped an effort past Smith and into the right hand corner of the goal.

Any hopes Stenhousemuir could still salvage something from the game were ended when the Dobbie sealed the deal just a minute later.

The striker picked up the ball and smashed an effort straight into the back of the net from 20 yards out to ensure victory for the Dumfries side.

Despite the defeat Warriors boss Brown Ferguson found plenty to be pleased about in his new look side’s first competitive outing.

He said: “I was really pleased in terms of the general shape.

“The jobs we asked our players to do they did them very, very well and to lose 3-1 was a very harsh scoreline for the group.”

Despite the two-division gulf between the sides, Ferguson felt his side matched up well for the majority of the match.

He said: “For 70 minutes I didn’t feel under any real trouble.

“They had a fair bit of the ball at that point but they never really seemed to open us up.”

“We maybe could have done better with the ball in their half given the conditions and the fact we were 1-0 up and containing them well. But to concede two goals from set plays is obviously bitterly disappointing.”