IT IS advantage Stenhousemuir in their bid to be playing League 1 football next season after they picked up a 1-0 win at the Hampden home of Queen’s Park.
Scorer: Stenhousemuir - McCormack (55)
Jamie McCormack’s goal is all that separates the sides with the only disappointment for the Ochilview men being that they did not build a more substantial lead.
The hosts had the first effort on target on eight minutes when Shaun Fraser fired a free kick around Stenny’s defensive wall and Greg Fleming pushed the ball away with a low save.
Stenhousemuir gained control and looked set to open the scoring on 21 minutes when Ross Meechan burst through the centre of the home defence, but just when he looked set to pull the trigger Paul Woods arrived to mop up.
Quick thinking by Paul McMullan looked to have caught out home goalkeeper Willie Muir on 28 minutes when the on-loan Celtic winger chipped a free kick from 40 yards towards goal with everyone expecting a cross.
Muir back-pedaled furiously and was able to just get enough on the ball to turn it over for a corner with the shot-stopper saving his side again two minutes later when he tipped over a Colin McMenamin header.
The deadlock was broken ten minutes after the interval. Gavin Mitchell tripped Josh Watt on the left. McMullan curled over the free kick and McCormack arrived unmarked six yards out to nod in. Queen’s Park looked to hit back quickly and Fleming had to stretch out an arm to turn away a Sean Burns cross from under his bar before using his legs to keep out a John Carter flick.
Stenhousemuir came within inches of doubling their lead ahead of Saturday’s second leg when McMullan swung over another free kick but Ross McMillan’s header came crashing back off a post.
Paul Woods almost secured a late leveller, but his injury-time curling effort drifted a foot wide of the goal.
Queen’s Park: Muir, Mitchell (McElroy 66), Burns, Berry (McPherson 80), Quinn, Wharton, Woods, Slattery, Carter, Fraser, Rooney. Subs not used: George, McPherson, McVey, MacGregor, Gibson, Hynes.
Stenhousemuir: Fleming, McCormack, Summers (Duncan 66), Lithgow, McMillan, Meechan, McMullan, Hodge, McMenamin, Millar (Fotheringham 82), Watt (Marenghi 61). Subs not used: Shaw, Faulds, Sutherland, Grehan.