Fleetwood Town, who missed out on a place in the Football League last season in the play-offs, provided the opposition for the second pre-season fixture in a match played in the unlikely surrounds of Grangemouth Sports Stadium.
There was a welcome return to action for Paul Paton who hadn’t played since the 1-0 home defeat against Cowdenbeath in March of last season. He could perhaps have wished for an easier introduction back into action with Fleetwood, and in particular Junior Brown, giving Thistle a hard time in the opening exchanges of the match. Fleetwood had already come close to scoring when they did take a 6th minute lead, Brown crossing from the left for Andy Mangan to side foot home from 8 yards out.
It took Thistle a little time to get into their stride with Fleetwood continuing to impress in the opening quarter of the game and looking at least the equal to what we will face in this season’s First Division.
Thistle were close, however, to an equaliser in the 21st minute. David Rowson was able to gather the ball in midfield and with an option to either side of him he elected to slip the ball through to Tommy Stewart on his left who was denied a goal by a smart save from the Fleetwood keeper.
Thistle were beginning to make more of an impression on the game at this stage and just before the half hour mark Kris Doolan was a little unlucky to see his shot from the corner of the box just curl over the bar.
Fleetwood though should have extended their advantage in the 39th minute. Junior Brown was able to get clear of the Thistle defence but when left with just Ryan Scully to beat he could only scoop his shot over the bar.
Right on half-time it was Thistle’s turn to spurn an excellent chance to score. An Iain Flannigan corner was headed on by David Rowson with Johnny Lindsay’s shot blocked by the Fleetwood keeper.
It took Thistle just 7 minutes of the second half to draw level. Tommy Stewart was able to take advantage of a slip up in the Fleetwood defence and he was left with the easy task of rolling the ball into the back of the net.
With a steady flow of substitutes throughout the second half the game struggled to find much of rhythm with few chances at either end. Thistle were looking the more likely side to score again and Kieran Burns, one of the many second half substitutes, wasn’t too far off target with a shot from the edge of the box.
With the game heading towards a 1-1 draw both teams struck the frame of the goal. Fleetwood striking the Thistle post and Martin Grehan seeing his header strike the Fleetwood bar.
Although this was little more than another low key friendly there was still a marked improvement on the outing against Blyth seven day earlier.
Team: Scully (Fox 45), Paton (Cairney 58), Lindsay (Sinclair 58), Campbell, Trialist, Archibald (Kinniburgh 45), Flannigan (Erskine 66), Rowson, Doolan (Grehan 66), Stewart (Burns 66), Bannigan (Fraser 73).