It was a largely youthful and inexperienced Thistle side that faced Dumbarton in the final pre-season outing. New Modern Apprentices Aaron Sekhon and David Wilson were given the chance to impress with a place in the starting eleven while Dale Keenan, Gavin Griffin and James Wightman all took up places on the bench. Also included were trialists Jack Boyle, unable to play since Blyth due to injury, and Ryan Scanlon.
The more experienced home side made the brighter start and there were loud appeals for a Dumbarton penalty after less than 2 minutes when the ball took an awkward bounce and struck Sekhon on the arm. Referee Conroy, however, wasn’t interested.
Thistle after a shaky opening few minutes soon found their stride and while the side may have lacked experience there was plenty to be encouraged about in the game’s opening quarter. Stuart Bannigan and David Wilson were impressing in the midfield for Thistle and the latter was at the heart of the move that really should have produced an opening goal in the 9th minute. Wilson’s lovely through ball was collected by Martin Grehan whose cross was turned over the bar by trialist Jack Boyle who really should have scored.
Boyle was close again to scoring just three minutes later. Again David Wilson was heavily involved as he slipped the ball through to Boyle who was denied by a good save to his right by Grindlay in the Dumbarton goal.
It would be Dumbarton, however, that would take a 27th minute lead. Craig Sutherland was able to escape the attention of the Thistle defence and he beat Scully with a shot that entered the net via the inside of Scully’s left hand post.
This was Dumbarton’s best spell in the game and they were close to doubling their lead on the half hour mark. Mark Gilhaney’s tricky run inside the Thistle box presented him with a shooting opportunity but Scully was down sharply to his right to keep the ball out.
There was little else off note until the 4th minute of the second half when Thistle spurned a good chance to level the game. Jack Boyle was able to get clear of the home defence but with just the Dumbarton keeper to beat he rather snatched at his hot with the result that the ball went harmlessly wide of goal.
Thistle were back on level terms, however, just past the hour mark. Referee Conroy who had turned down three strong appeals for Dumbarton penalties, did point to the spot when sub Jordan McGrotty was barged in the box. Kieran Burns was the man entrusted with taking the penalty and he confidently found the bottom corner of the net to draw Thistle level.
Seven minutes later Dumbarton were back in front. Referee Conroy had spent much of the night making some, to the crowd at least, curious decisions. One of which was to award Dumbarton a free kick at the right hand corner of the Thistle box. Soft free kick or not, there was no questioning the quality of Scott Agnew’s curling finish from the set piece.
It was Dumbarton that were doing all the pressing at this point and Agnew wasn’t far away from extending their lead with a shot that bounced the wrong side of Ryan Scully’s left hand post.
With eight minutes of the game remaining Dumbarton clinched the win with a third goal. Ryan Scully initially looked as he had managed to get enough of a hand to Pat Walker’s shot to keep it out but the ball trickled over the line.
There was still time for another Dumbarton goal with sub Brannan firing home from 20 yards out as the young Thistle team started to run out of steam.