Controversy had been a feature of the two previous meetings with Dundee this season. There was no such controversy in this game, or any goals, but both teams contributed to an entertaining affair, especially second half, with Thistle a shade unfortunate not to collect all three points.
Still searching for that first elusive win of 2012 manager Jackie McNamara made three changes to the side that went down to a late defeat against Hamilton in Thistle’s last outing. Alan Archibald picked up a red card, Thistle’s first in the league this season, in that game and he began a two game suspension with his position in the heart of the Thistle defence going to Scott Robertson. Willie Kinniburgh, who took up a position on the bench, deemed not quite match fit after his absence with injury since last August. Elsewhere Christie Elliott and Tommy Stewart, both of whom scored for the reserves midweek, came into the side replacing Kris Doolan and Kieran Burns.
With a strong, icy cold wind, conditions were hardly ideal for this game and it was Dundee that seemed to enjoy the benefit of the conditions in the opening quarter of the game. Inside the opening ten minutes the Thistle goal had major escapes. In the 7th minute the Dundee players were almost lining up to put the ball in the net but they somehow failed to take advantage of the gilt edged opportunity that came their way with the ball cleared off the line. Two minutes later Steven Milne shot wide of goal after Paul Paton had carelessly conceded possession on the half way line. N
Dundee continued to press and they were close to a goal once more in the 16th minute. Gavin Rae’s effort from the edge of the box being pushed round the post by an alert Scott Fox. From the corner that followed the ball dropped to Jamie McCluskey but he could only shoot tamely wide of goal.
After that fraught opening 15 minutes or so Thistle gradually got into their stride. Tommy Stewart was the first to threaten a Thistle goal, shooting wide after turning smartly at the edge of the box.
In the 34th minute Stewart had an even better chance to open the scoring. Thistle broke quickly down the right following a Dundee corner. Christie Elliott was able to pick out Stewart who shot over the bar.
That would be the closest we would come to a goal in the first half, although Kal Naismith was able to knock a cross into the Dundee box but found no Thistle player on hand to take advantage.
It was to Dundee that first genuine chance of the second half fell to. Paul Paton had sent a 30 yard effort over the Dundee bar but the chance that fell to Dundee’s Ryan Conroy was altogether more clear cut. He did, however, find himself denied by Scott Fox who just as importantly was able to hold Conroy’s shot and thus prevented a Dundee player from gathering any rebound.
In the 62nd minute Thistle were a whisker away from taking the lead as the game started to raelly open out. Aaron Sinclair’s cross to the back post picked out Stephen O’Donnell whose diving header was blocked by Douglas, O’Donnell receiving a knock in the process.
In the 71st minute Thistle made a double switch with Chris Erskine and Kris Doolan replacing Christie Elliott and Tommy Stewart. Doolan nearly made a sensational introduction to the game being denied a goal with his first touch only by a point blank save from Rab Douglas.
The other sub, Chris Erskine, was quickly involved in the action as well. Douglas could only palm a corner into Erskine’s direction and Erskine’s shot was blocked by a defender with immediate appeals for handball.
Kris Doolan was looking especially lively since coming on and he tried to angle a shot past Douglas but the Dundee keeper was again able to save as Thistle continued to press in search of a goal.
David Rowson would be voted Man of the Match and he nearly set up Kal Naismith for a goal in the 83rd minute but Naismith couldn’t quite get the ball in his stride and Douglas was able to reach the ball first.
Thistle have in each of the game’s this year fallen victim to late goals and there was anxiety when Dundee won a free kick 30 yards from goal in the 89th minute. Ryan Conroy was able to get the ball round the wall but Scott Fox was well positioned to save.
Thistle themselves nearly snatched a last minute winner of their own. Kris Doolan stretched to reach a cross from the left and his header with Douglas looking beaten could only have been no more than an inch or so wide.