SPFL Development League
Tue 20 October, 2015. Kick Off: - 18:00
Glebe Park, Brechin
Thistle travelled to Brechin to take on the champions of the 2014/15 Development League, Aberdeen. Scott MacKenzie was hoping his side would stand up strongly against a tough test, with Aberdeen setting the bench mark in the Development League over the last 12 months, and indeed they included several first team players throughout their squad.
Scott MacKenzie made two changes to the side which emerged victorious against Ross County, with David Wilson dropping out entirely while Neil McLaughlin made the drop to the bench. Jordan Leyden returned to the side while first team player Ryan Stevenson took the opportunity to get some match sharpness in his game.
It was Stevenson who made the first impression on the game, a tame left footed shot trundling straight into the arms of the goalkeeper, before a slip presented Pawlett with an opportunity inside the box but his effort was blocked by Dominic Docherty.
Aberdeen were beginning to show signs of their superiority and when Michael Rose smashed a corner against the bar it was a sign of things to come. Moments later, Jordan Leyden was caught in possession. A Whiteside tackle fell favourably for Pawlett who squared to the unmarked Nuttall inside the penalty area. The tall striker controlled the ball well before rounding Waters, finishing from an acute angle to give Aberdeen the lead.
The goal seemed to awaken Thistle, and with it the experienced first team players in the side, Fraser, McDaid and Stevenson all working hard to drag Thistle back into the game, but nobody really testing Robbie Mutch in the Aberdeen goal.
Indeed, Thistle could have trailed by more than a goal at half-time when clearances presented a danger to the Thistle rearguard. Firstly, Waters saw his clearance cannon off Smith and smash the side netting, before he had to produce a full length save when McInally’s clearance flew dangerously towards goal.
After a tame start to the second half, Aberdeen put the game beyond all doubt with two goals in less than five minutes. Firstly Michael Rose nodded home from a Peter Pawlett corner to double the lead, before a short goal kick to Culjak was misread by Penrice and Ryan McLaughlin was able to drill a low effort past the stranded Thistle goalkeeper.
It could have been a different game had McDaid managed to finish off a good chance inside the box, between the goals, but at 3-0 down with 30 minutes to play, Thistle were beaten.
Thistle kept working hard trying to get the game and Whiteside was inches away from connecting with a Stevenson free kick. At the other end Waters was in fine form as he kept a hungry Aberdeen side at bay as they looked to increase their superiority over the Young Jags, with Pawlett and McLaughlin both forcing excellent saves from the young goalkeeper.
Thistle were to have a couple of opportunities in the closing stages when Gary Fraser, who came through the 90 minutes unscathed, flashed a shot across the face of goal from 20 yards, while McDaid elected to shoot with Matthew McInally screaming for a pass 10 yards away from him inside the penalty area.
In the dying seconds, McDaid fires a low ball across the six yard line, which no Thistle jersey was able to tap into the empty net. It summed up Thistle’s frustrating evening when the team didn’t perform well enough to claim the three points and Aberdeen were able to record one of their most comfortable wins of the Development League season.
Next up for the Young Jags is a home game against Rangers next Tuesday 27th October. Kick off is 18:00 at Airdrie United’ Excelsior Stadium.