SPFL Development League
Wed 3 February, 2016. Kick Off: - 14:00
Broadwood Stadium, Cumbernauld
Scott MacKenzie’s development squad returned to action at a chilly Broadwood on Tuesday afternoon, facing a Dundee side that had comprehensively defeated them at Montrose earlier in the season.
There were wholesale changes to the side which was controversially denied a draw at Hamilton last week. The return of a number of Development League regulars from a mid-season training camp in Turkey saw a familiarity return to the line-up. Michael McMullin missed out due to suspension so Edin Lynch partnered Scot Whiteside in defence. There was a start for Gary Fraser, looking to get more minutes under his belt as he steps up his return from injury while Antonio German wore a Thistle jersey for the first time.
The game started with high energy, both sides looking to make an impact early on and German did well to beat Dundee’s right back before having his cross cut out at the near post. With the game barely two minutes old, Marc Waters had to make a terrific save to keep Thistle level.
Craig Wighton got the better of 15 year old Edin Lynch and forced a tremendous low block from the goalkeeper. The defender got across to force the ball out for a corner kick, from which Wighton flicked an effort onto the bar.
It was Thistle who grabbed the game’s first goal after only six minutes. McInally sent over a terrific cross for Kevin Nisbet, but a Dundee defender was able to fire the ball behind for a corner kick. After Gary Fraser’s corner was cleared, James Penrice delivered an excellent cross for Nisbet to head home from around six yards out.
An entertaining game broke out in the chilly conditions with Gary Fraser and Antonio German showing good play to link up well deep in the Dundee half, but Fraser’s effort, from the edge of the box, flew comfortably into the goalkeepers arms. Both sides forced a number of corners as the half ended with Thistle leading by a goal.
Dominic Docherty replaced Gary Fraser at the break, but it was Antonio German who started the half the brightest. His cross was deflected behind for a corner, before the ball fell to him on the edge of the box. His shot on the turn wasn’t handsome and flew away from goal.
It was all Thistle at the start of the second half with David Wilson having a personal battle with David Mitchell in the Dundee goal, but the goalkeeper was equal to the task when the midfielder broke into the box and aimed a low shot past him.
Antonio German’s last contribution in the 62 minutes he player was to loop a Penrice corner over the bar with a header, before he was replaced by Neil McLaughlin.
Wilson had another effort which flashed wide of goal before Kevin Nisbet struck the Dundee bar. He took a touch to control Lamont’s Crossfield pass before unleashing a shot which smashed off the frame of the goal and away to safety.
With 10 minutes remaining, Nisbet played in Dominic Docherty who maybe took a touch too many before firing a shot which was blocked by the goalkeeper. Dundee were sloppy in clearing, presenting the ball back to Docherty who saw a deflected shot very well saved by the goalkeeper.
With time running out, Nisbet had a couple of chances to add the seal to the game with a shot that hit the side netting before firing over. With barely three minutes to go, Dundee snatched an undeserved equaliser.
Wighton, a danger all day, managed to find space inside the box and he drilled a low shot past Waters to drag Dundee level.
It could have got worse for the Young Jags with Wighton and Black combining well, before firing over. In the last move of the game a clever free kick saw Wighton through on goal before Whiteside hooked the ball off the line.
In the end, it was to just be a point for Thistle in a match that they created enough chances to win several games, as Dundee punished Thistle for their prolificacy with a last gasp equaliser. It was encouraging to see Gary Fraser get 45 minutes of action, while Antonio German impressed in the hour he was on the pitch.
Next up for Scott MacKenzie’s side is a trip to Dingwall to face Ross County next Tuesday.