SPFL Development League
Wed 25 November, 2015. Kick Off: - 19:00
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow.
Having trounced Hearts by six goals to two, Thistle’s development squad returned to the familiarity of Firhill to face St Mirren in the latest round of the Development League. Games against St Mirren have proved to be entertaining affairs over the years, although the Buddies have definitely had the upper hand over the last few games.
Scott MacKenzie named an unchanged squad as he showed faith in the eleven players that had earned the stunning win against Hearts in treacherous conditions.
His faith was repaid in 10 minutes when Thistle went in front with the game’s first meaningful attack. Kevin Nisbet picked up the ball 40 yards from goal and ran unchallenged into the penalty box with a low finish into the far corner of the net showing great confidence.
Thistle were confident and dominated the next twenty minutes with a string of good attacks but were unable to bag the second killer goal. McDaid pounced on some defensive hesitation from the St Mirren defence, and was dragged back as he seemed destined to shoot. It looked a stonewall penalty but the referee wasn’t interested and, despite loud protestations, opted to let play continue.
With half time looming it looked certain that Thistle would enter the break with a one goal lead, however they went to the Firhill dressing room with a one goal deficit.
St Mirren won a corner which seemed simple enough for the Young Jags to defend. A teasing ball into the box was met with a powerful header by Howieson to drag St Mirren, who hadn’t threatened Marc Waters all game, level. Less than 90 seconds later they led when another corner, this time to the back post, was once again met unchallenged by Mark Barrowman who fired a free header into the back of the net via a glancing touch from the crossbar.
Thistle’s inability to defend corners was proving extremely dangerous for the side and when, ten minutes into the second half, the ball dropped to a St Mirren player 10 yards from goal, they were lucky to see his volley only flash wide of goal.
Thistle started to come more into the game and forced a few corners of their own but they were unable to trouble Wilks in the Saints goal, while at the other end St Mirren looked dangerous with every corner they earned.
As time began to expire Thistle grew more and more desperate for an equaliser and a glancing header from Nisbet inched wide of the post, when it seemed certain to bulge into the back of the net. James Penrice then created an excellent opportunity for himself when his excellent first touch allowed himself space charging into the penalty area. With just the goalkeeper to beat he was unable to test the goalkeeper and instead dragged his low shot wide of goal.
There was to be one final opportunity for Thistle to get level but when McMullin managed to deliver an excellent ball into the six yard box, Dominic Docherty could only head the ball straight into the arms of the waiting goalkeeper.
Thistle weren’t able to find the equalising goal that their play deserved and they were left to rue the opportunities they had spurned in the opening half hour of the game. The goals the side conceded, while good corner kicks from St Mirren’s point of view, will have infuriated Scott MacKenzie who would have been keen to see his side build on the success against Hearts.