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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Division 1
Sat 26 January, 2013. Kick Off: - 15:00
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Scott Fox
2
Sean Welsh
3
Aaron Sinclair
4
Paul Paton
5
Conrad Balatoni
6
Alan Archibald
7
James Craigen (Christie Elliott (15), 73 mins)
8
Stuart Bannigan
9
Steven Craig (Kris Doolan (14), 73 mins)
10
Ross Forbes (Aaron Muirhead (17), 87 mins)
11
Chris Erskine
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Kris Doolan
15
Christie Elliott
16
Mark McGuigan
17
Aaron Muirhead
Cowdenbeath
1
Thomas Flynn
2
Dean Brett
3
Kenny Adamson
4
Thomas O'Brien (Kyle Miller (15), 66 mins)
5
John Armstrong
6
Joe Mbu
7
Jamie Stevenson
8
Liam Caddis
9
Lewis Coult (Marc McKenzie (14), 56 mins)
10
Kane Hemmings
11
Scott Linton
 
Subs
12
David Cowan
14
Marc McKenzie
15
Kyle Miller
16
Lewis Milne
17
Craig Wight
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Kris Doolan
15
Christie Elliott
16
Mark McGuigan
17
Aaron Muirhead
 
Subs
12
David Cowan
14
Marc McKenzie
15
Kyle Miller
16
Lewis Milne
17
Craig Wight
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Cowdenbeath – 26th January 2013

It was a welcome return to winning ways against Falkirk last weekend but that will mean little if we don’t follow it up with another three point haul tomorrow when we entertain Cowdenbeath.
Cowdenbeath may be one of the three teams embroiled in a relegation battle but the two previous meetings between the sides this season have been tight affairs and there is no reason to suppose it will be any different tomorrow.

Said manager Jackie McNamara when speaking to ptfc.co.uk
“I know their manager Colin Cameron well as he was a team mate of mine with both Wolves and Scotland. He’s doing a great job at Cowdenbeath with limited resources. He’s side are well organised and they all fight for each other. Tomorrow’s game is a very important one for us though. It’s another home game and we want to build upon the good result that we had last week against Falkirk. To do that we will need to make sure that we are up for the game and that we first of all match Cowdenbeath physically. Once we’ve done that hopefully our ability will then come through.”
“It was certainly great to get back to winning ways last Saturday against Falkirk. We had suffered a few set backs in the games immediately prior that incurring a few silly suspensions along the way and not being clinical enough in front of goal. That said I didn’t think that the performances themselves suggested that there was anything too much wrong. We were much more clinical against Falkirk and watching the highlights back it’s clear that we could have won the game by a bigger margin had their keeper not made a number of excellent saves. It was hugely encouraging to create as many chances as we did during that game.”
“The one downside to an otherwise excellent afternoon was the injury sustained by Steven Lawless. Steven was due to go for his operation on his fractured cheekbone today and we’ll know better after that how long that he will be out for. The initial reports though suggest that it isn’t as bad as first feared and we could be looking at somewhere between 3 and 6 weeks for his return. There is an issue with regard to physical contact as he recovers and we may need to get him a protective mask.”
“Aaron Muirhead, who missed last week’s game through illness, was back in training during the week so Steven Lawless aside the only other injury we have, at the time of writing, is Stephen O’Donnell. I feel that we have missed Stephen’s energy in recent weeks and the good news is that is looking much better and is in line to return next week.”
“We also have Christie Elliott back from his loan with Albion Rovers and his is looking sharp and much more confident. The benefit in sending players out on loan was evident when we brought James Craigen on against Falkirk. He looked really lively when he came on and I know Dick Campbell was greatly impressed with him while he had him at Forfar. He also saw the great potential that James has. He has two good feet and is a natural athlete.”
“James, like the rest of the squad, will have a part to play between now and the end of the season. It’s up to the players when they are in the team to play so well that it becomes impossible for me to take them out of the side. That is the kind of selection headache that all managers want.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
1              2              2              8              8
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Chris Erskine 11
Steven Lawless 10
Steven Craig 8
Kris Doolan 8
Stuart Bannigan 4
Conrad Balatoni 3
Ross Forbes 3
Aaron Muirhead 2
Aaron Sinclair 2
Sean Welsh 2
Christie Elliott 1
Stephen O’Donnell 1
Own Goal 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday January 19th 2013
Partick Thistle 4, Falkirk 1
Cowdenbeath Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
0              4              1              6              7
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Lewis Coult 8
Jamie Stevenson 7
Marc McKenzie 6
Greg Stewart 5
Kyle Miller 4
Lewis Milne 2
Mark Ramsay 2
Kenneth Adamson 1
John Armstrong 1
Dean Brett 1
Liam Caddis 1
Kane Hemmings 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday January 12th 2013
Hamilton Accies 2, Cowdenbeath 1
Last Meeting
Ramsdens Cup Semi-Final
Sunday October 14th 2012
Cowdenbeath 0, Partick Thistle 1
Teams
Cowdenbeath: Flynn, Cowan, Linton (Mbu), O’Brien, Garcia, Adamson, McKenzie, Ramsay (Coult), Stewart, Stevenson, Miller.
Thistle: Fox, O’Donnell, Bannigan, Paton, Muirhead, Balatoni, Lawless, Welsh, Craig (Elliott), Forbes (Slane), Erskine (Doolan).
Scorer
Thistle: Craig (74)
Crowd: 1,159
Match Highlights
Match Details
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday January 26th 2013
Partick Thistle v Cowdenbeath
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Prices
Adults: £17
OAP (65+): £12
16-21: £12
Full Time Education: £12
Programme: £2.50
Match Officals
Referee: Crawford Allan
Assistant Referees: Charlie Smith and Ross McIntyre
Other First Division Fixtures
Dumbarton v Hamilton Accies
Dunfermline Athletic v Livingston
Morton v Raith Rovers
Falkirk v Airdrie United

Match Report

Partick Thistle v Cowdenbeath – 26th January 2013

Victory over Cowdenbeath gave Thistle their second straight victory as they continued to keep pressure on Morton at the top of the table. The two previous meetings with Cowdenbeath this season, one in the league and the other in the Ramsdens Cup, produced narrow one goal Thistle victories and the margin of victory in this match was equally as tight as Thistle came from behind to claim the points.
Manager Jackie McNamara made a couple of changes to the side that had defeated Falkirk seven days earlier. The injury sustained by Steven Lawless in that match is going to keep him out of action for several weeks and his place in the side for this game went to James Craigen. There was also a start for Sean Welsh who occupied the right back position; a move that allowed Stuart Bannigan to move back into a midfield berth.
The visitors settled quickly into this match and they had already showed that they were capable of causing Thistle problems even before they took a 4th minute lead. An error from Conrad Balatoni left Kane Hemmings one on one with Scott Fox and the on loan striker fired across Fox and into the net.
Although Thistle were frequently able to get the ball into good positions wide on either flank it took them a little time to truly threaten the Cowdenbeath goal after the loss of that early goal. Indeed Cowdenbeath, with Hemmings continuing to look dangerous, were still looking a threat themselves.
Thistle though were back on level terms in the 25th minute. Steven Craig got two chances at the back post and after his first shot was blocked he made no mistake with his second.
There was as much relief as there was celebration at having established parity in the match and once level Thistle started to take a grip of proceedings.
Stuart Bannigan was having an excellent game and he helped create an opening in the 29th minute that nearly produced a Thistle goal. Bannigan’s cross to the back post was headed by Steven Craig into the path of Chris Erskine but Erskine wasn’t able to direct his shot on target.
As the pressure from Thistle mounted Flynn in the Cowdenbeath goal did well to claw away a Ross Forbes corner from right underneath his crossbar and although James Craigen, from just inside the Cowdenbeath box, was able to lift the ball over the head of Flynn he also cleared the bar in doing so.
The ability of Ross Forbes at set pieces is always likely to create chances and with half-time approaching from one such set piece Forbes himself was desperately unlucky not to find the back of the net. Thistle were a touch fortunate to be awarded a free kick at the right hand corner of the Cowdenbeath box and nearly profited from that good fortune with Forbes curling effort smacking off the post.
Thistle’s second goal though was only delayed by another couple of minutes. Conrad Balatoni was able to pull away from his marker as a Forbes corner came over from the left and he fired into the net to fully atone for his earlier error and score his third goal in the last two games.
With the benefit of that one goal lead Thistle spent much of the second half in total control of the game but they were never able to find the third goal that would have given them some breathing space despite numerous opportunities to do so.
To be fair it was, in the main, a combination of good goalkeeping and bad luck that prevented Thistle from scoring again.
Flynn made fine saves to deny Chris Erskine and, with the game in injury time, Sean Welsh while Thistle struck the frame of the Cowdenbeath goal for a second time when Conrad Balatoni’s header struck the bar with Steven Craig unable to direct the rebound into the back of the net.
Thistle too had the ball in the net in the 81st minute only to see Sean Welsh’s effort ruled out for an apparent foul on the goalkeeper.
A one goal lead is always a precarious one and the longer Thistle went without scoring a third goal the more nerves started to creep in. Anxiety levels rose when a Jamie Stevenson effort from fully 35 yards out was only narrowly wide of target and there was a further anxious moment for Thistle when Kane Hemmings’ header from a Linton free kick dropped wide of goal.
Thistle though were able to hold on for a richly deserved three points.

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Cowdenbeath – 26th January 2013

It was a deserved, if narrow, win over Cowdenbeath yesterday and after the game manager Jackie McNamara confessed that another goal at least would have been nice. .
“I think we could have done with a third goal. We got that last week against Falkirk. Today we didn’t and that made things a bit edgy. It’s important to try and put a game to bed. A big thing for me was, unlike the Livingston game when we put a late corner into the box, that this time we tried to see out the game. If we had done that at Livingston we would have a couple more points right now. The players are learning though.”
Jackie continued;
“Today I felt that we were a little edgy in the final third although I thought that we had a valid goal disallowed when Sean Welsh put the ball in. I felt that the goalkeeper dropped the ball. It was a good three points for us though. We played better last week and we were disappointed to go a goal down to what was just a flick on. We responded well though to go in at the break 2-1 ahead.”
It was Conrad Balatoni that scored the goal to put us 2-1 ahead and the manager felt that goal atoned for an earlier mistake from the centre half.
“He’s scored three in two games for us now. I think that he was at fault for their goal so he managed to make amends for that.”
Jackie was quick to acknowledge that Cowdenbeath had made things difficult for his side.
“I think that we need to give Cowdenbeath credit. They’ve brought in some players on loan who have done well for them. Hemmings who scored the goal was a threat and they’ve also got Caddis whose come down from the SPL with St Johnstone. From my point of view I’m happy to see my players are getting into good positions and getting crosses into the box. It’s just a case of getting on the end of those crosses and kill the game off.”
Jackie has little doubt that he has the players that can go on and secure a place in next season’s SPL.
“I’ve a squad that are capable of winning promotion, they perhaps just need a bit more belief in their own ability. They’ve shown that they can play football, they just need a bit more of a cutting edge. As I said it was a good three points today. I said to the players after the game that was a match that last season we would have lost or drawn after losing the first goal. There’s an expectation from the crowd and after the loss if the goal the crowd was quiet in the first half and the players had to try and generate the crowd and the atmosphere. I felt that we got the goals at the right time.”
Focus is now on next Saturday and another fixture with Cowdenbeath.
“We’ve another very difficult match next week again against Cowdenbeath. It’s a difficult venue to get points from and we will need to be more clinical next week.”
There was also an update on Steven Lawless who underwent surgery on Friday
“Steven is a big loss. He’s been a great player for us with his goals but it’s up to the players that come in now. Today I thought that James Craigen did well in spells. It’s a squad game now and the lads that came on today I thought did well. Steven’s surgery was a great success. He got out last night and he was planning to come to the game today but he was a little groggy. We’re hoping that he will make a speedy recovery and Stephen O’Donnell we hope will be back in contention for a place in the team next week.
It was only natural that the manager was asked about the speculation linking him to the manager’s post at Dundee United.
“It’s all speculation, that’s all it is. I’m fully focused on the job that I have here. I’m very happy here and I’ll just keep on working hard.”

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