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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Division 1
Sat 9 March, 2013. Kick Off: - 15:00
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow.

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Scott Fox
2
Stephen O'Donnell
3
Aaron Sinclair
4
Ross Forbes (Christie Elliott (16), 63 mins)
5
Aaron Muirhead
6
Conrad Balatoni
7
Sean Welsh
8
Stuart Bannigan (Mark McGuigan (15), 83 mins)
9
Steven Craig (Kris Doolan (14), 75 mins)
10
Steve Lawless
11
James Craigen
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Kris Doolan
15
Mark McGuigan
16
Christie Elliott
17
Alan Archibald
Dumbarton
1
Stephen Grindlay
2
Paul McGinn
3
James Creaney (Jim Lister (12), 75 mins)
4
Andy Graham
5
Alan Lithgow
6
Chris Turner
7
Mark Gilhaney
8
Scott Smith
9
Garry Fleming (Marc McCusker (16), 82 mins)
10
Robbie Winters (Scott Agnew (14), 67 mins)
11
Steven McDougall
 
Subs
12
Jim Lister
14
Scott Agnew
15
Mark Lamont
16
Marc McCusker
19
Jamie Ewings
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Kris Doolan
15
Mark McGuigan
16
Christie Elliott
17
Alan Archibald
 
Subs
12
Jim Lister
14
Scott Agnew
15
Mark Lamont
16
Marc McCusker
19
Jamie Ewings
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Dumbarton – 9th March 2013

After a midweek without a fixture it’s back to action tomorrow afternoon with the visit to Firhill of Dumbarton.
We go into tomorrow’s game on the back of a six game unbeaten run; a run that includes five victories, but nobody is forgetting that it was a resurgent Dumbarton side that were the last time to inflict a defeat upon us.
Said Alan Archibald when speaking to [link:HOME] earlier this afternoon;

“In a way it’s no bad thing that they beat us the last time as it will mean that we know not to take them lightly at all. We didn’t start well when we last played them and it will be important that do so tomorrow and hopefully then kick on from that. In many ways it can be much harder playing against the sides nearer the foot of the league. Some people might expect that you will go out and win with some comfort but it’s not going to be like that; we found that out when we beat Hamilton and Airdrie United recently.”
Alan continued;
“We’ve had Dumbarton watched a few times and they have players all over the park that are capable of causing us problems. In some ways it’s like an old fashioned striker force with one big striker and one small striker and they caused us no end of problems when they beat us 2-0. It will be a big test tomorrow not just for our two centre backs, who have been excellent recently, but the whole defence and those in front of them.”
Alan doesn’t quite have a full squad to select from with one player definitely out and a major doubt surrounding another.
“Paul Paton is still missing. When he injured his ankle at first we didn’t think it was too bad and we actually thought that he might have even made the midweek game immediately after it. He did a bit of training on Monday but he was still in pain and he hasn’t really hasn’t trained since. We’ve a lot of games coming up and we don’t want to rush him back too soon and end up with him missing more games than is necessary.”
“There’s a doubt too about Chris Erskine. He suffered a spasm in his back in training on Thursday and another spasm in his neck today. We don’t know what is causing that. Sometimes these things happen and you wake up the next morning and everything is fine. He’s had a spot of acupuncture with Kenny Crichton and he is away seeing the doctor this afternoon. I’ll obviously check up and see how he got on there but we’ll need to wait and see how he is tomorrow before we make a decision on whether he can play or not. It goes without saying that it would be a blow if he wasn’t able to play. If he doesn’t play then it is an opportunity for someone else to come into the team though, and we do have cover. I’ve been pleased, for example, with the way that James Craigen has performed when he has come off the bench in the last couple of games. It can be hard sometimes coming off the bench in a game but he did well, even for just the few minutes he was on against Airdrie United, and it wouldn’t be a concern putting him in the team.”
There was, however, some good news on the injury front.
“Stuart Bannigan is fine after his knock last week at Dunfermline and we also have Hugh Murray available again after suspension.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
4              1              0              10           3
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Steven Craig 13
Chris Erskine 13
Steven Lawless 10
Kris Doolan 8
Conrad Balatoni 4
Stuart Bannigan 4
Ross Forbes 4
Aaron Muirhead 3
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 March 2nd 2013
Dunfermline Athletic 0, Partick Thistle 4
Dumbarton Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
1              1              3              10           13
Scorers season 2012-2013
Bryan Prunty 13
Jim Lister 10
Scott Agnew 5
Mark Gilhaney 4
Alan Lithgow 2
Chris Turner 2
Own Goals 2
Garry Fleming 1
Andrew Graham 1
Andy Graham 1
Marc McCusker 1
Steven McDougall 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday March 2nd 2013
Dumbarton 2, Cowdenbeath 2
Last Meeting
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday January 12th 2013
Dumbarton 2, Partick Thistle 0
Teams
Dumbarton: Ewings (Grindlay), Devlin, Smith, Graham, Lithgow, Turner, Gilhaney, Agnew, Lister (Fleming), Prunty (McCusker), McDougall.
Thistle: Fox, Muirhead (Erskine), Sinclair, Paton, Balatoni, Archibald, Lawless, Bannigan, Craig, Murray (Forbes), Doolan (McGuigan).
Scorers
Dumbarton: Own Goal (21), Prunty (63)
Crowd: 1,530
Match Highlights

Match Details
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday March 9th 2013
Partick Thistle v Dumbarton
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Prices
Adults: £17
OAP (65+): £12
16-21: £12
Full Time Education: £12
Programme: £2.50
Match Officials
Referee: Iain Brines
Assistant Referees: Billy Baxter and Graham Fraser
Other First Division Fixtures
Airdrie United v Dunfermline Athletic
Cowdenbeath v Hamilton Accies
Morton v Falkirk
Raith Rovers v Livingston

Match Report

Partick Thistle v Dumbarton – 9th March 2013

Alan Archibald’s excellent start as Thistle’s interim manager continued as an unbeaten run was extended to a seventh game with an ultimately comfortable win over Dumbarton. The 3-0 score line, however, only tells half a story. At times, especially in the opening half, this was anything but a routine win for Thistle, and it was only in the final quarter of the game that they truly had a grip on proceedings.
Returning to events prior to kick-off, Thistle suffered a blow when pre-match injury doubt Chris Erskine was ruled out. His place in the side went to James Craigen who had been impressive when coming off the bench in the two previous fixtures.
Dumbarton were the last side to defeat Thistle and they were close to taking an early lead in this game. Thistle conceded possession of the ball far too easily in the middle of the park and allowed Garry Fleming to run at the Thistle defence. As things opened up in front of him Fleming was only denied a goal when his shot struck the outside of Scott Fox’s right hand post.
In Thistle’s first raid on the Dumbarton goal Grindlay was able to save, but not hold, a well struck effort from Sean Welsh before, after 9 minutes, Thistle opened the scoring. Stephen O’Donnell’s chipped cross from the right was headed down by Steven Craig and Steven Lawless was in the right place to divert the ball into the net.
It was thought that that early strike would settle any Thistle nerves but Dumbarton continued to pose the Thistle defence all kinds of problems. They would have been level too in the 13th minute had Scott Fox not done well to block an effort from Gilhaney when the Dumbarton player had looked odds on to score.
That in truth was the closest that Dumbarton would come to a goal all afternoon although there appeals for a penalty in the 32nd minute when McDougall went to ground inside the Thistle box.
There was little fluency to the Thistle performance at this point although they were close to taking a two goal lead into the dressing room at half-time that they wouldn’t perhaps have deserved. James Craigen did well to set up Sean Welsh at the edge of the Dumbarton box and Welsh’s effort, with Grindlay looking beaten, went narrowly wide of target.
The start of the second half was scrappy and untidy but gradually Thistle were able to take control of the game. Steven Craig, scorer of a hat-trick in the previous game against Dunfermline, saw his effort in the 66th minute parried away by Grindlay and from the corner that followed Craig had the ball in the net when he converted Conrad Balatoni’s knock down; the referee, however, had spotted an infringement and the ‘goal’ was disallowed.
Thistle though were given the breathing space of a second goal in the 74th minute and it was another Firhill cracker. Steven Lawless was again the goal scorer; this time finding the net from 20 yards out with a shot that found the net via the underside of the bar.
Now with the benefit of a two goal advantage Thistle started to play with much more poise and confidence. Christie Elliott had been introduced as a substitute for Ross Forbes just past the hour mark and he made a big impact during his 30 minutes or so on the park. In Thistle’s first attack after scoring the second goal Aaron Sinclair sent Elliott clear down the left with James Craigen unable to convert Elliott’s near post cross into a goal.
Kris Doolan though had better fortune when Thistle grabbed a third goal in the 81st minute. The impressive Elliott got clear down the left and Doolan applied the finish to the cross that followed.
With the points now won Thistle could even have added a fourth goal before the end with Aaron Sinclair sending a shot narrowly over the bar.
Thistle’s next three games are now all away from home and as a casual glance at the league table will tell you there is an obvious reward should Thistle win the first one of them at Raith Rovers on Tuesday night.

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Dumbarton – 9th March 2013

Until Steven Lawless made it 2-0 with around 15 minutes of yesterday’s game remaining there were a few nerves around Firhill.
When speaking to [link:HOME] after the game Alan Archibald, the Irn-Bru Manager of the Month, admitted there was a bit of pressure around but was delighted with the way his players handled it.
“The players are playing under pressure and you can tell that. We knew it was going to be like that, there is a lot at stake. It’s just a case of getting the players to still pass the ball. It’s hard when there is that pressure but I thought you saw the difference when it went 2-0. That released the pressure. The main thing is that they ground out the result and worked hard as a unit across the pitch.”
The manager was delighted with yet another clean sheet.
“That’s four in a row now which is really pleasing and the two that we did concede in the first game were both set pieces. It’s a young defence and with the exception of Scott Fox they are all under 23. We are on to them all the time to communicate with each other more. As young players that’s something that they don’t do enough off. They do enough talking off the pitch but they don’t on the pitch, and that includes talking to the midfielders in front of them. As I said, we’re on at them all the time about that but not in a negative way but just to encourage them to be positive.”
Chris Erskine missed yesterday’s game and that perhaps blunted slightly Thistle’s creative edge. Said Alan;
“I think any team would miss Chris Erskine he brings so much to the team. It was an opportunity for other boys on the sidelines to step in and I thought they did well. James Craigen wasn’t playing in his best position but I thought that he gave a good shift and when he moved into the centre I thought that he was even better. All the subs too did well. I spoke to them and I got a good reaction from them; every one of them was positive when they came on.”
Christie Elliott in particular made a big impact when he came on.
“I’ve had a couple of chats with Christie. Obviously he’s been out the picture and not been stripped at times. It’s hard for him and I said to him that I haven’t really changed much because those starting had earned their place in the team because they had been so good this season. I said though that with seven games this month he would get his chance and that came today and I thought he grasped that chance. I felt he was different class when he came on.”
There was a welcome goal for Kris Doolan, another of Alan’s second half substitutes.
“Dools is just Dools. He works hard all the time. He’s another one that has found it hard as Steven Craig has come in and has a great record. Kris though is positive in everything that he does and he never, ever shirks away from things and he deserved his goal today.”
We move on now to Tuesday’s match with Raith Rovers with the opportunity to move back to the top of the league ahead of another couple of away game but Alan isn’t allowing his focus to drift away from Tuesday’s game.
“I think Morton showed when they lost at Hamilton that points are going to be dropped between now and the end of the season. You see how hard Dumbarton made it for us today and all the teams that are fighting for their lives are going to be like that. We know how hard it’s going to be on Tuesday but it is the old cliché, we really will just take one game at a time. Raith make it really hard for us every time that we play them and we know that we are going to have to work really hard if we want the three points on Tuesday. We got a good point there the last time that we played them and we will be positive and we are certainly looking for the win.”
And what of the two injured players that missed the win over Dumbarton?
“Paul Paton I’m not sure whether he is going to make it on Tuesday. With a back spasm Chris Erskine could be out for one day, he could be out for five days. So I’ve really no idea about him. All the players are in tomorrow and hopefully everything should be a bit clearer by Monday.”

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