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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC

Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Division 1
Sat 19 January, 2013. Kick Off: - 15:00
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow

Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle
1
Scott Fox
2
Hugh Murray (James Craigen (17), 62 mins)
3
Aaron Sinclair
4
Paul Paton
5
Conrad Balatoni
6
Alan Archibald
7
Steve Lawless (Sean Welsh (15), 24 mins)
8
Stuart Bannigan
9
Steven Craig (Kris Doolan (14), 78 mins)
10
Ross Forbes
11
Chris Erskine
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Kris Doolan
15
Sean Welsh
16
Mark McGuigan
17
James Craigen
Falkirk
1
Michael McGovern
2
Kieran Duffie
3
Stephen Kingsley
4
Darren Dods
5
Ryan McGeever
6
Stewart Murdoch
7
Thomas Grant (Sean Higgins (15), 66 mins)
8
Blair Alston
9
Lyle Taylor
10
Jay Fulton
11
Conor McGrandles
 
Subs
12
Liam Dick
14
Dale Fulton
15
Sean Higgins
16
Lewis Small
17
Graham Bowman
 
Subs
12
Glenn Daniels
14
Kris Doolan
15
Sean Welsh
16
Mark McGuigan
17
James Craigen
 
Subs
12
Liam Dick
14
Dale Fulton
15
Sean Higgins
16
Lewis Small
17
Graham Bowman
Match Preview

Partick Thistle v Falkirk – 19th January 2013

2013 hasn’t been too kind to Partick Thistle so far but tomorrow afternoon we play our first home game of the New Year determined to start the fight back and take the first steps to recapturing our berth at the top of the First Division.
Tomorrow’s game is the second time that we have welcomed Falkirk to Firhill. It was Falkirk that opened the current season here at Firhill and it’s kind of apt, therefore, that they are our first visitors in 2013.
That opening league game of the season set the tone for an excellent start to the season. Thistle made a whirlwind start that afternoon and were 2-0 up inside the first ten minutes before finally winning a thoroughly entertaining fixture 3-1.
Off the field the Thistle fans more than played their part that afternoon. Speaking to [link:HOME] yesterday Paul Paton recalled that afternoon;
“It obviously helped that we made such a good start to that game but you felt a real rush of blood when you heard the Thistle fans roar that day. We need the backing of fans though even more when things aren’t going right. It’s in those situations that we all need to pull together. The fans really can, and have, made a difference.”
Tomorrow the aim is to replicate the excellent display, on and off the park, that marked Falkirk’s visit to Firhill in August.
Looking ahead to the game manager Jackie McNamara said;
“Off the pitch the fans will have a big part to play this tomorrow. They’ve been excellent all season and now that we’ve reached the halfway stage of the season we need their support more than ever as we make a big push for a place in next season’s SPL. I’ve a lot of faith and belief in the group of players that I have. We’ve come a long way from where we were this time last season and we want to keep progressing.”
“Our last few results have been very frustrating and it is vitally important that we get back to winning ways as soon as possible. Every team will go through a difficult spell during the course of a season and I don’t think that the performances that we have produced in the last few games, although there have been bits and pieces that I’ve not been happy with, have been terrible ones. We do need to be more clinical at times and we need to do things quicker. Above all we need to show patience when we are playing a side that is sitting in.”
After Friday’s training the manager was also able to provide us with all the latest team news;
“Aaron Muirhead is unwell and he will miss out tomorrow otherwise we are not too badly placed for the game. Mark McGuigan started the reserve game with East Fife during the week but on a brick hard pitch he was feeling his ankle injury and we took him off. We will need to wait and see how he is. Stephen O’Donnell will miss the Falkirk game but he isn’t too far away and it shouldn’t be too much longer before he is available again.”
Partick Thistle Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
1              2              2              7              8
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Steven Lawless 10
Chris Erskine 9
Steven Craig 8
Kris Doolan 8
Stuart Bannigan 4
Ross Forbes 3
Aaron Muirhead 2
Aaron Sinclair 2
Sean Welsh 2
Conrad Balatoni 1
Christie Elliott 1
Stephen O’Donnell 1
Own Goal 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday January 12th 2013
Dumbarton 2, Partick Thistle 0
Falkirk Stats
Current Form – Last Five Games
W            D             L              F              A
2              1              2              9              7
Scorers Season 2012-2013
Lyle Taylor 17
Stewart Murdoch 3
Kieran Duffie 2
Jay Fulton 2
Conor McGrandles 2
David Weatherston 2
Blair Alston 1
Stephen Kingsley 1
Luke Leahy 1
Lewis Small 1
Last Game
Irn-Bru Scottish League First division
Saturday January 12th 2013
Falkirk 0, Morton 1
Last Meeting
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday October 27th 2012
Falkirk 0, Partick Thistle 0
Teams
Falkirk: McGovern, Flynn, Kingsley, Dods, McGeever, Murdoch, Duffie, Alston (J Fulton), Taylor, Weatherston (Haworth), Leahy.
Thistle: Fox, O’Donnell, Bannigan (Sinclair), Paton, Muirhead, Balatoni, Lawless (Elliott), Welsh, Craig, Forbes (Doolan), Erskine.
Crowd: 3,818
Match Highlights

Match Details
Irn-Bru Scottish League First Division
Saturday January 19th 2013
Partick Thistle v Falkirk
Kick-off: 3:00pm
Prices
Adults: £17
OAP (65+): £12
16-21: £12
Full Time Education: £12
Programme: £2.50
Match Officials
Referee: John Beaton
Assistant Referees: Dougie Potter and Douglas Ross
Other First Division Fixtures
Cowdenbeath v Dunfermline Athletic
Morton v Livingston
Raith Rovers v Hamilton Accies
Airdrie United v Dumbarton

Match Report

Partick Thistle v Falkirk – 19th January 2013

Thistle made a welcome return to winning ways with an ultimately resounding 4-1 win over Falkirk; a win that took them back to second place in the First Division.
Without a win from their four previous fixtures manager Jackie McNamara made two changes to the side that had lost in disappointing fashion at Dumbarton the previous weekend. Aaron Muirhead, an ever present prior to this game, missed out due to illness while Kris Doolan dropped to the bench. Coming into the side were Ross Forbes and Chris Erskine although the big pre-match question centred on who would fill the vacant right back slot. Hugh Murray wore the number two jersey but it was Stuart Bannigan that initially occupied the position.
When Thistle last played Falkirk at Firhill they made a whirlwind start and were two goals up inside the opening ten minutes. In this game Thistle were again fast off the mark and were a goal ahead in just the fourth minute. Ross Forbes corner from the Thistle left was met by Conrad Balatoni and his header eluded a Falkirk defender on the line to give Thistle a morale and confidence boosting early lead.
Thistle were in total control in the early stages and when Chris Erskine cut inside from the right just a couple of minutes after Balatoni’s goal there was the prospect of a second early Thistle goal but Falkirk were able to scramble Erskine’s cross away.
Out of the blue though Falkirk were almost level in the 14th minute but Scott Fox was sharp off his line and was able to block an effort from Blair Alston.
Play swiftly moved to the other end and Thistle missed an excellent chance to extend their lead when Chris Erskine blasted wide after Steven Craig had nodded a Stuart Bannigan cross into his path.
The next goal, however, would level the scores and there was more than a hint of controversy surrounding the goal. Chris Erskine appeared to be fouled in the centre circle but there was no whistle for a foul allowing Falkirk to break. Thomas Grant’s cross was missed by Blair Alston but not Lyle Taylor who at the back post steered the ball into the net.
Thistle though were back in front in next to no time. Steven Lawless’ cross picked out Chris Erskine and a rare headed goal from Erskine gave him his tenth strike of the season. There would be more to come from Erskine before the end of the game.
Steven Lawless’ involvement in the game, however, would soon be at an end. A collision with Falkirk goalkeeper Michael McGovern left the Thistle player on the ground with a nasty injury to his face and he was substituted by Sean Welsh.
Lyle Taylor continued to be the biggest threat to the Thistle goal and he forced Scott Fox into a sharp save low down at his right hand post in the 30th minute underlining the fragility of the Thistle lead.
Twice before the break Thistle would come close to extending that narrow advantage. Steven Craig was able to get his head to a hanging cross from Ross Forbes but the ball slipped round the wrong side of the post. Sean Welsh meantime was denied a goal by a superb save from McGovern who turned Welsh’s effort from the edge of the box round the post for a corner.
Scott Fox wasn’t exactly idle either and he had to make an important double save to preserve the Thistle lead with half-time approaching.
In the opening stages of the second half both teams would miss excellent chances to score. Steven Craig saw his shot, after collecting a pass from Chris Erskine, saved by McGovern.
The Thistle number 9 was unlucky not to have scored but his opposite number really should have scored in the 52nd minute. Kieran Duffie’s cross from the right picked out the normally deadly Taylor right in front of the Thistle goal but he somehow managed to screw his shot wide of target when most people inside the ground expected to see the ball in the back of the net.
That proved to be a real turning point in the game as within 12 minutes of that miss the game was all but over and Thistle were out of sight and well on the way to all three points.
In the 62nd minute Thistle were able to put some breathing space between them and Falkirk with a third goal. Falkirk were unable to clear a Forbes corner and when the ball dropped invitingly into the path of Conrad Balatoni the centre back had his second goal of the afternoon.
Two minutes later Thistle had a fourth goal and it was the pick of the afternoon’s goals. Chris Erskine collected James Craigen’s pass and burst through the heart of the Falkirk defence before chipping the ball over the head of McGovern and into the net.
With the points now well and truly safe Thistle could have scored further goals in the time remaining. Steven Craig sent a first time shot from a Sean Welsh cross over the bar but it was really McGovern that stood between Thistle and more goals. He saved well from Stuart Bannigan who had collected Ross Forbes’ perfectly judged pass, and from Chris Erskine with Forbes sending the rebound over the bar.
There were few complaints though about a failure to score more than four from the Thistle fans in 3,000+ crowd at full-time.

Match Reaction

Partick Thistle v Falkirk – 19th January 2013

Yesterday brought Thistle their first win of 2013 and a welcome three points. It was a happy and contented manager Jackie McNamara then that spoke to the press after the game; waiting patiently for the [link:HOME] reporter to finish a phone call before commenting;
“I thought that was a great win for us. There were wee spells in the game that were turning points in the game. They had a chance to go 2-2 although we had a chance just before it to go 3-1 ahead. At that stage I felt that the next goal would be crucial and fortunately Conrad got that goal for us.”
Jackie continued;
“It was nice to see us take our chances today. What a great finish it was from Chris Erskine for his second goal and in the first half McGovern has had a great save from Sean Welsh. I was right behind it and I thought it was in all the way but McGovern has been able to get it round. If that goes in then it is a different game and I thought that we were a little edgy at the start of the second half. They passed the ball and had that chance that I mentioned. Fortunately for us he missed it.”
Jackie was delighted that his side had recorded a win that he felt had been coming in recent weeks.
“To be honest with you I didn’t think that we had been poor and I said to the players before the game that we hadn’t merited some of the results we’ve had recently but it’s all about finishing teams off. Hopefully the players will get a good bit of confidence from doing that today. Today we could have a good six or seven goals which is encouraging. McGovern’s had that save from Welsh and in the second half he’s saved from Bannigan and Erskine with Forbes sending the ball over the bar. I’ve felt for the last few weeks that a goal rush has been coming.”
There was praise for Conrad Balatoni who had scored an unfortunate own goal at Dumbarton last weekend.
“Conrad has a great knack of getting on the end of things. I said to him a couple of weeks ago about the number of things he gets on the end of it inside the box and the chances he gets so I was delighted for him today. After scoring an own goal last week it was a great boost for him to score two today.”
With both Stephen O’Donnell and Aaron Muirhead missing there were a couple of unfamiliar players, firstly Stuart Bannigan and then Sean Welsh, occupying the right back role during the course of the game.
“Stuart Bannigan can play anywhere. The wee man is a great footballer. That’s what he earns his living as; a footballer. We obviously changed things around and put Welsh back to right back and I don’t think that disrupted us at all. I was delighted with everyone today; including the subs that came on during the game.”
Finally the manager provided us with an update on the condition of Steven Lawless who received a nasty facial injury during the first half.
“That’s the only downside of the game today. He’s in hospital with a smashed cheekbone. I thought at the time that it looked bad. He’s got there first and it’s hit off the keeper. If it happened the other way then it would have been a free kick. The important thing though is that it hopefully won’t prove to be too long term as he is a big player for us.”

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