Saturday 4th January, 2020 at 6:53pm
2020 began in Clackmannanshire for Partick Thistle as they travelled to take on Alloa Athletic at the Indodrill Stadium in a game which was full of drama, particularly in the second half. A deflected Adam Brown shot beat Scott Fox to give the hosts the lead just after the hour mark but Thistle had a golden opportunity to equalise just ten minutes later as Robbie Deas was penalised for a handball in the box. However, Stuart Bannigan saw his spot kick saved by Jamie MacDonald who was having a mammoth game for Peter Grant’s side. With that, it seemed the away side’s best chance to level might have past but two minutes later, David Munro was pointing at the spot again as Joe Cardle was tripped by Blair Malcolm. Bannigan put himself forward again and this time he made no mistake as he restored parity from 12 yards. That was all in terms of scoring as these teams battled to their third 1-1 of the season and Thistle remained four points clear of Alloa. Jags boss, Ian McCall, spoke to ptfc.co.uk following the final whistle:
“We’re disappointed with the draw. We’ve dominated the game and had the bulk of the attacking threat but their goalkeeper’s pulled off few magnificent saves and earned them a point really. The goal that Alloa scored takes a deflection off one of our players to loop into the net otherwise I think it is a straightforward save for Scott Fox. We were on top for most of the game but we have to take our chances and we didn’t do that.”
Thistle were awarded two second half penalties in quick succession and after missing the first, Stuart Bannigan stepped up to score the second and McCall was pleased to see that bravery from the day’s captain.
“That’s the type of player Banzo is. It takes a lot of courage to step up to take a penalty after you have missed your last one, never mind the fact it was a couple of minutes apart. He believes in himself and even after missing the first one, I completely trusted him to go and score the second. Overall, he’s really improved in the last month or so and he’s a key part of this side.”
Tam O’Ware missed out through illness but the gaffer doesn’t expect the Jags number four to be missing for too much longer.
“Tam was ill today but I thought we did well defensively today. We’ll monitor how Tam is feeling but I think he will be back in training for the start of the week.
The Jags were pushing and pushing towards the end of the game but just couldn’t find a winner and the gaffer felt his team should have done better considering the positions they got themselves in.
“We were right on top of them towards the end but we struggled to create much after the equaliser. We were getting in down the wings and getting crosses to the box but it was always falling to the defenders or going out of play so there’s still some work to do in that regard.”
With a handful of departures last week there are spaces to be filled this month in the squad and the manager says he’s working hard to get deals done.
“It’s always a bit slow at the start of the month because lots of teams want to take stock of what they have before they allow for movement but still we’re trying to make moves happen. We need to strengthen the squad and we’ll hopefully have more to report soon.”
Finally the gaffer had a message for the Jags support that made the trip to Clackmannanshire.
“It was another tremendous turnout from our fans. They got right behind the side and kept pushing us on, it just wasn’t to be for us getting the winner in front of them which would have seen half the ground going absolutely mental.”
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