Saturday 4th February, 2017 at 10:09pm
Since the turn of the year, it had been one win, one draw and one loss for Partick Thistle in competitive action. However, the Jags were still looking for their first Ladbrokes Premiership victory of 2017 as they made the near 150 mile journey from Glasgow to Aberdeen to take on the Dons at Pittodrie.
There were four changes to the Thistle side that started against St. Johnstone earlier in the week. Mustapha Dumbuya made his first competitive start of the season, replacing Callum Booth who missed out through injury. Loanee, Niall Keown, dropped to the bench making way for Daniel Devine. Club captain Abdul Osman returned to the first eleven with Sean Welsh finding himself among the substitutes alongside Chris Erskine who was replaced by David Amoo. The Jags’ January signing, Jason Banton, was named on the bench as he continues to build towards match fitness.
The match started slowly but kicked into life in the 13th minute when Aberdeen created the game’s first opportunity. Kenny McLean was able to match on to a clever knockdown. He took a touch and steadied himself before hitting the ball on the half-volley. Thankfully for the Jags, the shot was at a comfortable height for Tomas Cerny and the Czech ‘stopper was able to parry away from danger.
Three minutes later, Thistle had a chance of their own. David Amoo was able to find space in behind the Aberdeen back line and got his head up looking for a teammate to cut the ball back to. He spotted Kris Doolan, stood five yards from goal, and tried to pick out the striker. However, Dons defender, Ash Taylor, was on hand to turn the ball behind for a corner, denying Doolan a tap-in.
The next opening fell for the home side. A floated cross into the Thistle box was aimed towards Adam Rooney. The Northern-Irish striker attempted a speculative overhead kick that he slightly misjudged. Luckily for Rooney, the ball deflected off his foot landing at the feet of Andrew Considine who was at the far side of the box. The defender hit a half-volley towards goal but the shot was weak and straight at Cerny, causing the ‘keeper no trouble whatsoever.
In the 24th minute the visiting side had another chance to open the scoring, this time through Christie Elliott. Adam Barton lifted a ball over the Aberdeen defence finding the run of Elliott who was breaking in on goal. The Englishman struggled to get the ball under control and failed to connect well with his shot, scuffing his shot allowing Dons goalkeeper Joe Lewis to collect easily.
At 27 minutes in, Aberdeen had their first clear cut chance of the match. Niall McGinn whipped a corner into the Jags’ box aiming for Ash Taylor who had managed to lose his marker. The centre-half had a free header and nodded the ball towards Thistle’s goal. Unfortunately for Taylor, his attempt missed the target, rebounding off the support post behind the goal.
As the interval approached Aberdeen struggled to create anything more than half chances. Graeme Shinnie saw a long range strike saved by Cerny and Kenny McLean’s attempt from a difficult angle hit the side netting, but despite their best efforts, the hosts couldn’t find the breakthrough before the half.
Thistle went into the break having defended well and threatened on the break. David Amoo’s pace and trickery had been causing the home team’s defence a lot of problems but there was no goal to show for it. No changes were made at the half way point.
The referee got the game underway for the second half and just five minutes in the deadlock was almost broken. Christie Elliott found space on the left wing and hit a deep cross towards the back post where Ryan Edwards was waiting. The Australian rose to meet the ball with a diving header but could only direct his effort a foot wide of the post.
Two minutes prior to the hour mark Kris Doolan made way for Ade Azeez. Six minutes after this, Aberdeen made two very attacking changes. Derek McInnes took defenders, Shay Logan and Mark Reynolds off, replacing them with Ryan Christie and Jayden Stockley.
Nine minutes after the substitutions were made, they began to repay their manager’s faith in them as the Dons took the lead with 17 minutes left. After Cerny was forced into a save by Johnny Hayes, Aberdeen had a corner to take. The corner found substitute Stockley who headed home after losing his marker. It was a goal that Thistle would be disappointed about. After defending so well for 73 minutes, it was a slack bit of marking that allowed the Reds to score.
Following the goal, Chris Erskine was brought on in place of David Amoo to try to add some creativity to the Thistle attack.
Aberdeen almost doubled their lead immediately as Adam Rooney was played through by an over-the-top ball. He latched on to the end of the aforementioned high pass and tried to get the ball down. He managed to get into position for a shot and he blasted an attempt low towards goal. Jags ‘keeper Tomas Cerny got down low to his right to stop the shot excellently, keeping his side in the game for now.
In the 79th minute, the visitors had their last big chance of the match. Daniel Devine hit a curled ball around the Dons’ defence finding Azeez in behind. The striker controlled and shot but under pressure and from a difficult angle, he could only find the outside of the post.
Thistle would be made to rue their missed opportunities as the home side doubled their lead in added time. Jayden Stockley found space in the Jags box and decided to selflessly cut the ball back to fellow substitute Ryan Christie who was then able to slot the ball under Cerny making it 2-0.
This capped off a disappointing afternoon for the travelling Jags who would feel that it was definitely a match they could have taken something from. Unfortunately it was another case of being unable to score with Thistle’s last league goal coming in late December against Dundee.
Alan Archibald’s men now look towards next Saturday’s William Hill Scottish cup game against St. Johnstone at McDairmid Park for a chance at redemption as they look to continue their cup journey.
Thistle: Cerny, Dumbuya, Lindsay, Osman (C), Amoo (Erskine, 72), Doolan (Azeez, 57), Lawless, Barton, Elliott, Devine, Edwards (Nisbet, 80)
Thistle subs: Ridgers, Welsh, Erskine, Azeez, Keown, Banton, Nisbet
Aberdeen: Lewis, Logan (Christie, 63), Shinnie, Considine, Taylor, Reynolds (Stockley, 64), McLean, Rooney (O’Connor, 82), McGinn, Hayes, Jack (C)
Aberdeen subs: Alexander, O’Connor, Pawlett, Christie, Stockley, Storey, Wright