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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Alloa Athletic v Partick Thistle – 16th February 2019

A trip to the Indodrill Stadium awaited Partick Thistle as the Maryhill men aimed to make it three away wins in a row, for the first time since 2013, with a victory over Alloa.

The two teams went into the game in contrasting form with the hosts looking to end a run of four straight defeats while the Jags sought a fifth consecutive win in all competitions. Thistle had also scored the opening goal in every one of their six games since the turn of the year.

There were two changes made to the side which edged past East Fife last Saturday with Steven Saunders and Miles Storey both missing through injuries sustained at Bayview. Conor Hazard maintained his spot in goals behind a defence which had reverted to a back four in the absence of Saunders. Christie Elliott and James Penrice were the full-backs while Jack McMillan and Steven Anderson completed the backline. In midfield, it was Stuart Bannigan, Craig Slater, Gary Harkins and Blair Spittal in behind a front two of Aidan Fitzpatrick and Kris Doolan. On the bench for the Jags it was Jamie Sneddon, Sean McGinty, Callum Wilson, Lewis Mansell, Ally Roy, Souleymane Coulibaly and new addition, Scott McDonald who only signed his Thistle contract a day ahead of the game.

In tune with their other games in 2019, the Jags started on the front foot and with that, they bagged their quickest league goal of the season on four minutes. It all came from a James Penrice throw in as the number three gave the ball to Blair Spittal with the throw before getting it back immediately. He then whipped a delivery into the front post area where Kris Doolan managed to bring it down despite pressure from Andy Graham. Doolan then laid the ball back to Blair Spittal who lashed it into the roof of the net with the effort’s pure power taking it past Neil Parry.

After that blistering start, the game settled down to a steadier pace with the midfield battle the most interesting part of the game. Apart from a couple of ranged attempts by Craig Slater and Stuart Bannigan there were no chances until the 35th minute when the Jags went close on two occasions in quick succession.

First of all, it was Gary Harkins who almost nabbed his first goal for Thistle since returning to the Club. He got on the end of a low corner which was delivered to the near post with the number 11 hitting it first time, looking for the bottom corner. His effort was cleared off the line with the ball finding its way to Jack McMillan on the opposite side of the box. He attempted a lifted cross to the back post which ended up beating Neil Parry and rebounding off the crossbar with the ball inches away from sneaking into the net.

The home side did have one opportunity before the interval through Wasps number seven, Kevin Cawley. The midfielder picked up the ball around the 18-yard line before opening it up for a right-footed shot. He bent an effort towards goal but Conor Hazard was down quickly to turn the ball away from goal.

The referee then blew for half-time with the away side entering the break a goal ahead. Thistle’s early goal had been by far and away the best chance of the opening 45 minutes with neither team seriously threatening to score in the following minutes preceding half-time.

The visitors almost made an even quicker start to the second half than that of the first as Kris Doolan fired a shot just past the post on 47 minutes. The number nine was fed the ball around 20 yards from goal, letting it roll past him before firing a left-footed half-volley goalwards. His shot flew past Neil Parry at pace but unfortunately just skipped wide of the post.

The Jags’ first substitution of the game was committed after 64 minutes when Aidan Fitzpatrick was withdrawn to be replaced by Scott McDonald, who was making his first appearance for Thistle just 24 hours after being unveiled as a Jag.

He almost left his mark on the game three minutes into his Jags career as he got a sight of goal with 23 minutes to play. Stuart Bannigan battled and won the ball high up the pitch, getting the ball to Kris Doolan before the striker fed McDonald. The Australian’s first touch was good but with his second, he could only fire the ball over the bar from a tight angle.

Another Thistle change was made in the 78th minute when Lewis Mansell came on for Kris Doolan and the number 30 only needed one touch to help Thistle towards a vital second goal. Gary Harkins picked up the ball on the right flank before knocking the ball into the box. The freshly introduced Mansell headed down to Scott McDonald who after controlling, poked the ball past Neil Parry to make it 2-0.

The away side’s final substitution came when Gary Harkins was withdrawn with Callum Wilson being introduced for just his second league game for the first team.

The only late threat Alloa offered came right at the beginning of the five added minutes that were played with Jack McMillan being needed to clear the ball off the line. It came from good work by Jordan Kirkpatrick on the right wing with his low cross finding Liam Dick. The left-back couldn’t get a shot away but the ball did fall to Jack Hamilton and with Conor Hazard out of position, it looked like an easy finish for the forward. However, his effort was blocked on the goal-line by Jack McMillan who had positioned himself well between the sticks.

The final whistle then went and Thistle secured five wins a row for the first time since a run that ended in August 2016. The victory moved them above their opponents as well as Falkirk with the Jags now sat in eighth place.

Next up is the visit of Ross County as the league leaders come to Maryhill for the second time this season. Kick-off is 15:00 from the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.


PARTICK THISTLE TEAM: Hazard, Elliott, McMillan, Anderson, Penrice, Bannigan, Harkins (Wilson, 86’), Slater, Spittal, Doolan (Mansell, 78’), Fitzpatrick (McDonald, 64’).

UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Sneddon, McGinty, Coulibaly, Roy.


ALLOA ATHLETIC TEAM: Parry, Dick, Roscoe, Graham, Taggart, Cawley (Kirkpatrick, 73’), Flannigan, Hetherington (Robertson, 83’), Shields, Trouten (Hamilton, 81’), Zanatta.

UNUSED SUBS (ALL): Henry, Brown.

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