Tuesday 1st March, 2022 at 11:21pm
After a scoreless stalemate at Stark’s Park against Raith Rovers on Saturday, Partick Thistle made the trip to Angus to take on Arbroath in a rearranged cinch Championship clash.
The Jags were looking to gain some ground on the table-topping Smokies who had beaten Thistle twice already this season.
Ian McCall made five changes to the side which drew in Kirkcaldy at the weekend with Richard Foster, Stephen Hendrie, Robbie Crawford, Alex Jakubiak and Kyle McAllister moved to the bench to be replaced by Ciaran McKenna, Kevin Holt, Kyle Turner, Brian Graham and Scott Tiffoney.
A slow start to the game set the Jags back against Raith so the Maryhill men would have been hoping for a better opening this time round, however, they got the exact opposite. Five minutes into the game Arbroath were ahead and it was left-back Colin Hamilton who got the goal. A throw-in from the left touchline was worked towards the Thistle box before the ball deflected off Ross Docherty into Hamilton’s path. The number three steadied himself and slotted home confidently to give the hosts an early advantage.
Things then went from bad to worse for Thistle as Scott Tiffoney was forced off injured after ten minutes with Robbie Crawford taking the winger’s place.
Arbroath continued to control the first half without creating too much until the 28th minute when Jamie Sneddon was called into action for the first time of the evening. Bobby Linn stepped up to take a free-kick from 25 yards out and the Lichties legend struck it brilliantly, sending it towards the top corner. Sneddon dashed across his goal-line and was able to touch it onto the outside of the post with the ball bouncing out for a corner.
The visitors very slowly started building their way into the game as the first half came to a close and they had their best moment of the opening period with three minutes to go until the break. A Kyle Turner corner was floated into the Arbroath penalty area and home ‘keeper Derek Gaston completely missed the ball. It ricocheted back past a prone Gaston before Lewis Mayo latched onto it. He tried a shot on the spin but it was blocked and the danger was cleared.
Thistle made changes two and three of the game at half-time as Richard Foster and Juan Alegria were introduced to the contest, the latter of whom was making his Jags debut a day after signing on loan from Rangers.
The Colombian almost made an instant impact too as he went lose two minutes after coming on. Cammy Smith wriggled away from two defenders just inside the Arbroath box and managed to dig out a cross to the near post where Alegria was waiting. The 19-year-old threw himself at the delivery but could only send his header over the bar from relatively close range.
Shortly thereafter Arbroath were back on the attack and could have been in front again. A corner which was initially cleared by the away side came back at them in a flash. A ball into the box rebounded into the path of Bobby Linn who rifled a shot goalwards, but Jamie Sneddon was on hand once again to foil the wideman’s efforts.
Then Thistle struck their equaliser through an unlikely source. The Jags were working the ball well in the opposition half before it eventually made its way to Ciaran McKenna on the right side. The number 16 took a touch, took a look at the goal and then drilled a low shot across goal past Derek Gaston for his first Thistle goal.
Five minutes later the Jags could have been ahead. A smart free-kick from Stuart Bannigan found the run of Brian Graham in the Arbroath box as the home side were caught sleeping, however, the frontman’s left-footed shot snuck just past the far post.
Neither side was settling for the point with half-chances for both sides as the clock ticked down. Probably the best chance of the closing stages fell to Kevin Holt as the defender almost marked his return from injury with an 86th minute winner. Brian Graham lifted a terrific ball over the Arbroath defence for substitute Connor Murray to sprint onto and the number 17 cut onto his left side before sliding a lovely pass across to the onrushing Holt. The former Dundee man tried to squeeze a shot past Derek Gaston into the bottom left-hand corner but fired his shot just wide of the goal.
With that the game ended level with each team earning a point from this game in hand. The Red Lichties now sit a point clear of Kilmarnock at the Championship summit while Thistle move into the top four on goal difference at the expense of Inverness with a couple of games in hand still to play.