Tuesday 23rd April, 2019 at 11:30pm
Thistle travelled to Somerset Park on Tuesday evening looking to move up to sixth in the Ladbrokes Championship table as they finally played a twice rescheduled game against Ayr United.
Gary Caldwell made a few changes to the side which started in a 2-1 win over Alloa Athletic three days prior. Jamie Sneddon retained his spot in goals with a re-organised defence in front of him. The side went back to a four man defence with Christie Elliott, Steven Anderson, Sean McGinty and James Penrice forming the backline. Stuart Bannigan returned from suspension at the base of the midfield alongside Gary Harkins who was brought from the start after an impressive substitute’s showing the previous Saturday against Alloa. Shea Gordon sat just ahead of those two with Aidan Fitzpatrick and Joe Cardle on either side of him, offering attacking support from the wings. Up front, Scott McDonald was the lone striker with Kris Doolan dropping to the bench. On the bench alongside Doolan were Conor Hazard, Steven Saunders, Blair Spittal, Craig Slater, Miles Storey and Lewis Mansell.
Thistle fell behind early on in their weekend fixture against Alloa but were able to avoid a similar situation in Ayrshire as they instead took the lead themselves. A James Penrice cross from the left flank saw Ross Doohan clash with Scott McDonald in the air. Doohan got two hands to the ball but only punched it as far as Shea Gordon who took one touch and fired an excellent half-volley into the top corner, netting his first goal since the opening day of the season.
Joe Cardle almost doubled the lead six minutes later when Shea Gordon won the ball back from Ayr and fed it to the number 32 on the left-hand side. He then cut onto his right foot and fired a shot towards the near post, however, Ross Doohan had it covered and made a simple save.
In the 32nd minute, Scott McDonald was forced off due to a head knock he took in the act of challenging for the ball with Ross Doohan just before Thistle’s goal. He was replaced by Kris Doolan who was making his 400th appearance for Partick Thistle.
Doolan’s first chance of the game came with four minutes of the first half left when Gary Harkins knocked the ball around the corner for the number nine. Doolan ran onto the pass and fired a powerful shot towards goal from a very tight angle though he was only able to find the side netting.
Shea Gordon had an excellent chance to score a second goal of the game on 53 minutes. Doolan fed the ball through to Gordon with a flick between the Ayr defenders and Gordon tried to slot the ball low into the far corner. Unfortunately for the midfielder, Doohan got down sharply to make the save.
Both Blair Spittal and Miles Storey came on for Aidan Fitzpatrick and Joe Cardle respectively to help Thistle see the game out and that’s exactly what they did, claiming a vital three points which took them from ninth to sixth.
The victory made it five games unbeaten for Thistle with just one defeat in their last eight league away games.
PARTICK THISTLE TEAM: Sneddon, Penrice, McGinty, Anderson, Elliott, Bannigan, Harkins, Gordon, Cardle (Storey, 72′), Fitzpatrick (Spittal, 55′), McDonald (Doolan, 32′).
UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Hazard, Saunders, Slater, Mansell.
AYR UNITED TEAM: Doohan, Smith, Rose, Muirhead, Harvie, Kerr, Murdoch (Forrest, 70′), Crawford (McCowan, 82′), Cadden (McDaid, HT), Miller, Moffat.
UNUSED SUBS (AYR): Hare-Reid, Geggan, Ecrepont.