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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Cowdenbeath v Partick Thistle – 30th March 2013

There are moments to reflect back on at the conclusion of any season; moments that seem more significant than others. With this encounter with Cowdenbeath deep into injury time we may well have encountered one of those moments. Thistle led, deservedly, 2-1 but Cowdenbeath had a free kick almost on the very edge of the Thistle box directly in front of goal. The Thistle travelling support, which numbered in the region of 800, held their collective breathes as Jamie Stevenson’s free kick smacked against the crossbar before an outstretched foot of Scott Fox prevented the rebound from finding the net. A couple of minutes later the full-time whistle sounded and Thistle had moved four points clear at the top of the First Division. Who knows how significant those events could prove to be come the end of the season.
Returning to events prior to kick-off Thistle made just one change to the starting eleven that had won so impressively at the same venue just three days earlier. Injury ruled out Paul Paton with Stuart Bannigan slotting nicely into his role in the Thistle midfield.
For much of the first half the pattern of this game closely mirrored that of the midweek game with Thistle pressing Cowdenbeath at every opportunity and looking in total control of proceedings.
The first half chance arrived in in the fifth minute with Stephen O’Donnell crossing from the right for Steven Lawless but Lawless could do no more than lift the ball harmlessly over the crossbar.
Thistle though would take a 12th minute lead. Kris Doolan timed his run perfectly to latch onto a forward ball and when left with just Colin Stewart to beat he did so with confidence and very much in the style of a striker bang in form.
He could even have added a second just two minutes later. James Craigen’s excellent corner from the left reached Doolan at the back post but the ball appeared to hit off Doolan and went wide of goal.
Doolan was proving to be a real handful for Cowdenbeath defence and he was close again in the 26th minute. Sean Welsh was able to lift the ball over the Cowdenbeath defence into Doolan’s path. A defender, however, was able to make enough of a block to take a sufficient amount of the pace off Doolan’s shot to allow Stewart to save.
James Craigen was the next Thistle player to have an opportunity but with Steven Lawless’ cutback from right on the bye-line such a little behind him, Craigen could do no better than scoop the ball over the bar.
Cowdenbeath had offered virtually nothing going forward at this stage and it was a major surprise, therefore, when they equalised with the game just past the half hour mark. The Thistle defence for once went to sleep as Scott Linton’s long throw came into the box and Craig Moore was able to nod the ball into the net.
Thistle pressed to re-establish their lead before the interval but they were never really able to create a clear cut opening. In addition to a series of penalty appeals, all of which were turned down by the referee, a Chris Erskine shot that took a touch off a Cowdenbeath defender and a Steven Lawless cross across the face of goal were the closest opportunities Thistle had of scoring again before the interval.
There was little change to pattern of the game after the restart. More than a few Thistle fans thought that a Stuart Bannigan shot had found the back of the net rather than go just inches wide in the 48th minute as Thistle continued to dominate.
They had to wait, however, until the 62nd minute to nudge themselves back in front. Kris Doolan was again the scorer heading home from close range but it was excellent play from the impressive James Craigen that provided him with the opportunity.
A third goal would have gone a long way to removing any Thistle nerves and Steven Lawless was a fraction away from giving Thistle the breathing space of a two goal advantage. Kris Doolan flicked the ball on for him and although Lawless lifted the ball over Stewart’s head he also lifted it over the bar.
James Craigen again nearly set up Kris Doolan for an opportunity to score in the 79th minute and a Chris Erskine shot went narrowly wide with just three minutes of the 90 remaining as Thistle sought to make the points secure.
It was really only in injury time that the home side looked a threat. It may have been an injustice had they snatched an equaliser right at the death but Thistle had the frame of the goal and then Scott Fox to thank for them failing to do so.

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