Saturday 13th July, 2013 at 1:54pm
Thistle took their tally of goals from their last two pre-season outings to nine with a 4-3 win over Dumbarton. The quality of the football that Thistle produced at times was excellent but equally there was a casualness at the back that allowed the final score to be a little closer than it perhaps should have been.
Even though Thistle won last season’s First Division with a bit to spare they encountered a few problems in their away fixtures with Dumbarton; collecting just one point from a possible six and failing to register a single goal. They fell behind in this game as well. Just over four minutes were on the clock when Mark Gilhaney had time and space at the back post to nod the ball home from about a yard out.
Worse could have followed less than two minutes later. Ross Smith was allowed a free header from a corner from the left with Thistle left thankful that Smith’s header lacked accuracy.
There had been signs, however, in those early stages that Thistle were looking sharp coming forward and they were back on level terms in the 10th minute. A series of passes around the edge of the Dumbarton penalty box left James Craigen with just the keeper to beat and he confidently steered the ball beyond Grindlay and into the net.
Three minutes later Thistle were close to taking the lead. Ross Forbes’ cross from the left picked out John Baird and Grindlay did well to claw the ball round the post for a corner.
Thistle though did take the lead in the 20th minute. Steven Lawless was a constant threat to Dumbarton every time he got the ball and he had a huge part to play in this goal. His surging run ended with his squaring the ball to Ross Forbes to his left and Forbes low drive found the bottom corner of the net.
Just prior to the half hour mark Thistle had a third goal although there was a touch of good fortune surrounding this strike. James Craigen’s lofted cross into the box wasn’t a great one but the ball caught in the wind and when Grindlay good only punch clear Stephen O’Donnell was on hand to gather it and lash a shot high into the net.
Thistle were close a number of times to extending their lead further before the half-time whistle. Ross Forbes curled a free kick just over the bar and John Baird too saw an effort clear the Dumbarton crossbar with not too much to spare.
Steven Lawless’ performance merited a goal and he was twice close to scoring it before the interval; firstly his angled drive went wide of goal before Grindlay had to save low to his left to keep a Lawless effort out.
It was Sean Welsh though that was closest to a fourth goal for Thistle before half-time with Grindlay doing well to turn his powerful drive round the post for a corner.
A little over two minutes of the second half had been completed when the game had another goal. The slackness that had littered some of Thistle’s defending in the opening half reared its’ head again and Scott Agnew was able to find the net with a shot that was deflected wide of the grasp of Scott Fox.
Thistle though were able to re-establish their two goal lead in the 57th minute. Ross Forbes touched a free kick into the path of trialist Mark Kerr who was lurking to his right and Kerr’s shot from fully 30 yards out beat Grindlay for the pick of the game’s seven goals.
As is the norm in pre-season fixtures there were frequent substitutions during the course of the second half and that unquestionably had an impact on the rhythm of the game.
Dumbarton though were able to reduce the gap to just a solitary goal with 19 minutes remaining when Megginson was able, unmarked, to tuck the ball home from six yards out.
The home side could even have been level with 7 minutes of the game remaining when Garry Fleming curling shot wasn’t too far away from finding its’ intended target.
Thistle too were close to scoring before the end of the game. In what was the last serious action of what had been an entertaining fixture; James Craigen was only denied his second goal of the afternoon by a fine stop by Grindlay who did well to tip Craigen’s 25 yard effort over the bar.