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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Dundee United v Partick Thistle – 23rd November 2013

There was more disappointment for Thistle as they went down to their second 4-1 Tannadice defeat of the season but while the score line from the League Cup tie could be considered harsh on Thistle the Jags could have few complaints surrounding their latest reverse.
After a fortnight’s break without a game Alan Archibald made three changes for this match. Suspension ruled out Stephen O’Donnell while Stevie Lawless and Gabriel Piccolo dropped to the bench. In their place came Jordan McMillan, making his first appearance of the season, Aaron Muirhead and Ross Forbes.
Pre-match Alan Archibald had spoken of the importance of scoring the first goal and he would have been frustrated in the extreme then to see his side concede the first goal with less than 90 seconds on the clock. Ryan Gauld, who would torment Thistle throughout the game, spotted Gary Mackay-Stevens to his left and he placed a shot beyond Scott Fox and into the back of the net.
The remainder of the first was a pretty one-sided affair and Thistle were fortunate in the extreme not to be trailing by more than that early goal by half-time. It took a well-timed tackle from Conrad Balatoni to halt the progress of Gauld as he advanced on the Thistle goal before, just seconds later, Scott Fox produced an excellent save to deny Ciftci. All this still inside the game’s first 5 minutes.
Still the pressure from the home side mounted and Balatoni had to clear an Armstrong effort from close to the Thistle goal line before Paul Paton curled a shot just inches wide of the Thistle goal.
In the 25th minute it took a fantastic last ditch goal line clearance from Aaron Muirhead to keep the score at just 1-0 after an Armstrong pass set up Mackay-Stevens who knocked the ball beyond the reach of Scott Fox. Muirhead’s late intervention taking him into the back of the net which necessitated a halt in play while the net was repaired.
The pattern of play changed little after the break in play with United continuing to do virtually all the attacking. Thistle did have a half chance when Kris Doolan nearly profited from a slack headed back pass from Gunning but his attempted lob didn’t escape the reach of Cierzniak.
The first chance of the second half came United’s way with Fox blocking a Gauld shot with his legs but there was distinct improvement from Thistle who began to impose themselves on proceedings for the first time and in the 56th minute they were, literally, handed a way back into the game; Ross Forbes shot clearly being handled inside the box by Souttar. Aaron Muirhead confidently slotted home the resultant penalty.
For a spell immediately after that goal there was the prospect of even better to come from Thistle. James Craigen found room at the edge of the United box but his shot lacked power and Paul Paton was fortunate to receive only a yellow card for a late challenge on Taylor-Sinclair as Thistle stepped up the pressure.
United, however, were back in front in the 69th minute. Andrew Robertson got in behind the Thistle defence down the United left and he buried a low drive past Scott Fox.
John Rankin was a whisker away from a third United goal in the 73rd minute with a shot that rattled off the base of the Thistle post.
Just a minute later, however, the game did take a decisive turn in United’s direction when Conrad Balatoni collected a second yellow card leaving Thistle to complete the match with ten men.
United wasted no time in taking advantage of their numerical supremacy; Gauld slipping the ball through to Mackay-Stevens who netted his second goal of the game with 14 minutes of the game remaining.
Christie Elliott came close with a shot that was deflected wide as they tried to stage an unlikely comeback but the game’s final goal came at the other end with Brian Graham firing high into the back of the Thistle net in the 84th minute.
A miserable afternoon for Thistle got worst when Stuart Bannigan received a straight red card as the game reached the 90 minute mark. Thistle at least were saved the pain of conceding a fifth goal when Fox saved from Goodwillie in injury time but it was an afternoon best forgotten.

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