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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Dundee United WFC v Partick Thistle WFC – March 12th 2023

As a spectacle there have been better matches involving Partick Thistle WFC and there will unquestionably be better in the future, but this was arguably the most significant match in the Club’s short history.

As Thistle arrived in Dundee ahead of the final pre-split fixture a place in the top six was tantalisingly close with the journey from the lowest reaches of the Scottish game to the top half of the top flight, in less than 10 years, nearly concluded.

There was, however, the small matter of 90 minutes of football to played first against a side, although below Thistle in the league still one that had pressed Thistle right to the end at Petershill Park earlier in the season before going down by a goal to nil.

The outcome though was very much in Thistle’s own hands. A victory and results elsewhere would be irrelevant. A top six place would be theirs.

There was understandably some nerves about, nerves that would have been settled by an early goal. That early Thistle goal never materialised though they did come close. Abbie Ferguson brushed aside one of the number of heavy challenges that would come her way before finding Cara Henderson to her right. Henderson’s low cross in turn nearly found Linzi Taylor in front of goal but the ball squirmed away from her before being cleared.

Once fully settled into the game the bulk of the pressing came from Thistle. Henderson was able to get on the end of a long ball, outpaced her marker but when within clear sight of goal dragged her effort wide. She would have better fortune in front of goal not too much later.

Before that though Thistle had come close again. Great skill from Taylor allowed her to find space in the Thistle midfield. She swept the ball out wide to Rachel Donaldson on the left and her cross was narrowly side footed over the bar by Ferguson.

Taylor herself tested the home keeper with a long range free kick before Thistle took a deserved lead after 24 minutes.

It was a delightful through ball from Ferguson that put Henderson through on goal, and this time there was no mistake. Henderson took one touch to steady herself before deftly slipping a right foot shot past McNicoll.

Although Thistle were the better side there were moments of anxiety. Brief in nature but no less anxious for that. A Guthrie cross slid across the frame of Megan Cunningham’s goal and a Bruce shot was headed away from goal by Demi Falconer, though it looked as if Cunningham had it covered in any case.

Thistle started the second half on the front foot looking for the comfort that second goal would bring. There was an early chance when Amy Bulloch knocked a Donaldson cross wide of goal.

While Thistle remained on top, like the first half there were the odd anxious moment as Thistle looked to keep a clean sheet that they now knew would secure a top six place. A Harkin free kick caught the outside edge of Cunningham’s left hand post and Cunningham saved low down to keep out a Guthrie shot, though in truth that effort lacked the pace to truly trouble the Thistle keeper.

By that point United were reduced to ten players when Donald, who was given a torrid afternoon by Ferguson, collected a second yellow card in a short space of time.

That Thistle weren’t able to turn that numerical superiority into a second goal was not for the lack of effort, or lack of chances. A flowing move finished with a Donaldson shot going agonisingly wide of target and the same player couldn’t quite squeeze the ball past McNicoll at her near post.

There were late chances for Ferguson to score what would have been a richly deserved goal. After collecting a gem of a pass from substitute Jordan McLintock she was denied by the foot of McNicoll before McNicoll again thwarted Ferguson after she had been set up by a threaded pass from Taylor.

There was one last chance for Thistle, and Ferguson, before the finish. Again it was Taylor that created the opening and this time it was the outstretched leg of the United keeper that kept the ball out.

There were four minutes of injury time played before the referee blew the whistle for full-time sparking scenes of wild celebration among the Thistle players. Celebrations that continued well into the night.

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