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Match Report

Dundee v Partick Thistle – 12th May 2018

After a long and trying season, Partick Thistle travelled to Dens Park on the final weekend of the regular season still in danger of the automatic drop. The Jags arrived in Dundee two points ahead of Ross County, knowing that a win would see them secure 11th place irrespective of the Staggies result at St. Johnstone. Alan Archibald’s side came into the game off the back of a narrow defeat by Motherwell in midweek and the Thistle boss made two changes to the team that lost to the Steelmen.

Tomas Cerny retained his place between the sticks for Thistle behind and unchanged backline of Paul McGinn, Danny Devine, Baily Cargill and Christie Elliott. Niall Keown, who missed Tuesday’s game through injury also missed this afternoon’s game as he served out a yellow card accumulation suspension. In midfield Martin Woods, Adam Barton and Ryan Edwards remained in the centre of the park while Miles Storey and Steven Lawless came in on the wings, replacing Kris Doolan and Chris Erskine in the starting line-up. Conor Sammon stayed in the team as the lone striker of the team.

Thistle came out of the blocks flying as they looked to gain control of the game early and could have been ahead in the second minute. A looping cross from the Thistle left found the head of central midfielder, Adam Barton who nodded towards goal. His headed attempt was on target but thanks to the hand of Dundee ‘keeper Calum Ferrie, it was turned behind.

The next shot on target of the game didn’t come until the 26th minute and it came for the home side. Simon Murray took the impetus for the hosts and tried to make a move into the Thistle box. He was stopped but the ball broke to Paul McGowan who fired on goal from just inside the box. His shot was well-struck but too central and Tomas Cerny was able to make an easy save to deny the ex-St. Mirren man.

The away side managed to carve out another decent opportunity on 34 minutes. This time Steven Lawless was the main man as he wriggled through the Dundee defence. The winger kept going and going until he finally unleashed a shot with his left foot. Unfortunately, the number 11 was stretching slightly as he shot and as such his effort was weak and easily saved by Calum Ferrie.

The teams went into the break after what had been a 45 minutes of half-chances. Neither team had really taken complete control of the game although both sides had their opportunities. For Thistle it was a familiar story with the Jags failing to capitalise on spells of good early play though there was enough to suggest that the Maryhill men could still win the game. Alan Archibald made one change at the interval as Miles Storey was replaced by Blair Spittal.

As they did in the first half, Thistle began the second period quickly and could have easily been ahead just a minute after the restart. A deep corner by Blair Spittal found Daniel Devine at the back post. The defender then headed goalward finding the target but Calum Ferrie was there to make another strong save, pushing the ball behind for another corner.

Ten minutes into the second 45, the Jags made a second alteration. Ever-reliable frontman, Kris Doolan came on for midfielder Ryan Edwards as Thistle changed to a 4-4-2 formation.

The striker didn’t take long to make an impact either as he netted in the 62nd minute. Adam Barton tackled Simon Murray in the centre circle and Blair Spittal fed Steven Lawless the ball. The ex-Motherwell man then skipped forward and played the ball towards Doolan. His pass took a deflection but found Doolan nevertheless and the attacker was able to poke the ball into the corner past Calum Ferrie. The goal represents Doolan’s 114th for Thistle and means that the forward has now bagged at least ten goals a season for the past eight campaigns, becoming the first Jag to do so.

At this point, all the away side needed to do to ensure they avoided 12th position was hold their lead and they were able to do that. Thistle defended admirably allowing Dundee no real chances in the closing stages. Abdul Osman came on for Conor Sammon in the dying embers of the game to shore up the backline with Adam Barton dropping into a back three.

After two long minutes of additional time, the referee blew the final whistle, confirming that Thistle would be facing a play-off for survival. The Jags end the regular season behind Hamilton on goal difference and four points ahead of the relegated Ross County.

The Maryhill men are back in action on Thursday for the first leg of the Premiership Play-off final. Thistle travel to Lothian for part one of the two-legged affair with information about the game available on Kick-off will be 19:45 at the Tony Macaroni Arena.

THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, McGinn, Devine, Cargill, Elliott, Woods, Barton, Edwards (Doolan, 55’), Lawless, Storey (Spittal, HT), Sammon (Osman, 90’).

UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Scully, Dumbuy, Penrice, Erskine.

DUNDEE TEAM: Ferrie, Kerr, Kusunga, Jefferies, Holt, Kamara, Spence, McGowan (Wolters, 36’), Deacon (El Bakhtaoui, 75’), Wighton (Scott, 61’), Murray.

UNUSED SUBS (DND): Parish, Aurtenetxe, Curran, Moore.

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