Saturday 14th February, 2015 at 10:18am
Thistle made their second visit up to Dens Park this season, on the back of a 3-0 defeat against Celtic in midweek. With Dundee missing top scorer, Greg Stewart, and an out of form David Clarkson relegated to the bench, hopes were high among the Jags support and hopes were high that the Jags could get back on track in the league and close the gap on the teams above them.
Manager, Alan Archibald, made one change from the midweek starting eleven with Gary Fraser replacing Ryan Stevenson who dropped to the bench. Abdul Osman captained the side.
Thistle kicked off and immediately took the game to the home side. A long throw from O’Donnell caused confusion in the Dundee defence but, unfortunately for Thistle, Elliott could not quite get close enough to get a touch. In the fifth minute a terrific ball from Fraser found McDaid in behind the home defence and, as he bore in to the box, he appeared to be bundled over. The ref played advantage as the ball fell to Taylor who fired inches wide from eight yards with Bain beaten.
The Dens Parkers briefly threatened when Heffernan could not convert an opportunity after Harris had set him up. The Jags were soon back on the front foot though and, after a good patient build up, Bannigan found McDaid wide who turned his man with a great piece of skill only to see his cross collected by Dee keeper, Bain. There was a brief scare at the other end as Fox’s pass hit off Heffernan in his own box but thankfully the ball broke kindly for the Jags keeper. Elliott then did well to get in between McPake and Konrad to get his head on an O’Donnell cross but, from seven yards out, he headed over.
It was an open affair as McGowan then fired tamely wide of goal, before a Bannigan free kick was met by the late run of Elliott whose flick was just wide of the target. Thistle began to really take the game to the home side forcing five corners in a row in the 24th minute and from the last of them Balatoni got ahead of his man to meet Bannigan’s corner but could only head over. Three minutes later and the same pair combined from another corner, in truth Balatoni should perhaps have done better from a free header but could only put the ball over the bar.
Thistle continued to be on top in the game and frustrations were growing among the home support as Thistle looked for the opening goal that their play and pressure deserved. Thistle continued to look the better side when McDaid found Elliott with a good ball and his drilled cross into the six yard box was inviting but not enough so to attract the finishing touch. McAllister volleyed over from a McGowan pass and, just before half time, Harris forced a wonderful save from an injured Scott Fox who dived full length to push the ball wide.
At half time a thigh strain forced Fox off and he was replaced by Gallacher. The second half was slow to start with the only real Thistle chance coming when McDaid found Elliott with a fantastic cross field pass to allow him a run at the defence. Unfortunately his first touch was poor and the chance was lost. Heffernan then shot wide from inside the box after the ball somehow went straight through the Jags’ defence. At the other end, Taylor knocked a deflected Fraser cross wide as the game became very much a midfield battle and the half was punctuated by a number of substitutions from both sides. A little of the fluency from Thistle had gone compared to the first half.
In the 67th minute McPake had the ball in the net after the Jags defence had struggled to clear, but he was rightly ruled offside. Thistle were forcing enough set pieces but Bain was catching every ball that came into the box. McDaid saw an effort go high over the bar from an O’Donnell knock down but in truth the chances were few and far between.
In injury time Gallacher collected a Harkins free kick and Thistle countered at pace. With a potential four on one situation Thistle drove forward but Doolan’s pass to Stevenson was cut out well. Dundee broke forward and when the ball came to Harkins he showed composure to turn his man and lay the ball into the path of McGowan four yards out. The Dundee man made no mistake and slotted home to make it 1-0.
A cruel end to the game with Thistle failing to capitalise on the pressure of the first half.