Tuesday 22nd March, 2022 at 11:50pm
Off the back of successive cinch Championship defeats to Greenock Morton and Hamilton Accies, Partick Thistle were looking to bounce back as they played their final game in hand against Dunfermline Athletic at East End Park.
The Jags and the Pars hadn’t met since the end of November when a Ross Docherty stunner separated the teams in the Scottish Cup.
Ian McCall made two changes that had lost heavily to Hamilton three days prior with Scott Tiffoney and Richard Foster returning from injury to take the places of Kyle Turner and Tunji Akinola.
Following their humbling defeat at the hands of the Accies, Thistle would have been looking for a good start and they got it with Ross Docherty firing them in front after five minutes. Ciaran McKenna advanced down the right flank and delivered into the Pars’ box where Robbie Crawford couldn’t quite control the ball. It deflected out towards Docherty and the Jags’ skipper coolly curled a right-footed shot past Deniz Mehmet to put his side one up.
That positive start didn’t last long however as Dunfermline struck back in the 10th minute. Matthew Todd picked up a loose ball wide on the right and swung a dangerous ball in towards the Thistle six-yard box. Lewis Mayo had positioned himself well to get to the ball first but as he attempted to make a clearance, it spun up off his leg and into the back of the net.
The visitors could have found themselves back in front very soon after that equaliser as Juan Alegria had a chance to get his first goal for the club. A Stuart Bannigan corner made its way through to the back post where the Colombian was stationed and although he couldn’t control with his first touch, Kevin Holt was able to poke the ball back to him. He tried to squeeze a left-footed shot past Deniz Mehmet from a tight angle but the ex-Dundee United goalkeeper was able to make the save.
Thistle were then dealt a heavy blow as Dunfermline took the lead after 22 minutes. Dom Thomas took on Robbie Crawford on the left wing and found some space to get a cross in. He picked out the unmarked Matthew Todd who turned from creator of the first goal to scorer of the second, heading past Sneddon with ease from close range.
The home side continued to apply the pressure as the Jags struggled to get to grips with their opponents and that pressure brought a third goal with 27 minutes on the clock. Again coming down the left-hand side, as some slick passing culminated with Dom Thomas setting up Josh Edwards for a shot on goal. With Ciaran McKenna in front of him Edwards forced his shot past the defender and through Jamie Sneddon’s legs to give John Hughes’ side a two-goal cushion.
It could easily have been four half-time as former Jag Steven Lawless went close to adding to the lead. Kevin O’Hara raced down the right flank and cut the ball back to Lawless who tried a first time shot. Thankfully for the away side, Sneddon was able to get an arm to the ball and then scramble on top of the rebound.
After that spell of near-constant defending for the Maryhill men, they finally got back on the front foot as they first half drew to a close. Firstly, a Ross Docherty shot tested Deniz Mehmet from 30 yards though the goalkeeper saw it all the way and was able to turn it behind for a corner with relative ease.
Then, on his return from injury, Scott Tiffoney started to get involved. A deep cross from the right made its way to the winger on the left and he took on a pair of Dunfermline men at the edge of the box, sneaking between the two of them. He then tried to beat Deniz Mehmet at his near post but again the ‘stopper was on hand to deny the Jags.
Coming out for the second half, there was nowhere near as much action as there was in the first 45 minutes. Dunfermline were content to sit on their two-goal lead while the Jags struggled to create anything that threatened to reduce the deficit. Shots from distance from Scott Tiffoney and substitute Stephen Hendrie were about as good as it got for Thistle in a disappointing second period.
As the visitors committed more and more bodies forward, Dunfermline were able to strike a fourth on the counter-attack. They won the ball back on the edge of their own box and Dan Pybus worked some space to fire a ball long for Dom Thomas to chase. With only Tunji Akinola goal-side, Thomas was able to sprint away from the chasing Steven Bell and fire past Jamie Sneddon at the near post.
With that, the game ended 4-1 as the Jags suffered a third consecutive league defeat for just the second time this season. That left them in fourth place a point behind Inverness and three above Raith Rovers. Up next is a trip to face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park on Saturday at 3pm.