Monday 19th November, 2018 at 3:04pm
Partick Thistle continued the search for their first away league points of the season as they travelled to the Falkirk Stadium to take on the Championship’s bottom side, Falkirk. The Jags were coming off the back of a narrow loss to Inverness in Maryhill a week prior while the Bairns were still flying high after a big win over rivals, Dunfermline.
Gary Caldwell made just one change to the side that lost to the Caley Jags last time out and it was an enforced one after Cammy Bell picked up a warm-up injury. He was replaced in goals by Jamie Sneddon, making his fifth senior appearance for the Jags. The manager had an unchanged outfield unit ahead of him with Christie Elliott, Niall Keown, Sean McGinty and James Penrice acting as the back four. Miles Storey, Craig Slater, Stuart Bannigan and Blair Spittal formed a flat four across the midfield behind Jai Quitongo and Kris Doolan up front.
The match started very quietly with Falkirk deploying a very defensive 5-4-1 formation which neutralised almost all of Thistle’s attacking prowess. On the flip side though the Bairns’ one up-front formation failed to create any chances at all for the hosts in the opening exchanges.
Supporters had to wait until the 24th minute to see the first shot on target as Blair Spittal found a bit of space just outside the Falkirk box. Firing a shot on goal with his right foot the Jags number 7 saw his effort hit the target and little more with Leo Fasan stopping and holding the effort comfortably.
During a first half with little goalmouth action the home side’s first notable opportunity of the game fell in the 35th minute. Paul Paton kept a long ball alive and found Dennon Lewis with his pass. The stand-in striker then got the ball to Ruben Sammut who attempted a tough half-volley which was lashed well over the bar. James Penrice followed suit as he saw a speculative right-footed shot fly over the bar before the break but the teams entered half-time on level terms, nevertheless.
At the interval, the Jags would have been disappointed not to have created more clear cut chances despite having dominated possession with some nice passing football. On the other hand a defensively focused Falkirk team would have been content with a clean sheet at the half-way point.
After the break the away side began the second period brightly and were rewarded for their efforts in the 57th minute as the Jags took a much deserved lead. Stuart Bannigan played a quick pass over to Craig Slater and from there on in, it was all about the number 17. Slater shifted inside and created a yard of space before unleashing a low shot which beat Leo Fasan, catching the ‘keeper off-guard at the near post. The strike gave Thistle only their second away lead of the league campaign and also represented Slater’s first goal for the Club.
Unfortunately for the Maryhill men, the lead lasted no more than two minutes as Joe McKee bundled home an equaliser on 59 minutes. It came from a high ball that wasn’t dealt with, allowing Paul Paton to knock a header into the box. A number of bodies rushed to the loose ball but McKee was first to it, knocking the ball over Sneddon into the net, despite the best efforts of the covering James Penrice.
Perhaps the best chance to win the game came shortly after the equaliser via a Blair Spittal free kick, following a foul on Quitongo at the edge of the box. Spittal’s free kick was well hit and on target but ultimately Fasan was equal to it and tipped it over for a Thistle corner.
Following the goal the Jags made their first change of the afternoon as Miles Storey was replaced by Tam Scobbie with the team changing to a three-at-the-back formation. A second change was made in the 71st minute with Chris Erskine coming on in place of Jai Quitongo whose running and endeavour had been clear to see if somewhat unproductive in terms of chances created.
With the scores still level Blair Spittal again went close to re-establishing Thistle’s lead with 13 minutes to play. Kris Doolan and Chris Erskine tried to create some space at the edge of Falkirk box but as Erskine was bundled over, the ball came to Blair Spittal. The number seven tried to squeeze a shot into the back of the net from a tight angle but his effort was deflected behind for a corner.
After that, despite plenty of effort, Thistle were unable to break down a dogged Falkirk rear-guard and the game ended 1-1. The result kept the places the same at the bottom of the table with Falkirk remaining at the foot.
The Jags now turn their attentions to a trip to Dumfries in two weeks time after a Scottish Cup Saturday off next week. Kick-off is 15:00 from Palmerston Park.
PARTICK THISTLE TEAM: Sneddon, Elliott, Keown, McGinty, Penrice, Bannigan, Slater, Storey (Scobbie, 63’), Spittal, Quitongo (Erskine, 71’), Doolan.
UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Stevenson, Ntambwe, McCarthy, Storer, Fitzpatrick.
FALKIRK TEAM: Fasan, Kidd, Brough, Harrison, McGhee, Robson, Paton, Sammut (Haber, 59’), McKee, Irving, Lewis (Dallison, 71’).
UNUSED SUBS (FLK): Mitchell, Dumbuya, Russell, Munro, Jarvis.
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