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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Falkirk v Partick Thistle – 23rd September 2022

With the team sitting top of the cinch Championship table, Partick Thistle took a break from league action to face Falkirk in the Third Round of the SPFL Trust Trophy.

Ian McCall made eight changes to the team which started against Cove Rangers with a number of players who have found themselves on the bench in the opening weeks of the season getting an opportunity. Jamie Sneddon was back in goals for the first time since the Premier Sports Cup group stages behind a defence consisting of Lee Hodson, Tunji Akinola, Darren Brownlie and Jack McMillan, the only member of the backline to retain his place. The other two surviving starters were Kyle Turner and Stuart Bannigan who featured alongside Cammy Smith in midfield while Aidan Fitzpatrick, Danny Mullen and Tony Weston formed the front three, the latter two making their first Thistle starts.

John McGlynn’s Falkirk only made one change for the game and their superior sharpness was evident from kick-off. Two minutes in they could have taken the lead but Craig McGuffie’s goalbound shot was deflected narrowly wide by a Thistle defender.

Two more chances in the opening six minutes spelled danger for the Jags with Callumn Morrison’s free header going straight at Jamie Sneddon before former Thistle loanee Aidan Nesbitt fired over when given too much space to bring down a cross in the box.

The Bairns’ early pressure eventually paid off in the eighth minute when Rumarn Burrell broke the deadlock. Craig McGuffie cut in from the right flank and curled a low ball into the front post area where Burrell was lurking. The ex-Grimbsy man shook the attentions of his marker and diverted the ball past Jamie Sneddon at the near post to make it 1-0.

Falkrik didn’t settle after taking the lead and continued to pile the pressure on the much-changed Thistle defence. Aidan Nesbitt saw a low shot from outside the box saved by Sneddon before the ‘keeper was once again called into action by a looping Callumn Morrison shot which he helped over the bar.

Moments later a poorly cleared corner found its way to Coll Donaldson at the edge of the box and the former Inverness defender took aim. Hit with plenty of power, it looked a dangerous effort but thankfully for the away side it crashed off the top of the bar and went over. All this Falkirk pressure had come in the opening 18 minutes.

The tempo of the game soon shifted to a much less frantic one and Thistle were able to keep the ball a bit more albeit with little attacking threat to show for it. Danny Mullen saw a header drop just wide from close range and Darren Brownlie’s tame header was caught by Paddy Martin but that was about as good as it got for the visitors in front of goal in the first half.

There was a sign of hope at the start of the second half as Liam Henderson failed to deal with a high ball inside the Falkirk half, allowing Cammy Smith to dispossess him. The number 14 drove towards the box but fired his left-footed shot into the side-netting.

Thistle never truly built on that though and Falkirk will have felt they deserved their second goal when it came on 64 minutes. Again a cross into the box, this time from the left wing, was met by the Falkirk man first – this time Gary Oliver whose touch took it past Sneddon and doubled the deficit.

Ian McCall then turned to his bench to give some of Thistle’s young blood a chance to impress and with James Lyon already on the pitch, he also introduced Ben Stanway and Zander Mackenzie tto the game with the latter almost pulling a goal back with 20 minutes to play. Kyle Turner got the ball to Mackenzie who controlled and fired a shot across goal looking for the far bottom corner, however, the shot skipped a yard or so wide.

Falkirk had a late chance to make it three but Ola Lawal’s shot came back out off the inside of the post before Lee Hodson intervened to prevent the rebound being turned in.

So, with that Thistle’s SPFL Trust Trophy hopes came to an abrupt end. They now prepare to take on Greenock Morton in the cinch Championship. That one is a 3pm kick-off at Firhill on 1st October.

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