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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Falkirk v Partick Thistle – 26th December 2020

Partick Thistle faced a trip to league leaders Falkirk this afternoon for their Boxing Day fixture, representing the last of 2020 for the Jags. Both sides were coming into the game off the back of defeats with Thistle having lost 1-0 to Peterhead seven days prior while the Bairns were defeated by Airdrieonians by the same scoreline.

Ian McCall made two changes to the side which was beaten by the Blue Toon with Brian Graham and Ryan Williamson both missing out through injury. The two replacements were Zak Rudden and Ciaran McKenna with the former making his first league start of the term. Thistle Weir Youth Academy player Gospel Ocholi was named on the bench for the first time in his young career.

Just a minute into proceedings Falkirk could have taken the lead through Morgaro Gomis. The ball was sent down the right flank for Callumn Morrison and the number 38 duly delivered a cross into the Thistle box. Gomis was the man closest to it, making a late run from the midfield, but he couldn’t get enough on it to find the target and had to watch his attempt bounce wide.

Gomis got on the end of another cross into the box in the fifth minute with Conor Sammon the provider this time but the number 14 missed the target again with this effort clearing the cross bar.

Thistle then started to grow into the game and produced their first dangerous moment on 11 minutes. Zak Rudden picked up the ball 15 yards outside the Falkirk box before laying it off to Joe Cardle. The number seven set himself before aiming a ball into the back-post area where James Penrice was arriving. Penrice waved a leg at it but couldn’t meet the exquisite cross and actually ended up giving a foul away.

The Jags experienced a very nervy moment with 25 minutes played as a long ball over the away side’s defence caused havoc. The punt was bouncing towards Kieran Wright’s box but didn’t quite reach him before Callumn Morrison was able to get a touch. The winger rounded the goalkeeper, Wright, and looked certain to score but a heroic recovery challenge from Darren Brownlie deflected the ball away for a corner.

It wasn’t until the 38th minute that we saw another clear-cut opportunity and this time it was for the travelling Maryhill men. Connor Murray produced some trickery on the left wing to get away from his marker and then lifted a cross into the box. It went all the way through to Ciaran McKenna on the far side of the box who simply cushioned the ball into the path of Shea Gordon who was situated centrally. The midfielder tired to pick out the top corner with his right foot but his shot ricocheted back off the bar and when Joe Cardle tried to score the rebound, he committed a handball foul.

The woodwork denied Thistle once again just a minute later as Zak Rudden struck the upright. Connor Murray’s forward pass found the number 10 and Rudden then used quick feet to evade Paul Dixon before trying to bend a shot into the far corner. He was able to beat Robbie Mutch with his effort but it came back off the inside of the post and found its way into the arms of the goalkeeper.

There was then another opportunity in this spell of end-to-end football as a long ball once again caused issue for the visitors. The ball skipped past both Darren Brownlie and Mouhamed Niang, finding the run of Conor Sammon but he flicked the ball straight to the waiting Kieran Wright.

Early in the second half, The Firhill side had another sight of goal. Zak Rudden held the ball up and laid it off the Connor Murray who in turn fed James Penrice who had made a good run down the left. The number three had an angle to take a shot and did indeed go for goal but he rather lashed at the shot and fired wide of the near post.

Kieran Wright was called into action once again just before the hour mark as Falkirk carved out their first opening of the second period. Josh Todd managed to work himself into space on the left flank and moved into the box looking for a chance to shoot. He eventually tried a shot and endeavoured to curl an attempt into the far corner of the net, however, Wright was able to scamper across and turn it round the post.

The game’s pattern was changed for good in the 64th minute when the referee brandished a red card for Zak Rudden. Shortly thereafter Blair Lyons replaced Joe Cardle as Thistle prepared for a tough last 25 minutes.

Despite throwing plenty at the Jags, Falkirk were very limited with what they were able to create as they sought out a winner. They did have one standout moment when a short corner resulted in a flat, dangerous delivery towards the back post. Anton Dowds managed to get his head to it but his glancing effort drifted past the far post.

With that the match ended goalless and the spoils were shared. As a consequence of results later in the day, Thistle dropped to fifth with two points between the Jags and second-placed Montrose.

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