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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Forfar Athletic v Partick Thistle – 12th December 2020

Partick Thistle were looking to bounce back from a disappointing draw against Dumbarton last Saturday as they travelled to Angus to take on Forfar this afternoon. Despite registering over 20 shot against the Sons, Thistle had to settle for a point at Firhill as they lost ground on league leaders Falkirk but had the chance to get back to winning ways against a Loons side which came into the game at the bottom of the League One table.

Ian McCall made no changes to the starting XI for the trip to Station Park though there were a few additions to the bench. On-loan Rangers defender Rhys Breen returned from injury to make the squad and two Thistle Weir youth academy prospects were named among the substitutes for the first time as James Lyon and Billy Owens were listed on the bench.

It took less than a minute for the first chance of the game to present itself as Connor Murray found some joy in behind the hosts’ rear-guard. The number 17 latched onto a high ball over the top and found space to cut the ball back to James Penrice. Unfortunately the number three’s right-footed shot was blocked and when Brian Graham got to the loose ball his shot was blocked too, for a corner this time.

It was the 20th minute before we saw more dangerous attacking football for either side in a game that had become quite bitty. Murray was involved again as a cross into the box eventually fell to him, 15 yards from goal. He manoeuvred away from one defender and let fly but his effort was parried well by Forfar ‘stopper Marc McCallum.

After 34 minutes Forfar very easily could have taken the lead through a rare Kieran Wright error. A low cross came into the box and the young ‘keeper stooped to collect, however, he wasn’t able to gather properly. Archie Thomas was the closest Sky Blues player and he got a leg to the ball but could only divert it wide, presumably caught off guard by the opportunity which arose out of nothing.

There were a few half chances for the away side towards the end of the first period with three falling to Brian Graham. Firstly, the striker went up to challenge for a corner with the hosts’ goalkeeper which forced McCallum to drop the ball. It fell near Graham but, off balance and still landing from his jump, he was unable to hit the target.

Then, a deep cross into the box from the right flank found Thistle’s number nine in the box. This time Graham seemed to be slightly ahead of the ball and could only send it high and wide of the goal.

Finally, Graham and Docherty’s combined pressure at the edge of the Jags’ box forced a quick turnover and allowed the visitors to break in numbers. Docherty followed Graham into the opposing half as the ex-Raith man carried the ball onwards but as they approached the opposing box Graham decided to take a shot at goal. He tried a low effort but McCallum was well-placed to get his body behind it and make a simple save.

Coming out for the second half, the Jags were on the front foot again and tested Marc McCallum within a minute of the restart. Ryan Williamson made the run down the right wing and managed to get a ball into the box which bounced all the way through to James Penrice on the left-hand side of the box. Penrice then took time to set himself before firing a shot goalwards but the goalkeeper was equal to it and was able to beat the effort away from danger.

The pressure from the Maryhill men would finally tell in the 52nd minute when Shea Gordon opened the scoring with his first goal of the season. James Penrice was the creator as he received the ball on the left and waited for Richard Foster’s overlapping run to create a bit of space to deliver his cross. Penrice’s delivery found the head of Shea Gordon perfectly and the number 14 made no mistake with a powerful header from close range which the ‘keeper got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.

Thistle searched for a second as the match entered the final 20 minutes with James Penrice and Brian Graham both seeing shots saved, however, Ross Docherty finally doubled the advantage in the 78th minute with his first Jags goal. Stuart Bannigan fed the ball forward to Shea Gordon who in turn played it on to Ross Docherty who had made a burst into the box. He took it in his stride and curled a lovely finish into the bottom corner to give his side a cushion going into the final ten minutes of the match.

There wasn’t much to talk about thereafter as Thistle saw the game out professionally but there was a special moment for James Lyon as he made his first team debut, replacing James Penrice in injury time.

Next up for the Jags is a meeting with Peterhead next Saturday back at Firhill.

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