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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Greenock Morton v Partick Thistle – 6th October 2012

It was an afternoon of bitter disappointment for Thistle. Not only did Thistle lose their unbeaten record in the league but two late goals for Dunfermline in their fixture with Falkirk knocked Thistle off their perch at the top of the league.
Jackie McNamara had virtually a full squad to select from for this game but ultimately made just two changes to the side that had drawn 1-1 with Raith Rovers. New back to full fitness, Steven Craig returned to the team replacing Christie Eliiott while Ross Forbes made his first start in the Thistle midfield in a move that saw Aaron Sinclair drop to the bench.
Morton went into this fixture as arguably the division’s form team and they were obviously keen to close the gap of both Thistle and Dunfermline the two sides immediately above them in the league table. They started the game firmly on the front foot as well. Steven Stirling was able to side step a challenge from Alan Archibald and Scott Fox didn’t look entirely convincing with his save that prevented Morton from scoring an early goal.
Thistle though would play some excellent football throughout the first half and they were quick to threaten the Morton goal. Morton keeper Gaston had to look lively to prevent Steven Craig from marking his return from injury with a goal inside ten minutes. Craig too was far away from connecting with an Aaron Muirhead cross from the right.
It was Morton, however, that took the lead in the 14th minute. It was a poor goal from a Thistle perspective to lose. The threat from set pieces that Morton posed was well known but Rutkiewicz was still able to head home a Tidser corner from the right.
Thistle were close to an equaliser just four minutes after falling behind. Steven Craig’s cross from the left picked out Chris Erskine and it was through good fortune more than anything else that saw the ball fly straight into the arms of the Morton keeper.
A Thistle equaliser though was merely delayed two minutes. Steven Craig was able to gather a long throw from Aaron Muirhead and he was able to swivel before delivery a shot into the back of the net.
Having been a goal behind Thistle were desperately unfortunate to be ahead in the 22nd minute. Thistle won a free kick on the very edge of the Morton box and it took a fine stop from Gaston to turn Ross Forbes’ effort round the post for a corner kick.
The pace of this game was relentless and on the half hour mark Thistle nearly caught Morton with a swift counter attack. Chris Erskine was able to break clear down the left and after he squared the ball both Paul Paton and then Steven Craig saw well struck shots blocked by a Morton defender.
Another Forbes free kick picked out Craig at the back post but Morton were able to scramble clear his header back into the danger area as Thistle continued to press for a seconds goal.
It was the home side, however, that took the lead once more with a 39th minute goal. Again Thistle were negligent at a corner from the right hand side with this time Mark McLaughlin the player to head Tidser’s corner into the net.
Thistle may well have felt aggrieved to be behind at this stage and they were close to an equaliser as half-time approached. Chris Erskine was fouled just as he was about to cut inside the Morton box, a foul that surprisingly did see the offender, McLaughlin, receive the yellow card that seemed obvious; especially as Hugh Murray had earlier been booked for a not dissimilar offence. From a tight angle Ross Frobes saw his free kick that followed strike the outside of the post.
Ten minutes after the restart the game took a major turn in Morton’s direction. Already a goal behind, Thistle found themselves a man down as well as Hugh Murray was sent off after collecting a second yellow card following a challenge on Steven Stirling.
Despite the lack of numbers there was no lacking of fight from Thistle. In the 67th minute there were appeals for a Thistle penalty when a cross from Aaron Sinclair, who replaced Chris Erskine in the wake of Murray’s red card, bounced up and struck Morton defender McLaughlin. The decision of referee Roache not to award a penalty was one that would anger manager McNamara after the game.
Thistle sent on Kris Doolan and new loan signing Paul Slane as they continued to battle for a way back into the match. The two substitutes combined with Doolan stabbing the ball just wide of goal.
Slane too floated over a cross from the right that was just fractionally too high for both Kris Doolan and Steven Craig, with Aaron Sinclair unable to gather the loose ball inside the Morton box.
Aaron Muirhead sent a shot from 25 yards over the bar as the outcome of the game continued to hang in the balance as it entered the final ten minutes.
With Thistle pushing hard for an equaliser they were always in danger of being caught out and Archie Campbell really should have punished Thistle for some careless play at the back in the 85th minute. Campbell was left clean through but couldn’t get the ball round Scott Fox.
If that was an escape for Thistle there was no escape in the 86th minute when David O’Brien’s shot found the net to give Morton the breathing space of a two goal advantage.

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