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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Hamilton Academical v Partick Thistle – 24th February 2018

The Ladbrokes Premiership race for top flight survival continued this afternoon as Partick Thistle travelled to the SuperSeal Stadium to take on Hamilton Accies. Thistle came into the game having lost last week to Dundee, conceding twice in the last five minutes as the Dark Blues took all three points from the Jags. Accies were looking to bounce back from a 5-3 defeat at the hands of Rangers last Sunday.  The hosts, Hamilton, started the game one point and one place below their opponents with Martin Canning’s side occupying the relegation play-off place.

Alan Archibald made three changes to the side who started against the Dee last Saturday. Martin Woods pulled out of the squad on the morning of the game due to illness and was duly replaced by Blair Spittal in the centre of the park as Ryan Edwards dropped into a deeper role. Kris Doolan came in for Miles Storey as Thistle went to a two up front, meanwhile, Daniel Devine replaced Chris Erskine to facilitate a change in formation with the travelling Jags deploying a 3-5-2 set-up.

The match started frantically and Thistle took the lead after just nine minutes. A corner from Blair Spittal was whipped into the box and out of nowhere, the referee blew his whistle and pointed to the spot. The man in charge had spotted a foul in the box by Georgios Sarris who had been too firmly tussling with Daniel Devine. It was Conor Sammon who stepped up to take the spot kick and the Irishman buried the penalty as he found the bottom corner despite Gary Woods getting a touch on it. The goal is Sammon’s ninth for the season and his seventh in 2018.

The Jags weren’t allowed to enjoy their lead for long, however, as the home side drew level just two minutes later. Straight from kick-off, Accies were able to win a corner and the hosts made the most of their set-piece opportunity. Dougie Imrie delivered the ball towards the near post area and Antonio Rojano was the man to meet it. The number 20 had made an excellent run and rose highest to guide it into the far corner with a deft flick at the front stick.

The game then became increasingly scrappy but the Jags almost retook the lead on 28 minutes. Blair Spittal delivered a teasing ball into the Accies box which was met by Kris Doolan who nodded home from close range. The Jags centurion reeled away to celebrate his 100th league goal in the red and yellow but his celebration were halted by the linesman’s flag as the goal was chalked off.

The game continued to lack creativity and style and as such, the teams failed to create much more in the first half and the break arrived with the scores level. Thistle had struggled to get their foot on the ball during the opening 45 and because of this, creative players like Blair Spittal had found themselves mostly out of the game. The away side would be forced into a half-time change as Conor Sammon was replaced by Miles Storey due to an injury sustained due to the pitch.

Both sides had half chances as the second half started with Mustapha Dumbuya, Lewis Ferguson, Baily Cargill and Marios Ogkmpoe all having opportunities, however, in an attempt to rejuvenate his side’s creative forces, Alan Archibald brought Chris Erskine on for Blair Spittal in the 71st minute.

The change almost paid off instantly as Chris Erskine created a great chance just one minute after being introduced to the contest. The number ten took a left-footed corner which he bent towards the penalty spot. His delivery found Thistle centre-half, Niall Keown who struck the ball first time. The number five met the ball well but smashed the effort well over the bar.

The midfielder then set up another chance in the 74th minute. Erskine skipped past his marker, Scott McMann and lifted a cut back towards the black shirts of his teammates. He found Callum Booth with the pass and the left-back fired a shot goalward, looking for his first of the season. The defender’s effort was powerful enough but was too central and Gary Woods was able to save and hold easily.

In the 86th minute, Steven Lawless replaced Kris Doolan to add a body to Thistle midfield in an attempt to improve the flow of the Jags’ play.

The visitors continued to push for a winning goal but it was the hosts who grabbed the three points late on, against the run of play. A throw in came from the Accies left and Lewis Ferguson got the ball. He skilfully turned away from Ryan Edwards and cut the ball back into the danger area. It finds Rojano who forces a terrific save from Tomas Cerny but the ball falls back to David Templeton who controled and fires into the net to make it 2-1 to Hamilton.

It was late heartbreak for the away team but the Jags would have one last chance to salvage a draw from the game. Mustapha Dumbuya created some space for himself on the right wing and the defender curled a great cross into the box. Chris Erskine met the delivery and headed on goal but just as it seemed destined to find the top corner, Gary Woods turned the effort away with a strong right hand.

That would be all for the game as the Jags fell to a second late defeat in two weeks. Thistle dropped into the bottom two after the defeat with Hamilton leapfrogging the Maryhill men into tenth. Alan Archibald’s side now have a week to regroup and prepare for another crunch match as they take on bottom of the table Ross County. Kick-off is 15:00 from the Global Energy Arena.

THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, Dumbuya, Keown, Devine, Cargill, Booth, Osman, Edwards, Spittal (Erskine, 71’), Sammon (Storey, HT), Doolan (Lawless, 86’).

UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Scully, Penrice, McGinn, Barton.

ACCIES TEAM: Woods, Imrie, Tomas, Sarris (van der Weg, 67’), Want (McMann, 30’), Lyon, Ferguson, Gogic (Jenkins, 37’), Templeton, Ogkmpoe, Rojano.

UNUSED SUBS (HAM): Fulton, Miller, Bingham, Redmond.

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