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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Hibernian v Partick Thistle – October 30th 2022

There were no goals but no lack of incident or controversy from Thistle’s trip to Edinburgh to face Hibernian. The point that a gutsy performance eventually earned a phenomenally hard-working Thistle side a point took The Jags back into the top half of SWPL1.

Manager Brian Graham didn’t have his troubles to seek going into this match with injury and illness denying him the services of key players. Both Linzi Taylor nor Cara Henderson, two players who have made huge contributions across the season, were available to him while top scorer Jordan McLintock was a late call off through illness. Indeed, there were several players on the substitute bench that were struggling with illness. It’s testimony to the grit, desire, and togetherness of this group of players that they made themselves available if required.

The absence of some did give opportunity to others with Claire Adams coming in to make her first start of the season and her performance in the heart of the Thistle midfield in the 90 minutes that followed will have staked her claim for a more regular starting berth in the side.

It was the home side that started the game on the front foot with McGregor shooting high over the Thistle crossbar in just the second minute after a high intensity opening from Hibs.

Despite what might have been suggested elsewhere this wasn’t a game dominated in its entirety by the home team. Certainly not in a first half in which Thistle were a threat in forward positions.

Rachel Donaldson was unable to take full advantage when the Hibs keeper, Haaland, was unable to safely gather the ball at the corner of her box and in the 13th minute Donaldson saw a shot from outside the box clear the Hibs crossbar.

The nearest Thistle came to a goal though came in the 18th minute when Clare Docherty was unfortunate to see her header from an Amy Bulloch corner just clear the crossbar.

At the other end Hibs were finding no joy at all in getting the ball past Megan Cunningham whose handling was once again immaculate. The confidence in Cunningham’s play, which spreads through the players in front of her, has been a feature of her game since joining the club at the start of the season.

Cunningham saved well from McGregor after 20 minutes and produced an arguably better stop at her front post to deny Giannou after 37 minutes.

With half-time nearing Thistle tried to nudge themselves in front. A Bulloch free kick was deflected behind for a corner and a dangerous Donaldson cross posed problems for the home defence before that danger was snuffed out.

As they had the first half, Hibs started the second firmly on the front foot and this time, if truth be told that was the pattern for the bulk of the second 45 minutes.  This Thistle side though is nothing if not resolute. The quality of the Thistle defending, from front to back, was of the highest quality; and it is often overlooked that it is defensive qualities that earn points as much as attacking ones do. That was certainly the case in this game.

Hibs were not without their chances. It would be churlish to suggest otherwise. It would be equally churlish to suggest that Cunningham in the Thistle goal was overworked.

A low cross across the face of Cunningham’s goal would surely have produced a goal had a Hibs foot got a touch to the ball and the Thistle keeper did make a fine stop when Giannou looked set to score on one of the few occasions that the Thistle defence was opened up.

It became more frantic in front of the Thistle goal the nearer the clock ticked towards the 90-minute mark. Cunningham once more underlined her importance to Thistle with a good stop and twice, firstly a header and then a shot, in the space of a minute the ball shaved the outside of Cunnigham’s left-hand post.

The game’s most controversial moment, or series of moments, came with the game already in injury time a factor perhaps overlooked when some would later query the amount of time added on. A cross from the Hibs right was adjudged to have been handled by Cheryl McCulloch giving Hibs a late, late penalty.

Adams was the Hibs player entrusted with taking the kick. Cunnigham guessed correctly but didn’t get a touch to the ball as it smacked off the post back to Adams who knocked the ball home. The referee quickly signalled an indirect free kick as no other player had touched the ball before Adams ‘scored’ from the rebound. There was a lengthy delay as the referee consulted with both of his assistants, with tempers becoming frayed in the ranks of the two sets of players, before he confirmed that there was no legitimate goal scored.

There was still a bit of time to play and there were a full 7 minutes of additional time before the final whistle was sounded on a Thistle performance full of grit and determination.

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