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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Kilmarnock U20 v Partick Thistle U20 – 3rd November 2015

Thistle travelled to Rugby Park to take on Kilmarnock in the latest round of Development League action, looking to put two consecutive defeats behind them. The 1-0 loss to Rangers last week, had signified an improvement on previous weeks but MacKenzie’s side were still struggling to find the back of the net, which some of their moves so richly deserved.

It was another young Thistle team that took to the field with two changes from the loss against Rangers. Jordan Leyden was out the squad as a consequence of his loan to East Fife while injury denied MacKenzie of the services of James Penrice. Gary Fraser continued his return to match sharpness with a starting slot in midfield while in central defence, Michael McMullin moving to left back, saw the first start of 15 year old Edin Lynch. It would prove to be a very memorable evening for the young defender. Thistle faced a Killie side that included Lee Ashcroft, Mark Connolly, Kris Boyd and Dale Carrick.

Thistle showed their intentions straight from kick off and Nisbet made a rampaging run down the right hand side. His low cross was, however, behind everyone and Splaine was able to clear. After an opening spell that had been quite quiet the game suddenly burst into action with two goals.

Kilmarnock took the lead when a freekick was whipped into the box from the touchline. Marc Waters came to collect, but didn’t get enough conviction on the ball, allowing Lee Ashcroft to poke the ball home from close range.

No sooner had Thistle gone behind than they were level. Declan McDaid won a corner, which Gary Fraser delivered into the box. Edin Lynch managed to get his head onto the ball, to send it goalwards and into the back of the net for his first Development League goal.

The game was being played at a high tempo with both sides having chances to add to the scoring in the first half. Firstly, Mark Connolly got in behind the Thistle defence, but fired a poor header into the arms of Waters before Fraser fired a bouncing free kick into the arms of Brennan.

It wouldn’t be a Development League game without a bizarrely played out incident and the obligatory strangeness was provided just before half time. A Kilmarnock corner was swung into the box and nodded goalwards at the front post. The ball took a deflection and appeared to be propelling over for a goalkick. Suddenly, the ball dipped striking the crossbar before Lee Ashcroft swung, and missed, at the ball from 3 yards out. Thistle managed to clear and live another day.

Thistle were to be presented with three more opportunities to take a half time lead, but failed to take any of them. Firstly Docherty was inches away with connecting from a Mark Lamont cross from six yards out, before McDaid was played through against the goalkeeper. The winger fired a shot straight against Brennan from 10 yards out. With half time approaching McMullin was slotted in by Nisbet but with the goalie to beat, blazed an effort high into the stands.

The second half started with Kilmarnock coming out on the front foot as they harried Thistle from the start. Marc Waters was rushed into a clearance and could only find Boyd 20 yards out. The normally deadly striker fired over the bar. Less than 10 minutes later, Waters found himself again under pressure and sent a clearance straight to Scott McLean who couldn’t hit the target with the goal gaping.

Dale Carrick was starting to find pockets of space behind the defence, and after being played in, only excellent defending from Edin Lynch denied the striker an opportunity on goal. Carrick cut the ball back but had to settle for a corner, which missed everyone and smacked McMullin at the back post resulting in another corner.

This time, McMullin did get his head on the ball, but sent it towards his own goal smashing his header off the post. The ball was worked back to Boyd who struck his own player with the following shot.

Just after the hour mark, saw Thistle take the lead from the penalty spot. Michael McMullin was bundled over in the box after Kevin Nisbet crossed. The striker sent his spot kick past the goalkeeper, albeit the keeper got a strong hand on the ball. As in the first half, barely moments had passed before an equaliser. Kilmarnock got down the right hand side and sent over a cross which Kris Boyd headed home in a fashion he has been scoring for over a decade.

An excellent passing move almost had a perfect finish when McDaid fizzed a shot wide of the post but the next goal was to come at the other end.

Frizell and Taylor linked up well down the left before cutting back for Carrick to slam home from inside the box. Kilmarnock seemed intent on killing the game but there was still to be one final goal in the contest as Thistle dragged themselves level.

Dominic Dochery showed good hunger and desire to spin past Wilson inside the Kilmarnock box, with the defender dragging him down. The referee had no hesitation in pointing to the penalty spot and Nisbet fired a powerful effort in the exact same corner as before.

Thistle had another couple of chances to snatch a late winner when McDaid fired a 25 yard effort straight at Brennan, while Nisbet forced a full length diving save from the goalkeeper from just inside the box.

There was, however, not to be another goal in what was an absorbing contest as each side had to settle for a point. Next up for Scott MacKenzie’s side is Dunfermline Athletic. Kick off next Tuesday is 6pm at Firhill.


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