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Match Report

Kilmarnock v Partick Thistle – 27th September 2014

Thistle made the short journey down the M77 to Kilmarnock on Saturday for our first visit to Ayrshire of the season. It was also the first time the Jags had to experience the new artificial pitch at Rugby Park.

Hopes were high among the travelling support, with the team coming into the game on the back of a positive result against St Mirren in the League Cup.

Manager Alan Archibald made one change to the starting line up from Tuesday night’s cup victory, with Ryan Stevenson, recovering from an ankle knock, starting in place of James Craigen. Kallum Higginbotham also recovered from an ankle knock to take his place in the starting eleven, despite media reports that neither would play.

The home side were on the front foot early in the game and Eremenko, who was excellent throughout the match, crossed in from a corner only to see Westlake put his effort wide under pressure from the Jags defence. A delightful ball in behind Carroll, again from Eremenko, then found Johnston whose dangerous ball across the six yard box was scrambled clear by the Thistle defence.

It was Eremenko who claimed all the post-match plaudits and quite rightly as he found Josh Magennis next who in turn played the ball back to Johnston who saw the chance disappear ass he was crowded out by the Thistle defence.

Captain, Ryan Stevenson, was the first of the Thistle team to get a real chance away when he tried his luck from 30 yards but, unlike his later attempt, there was no power in his shot and Samson saved easily. Thistle did come closer to breaking the deadlock when Doolan found Lawless. The wee winger cut inside and created space for a shot from the edge of the box. Again though Samson, the Killie keeper, was equal to it but could only parry his shot into the path of the quick thinking Doolan. Dools got an effort away from close range but somehow the home keeper recovered well to make the second save.

Eremenko was back in the thick of it before half time whipping in a cross which Carroll did well to clear before a vital touch from Balatoni prevented another Eremenko pass finding Obadeyi.

It was to be the home side that opened the scoring though. Hamill’s pass found Barbour with acres of space to deliver an inch perfect cross with which Obadeyi made no mistake to make it 1-0.

It was only a fantastic piece of defending from Balatoni which prevented Obadeyi getting a chance to make it two – the Thistle centre half taking the ball off the striker to prevent him going one on one with Fox.

As half time approached there was nearly an equaliser for the Jags when Stevenson smashed a 25 yard effort off the Killie crossbar with Samson beaten.

There was a blow for the Jags before the break when Seaborne had to be replaced by Muirhead after a nasty clash of heads left him with a deep gash above his eye. Magennis then outmuscled Muirhead but the angle was tight and Fox saved. Higginbotham went just inches wide with a 22 yard effort but it remained 1-0 to the home side at half time.

Christie Elliott replaced the injured Higginbotham at half time and at the start of the second half Thistle controlled possession without creating a clear cut chance.

Eremenko started the second half as he had ended the first, forcing a corner from which the home side would double their lead. The Finnish international delivered the cross and perfectly for the unmarked Pascali who was in the right place to head home.

It was to get worse for the visitors when, in the 56th minute, Killie increased their lead.

Obadeyi collected Eremenko’s pass wide and was allowed to cut inside onto his right foot and fire a low powerful shot past Fox at his near post from 16 yards out.

The home side continued to press forward against a Thistle side under pressure. Barbour then found Eremenko whose shot was saved by Fox while Pascali then got another header on target which Fox saved again.

As the game ticked on there was very little coming from Thistle although a quicker through ball from Elliott might have found substitute, Eccleston, but he was offside

There were a couple more chances for Killie with Magennis firing over, having done well to create space for himself and Balatoni did well to stop N’Goo getting a shot on target. As the final whistle went though, the Jags found themselves well beaten and an Eremenko inspired Kilmarnock finished the game 3-0 up.

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