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Match Report

Kilmarnock v Partick Thistle – 9th December 2017

After a narrow defeat by Hibernian to kick-off a busy December, Partick Thistle returned to action with a trip to Rugby Park. The Jags prepared to face Kilmarnock for the second time this season having already been beaten by the Ayrshire side in Maryhill. Heading into the clash, Thistle sat bottom of the Ladbrokes Premiership table, four points behind Dundee, Ross County and Kilmarnock after 15 games.

The team was much the same to that which started against Hibernian last week. Tomas Cerny remained between the sticks for Thistle behind a back four of Paul McGinn, Niall Keown, Daniel Devine and Jordan Turnbull – who continues to fill in at left-back. Ryan Edwards and Adam Barton retained the central midfield spots in behind the attacking midfield unit of Steven Lawless, Chris Erskine and Blair Spittal. The team’s only change came up front as Kris Doolan replaced Miles Storey, as the Englishman dropped to the bench.

Killie came out flying at kick-off with Eamonn Brophy going close in the first minute and they would be rewarded for their early pressure when Kris Boyd opened the scoring 11 minutes in. New Kilmarnock number 24, Youssouf Mulumbu drove into the Thistle box, past Turnbull, before delivering a low cross. Niall Keown stooped to head the ball but it ricocheted off Daniel Devine and fell to Boyd who slammed home from close range.

The hosts’ lead didn’t last long though, four minutes to be exact, as Chris Erskine netted a 15th minute leveller. Paul McGinn slotted a short pass into Steven Lawless from the Jags’ right flank and Lawless inadvertently laid the ball into Chris Erskine’s path. The number ten bundled his way into the box only for the ball to sit up in front of him. He the leathered a fantastic strike across goal, into the top corner notching his 52nd Thistle goal.

Unfortunately for the travelling Thistle contingent, Killie retook the lead just as quickly as the Jags found an equaliser with Eamonn Brophy making it 2-1 on 19 minutes. The home side won a free-kick 30 yards from goal and Kris Boyd was stood over it as he looked for a second. The other two players around the ball used a quick pass to set it up for Boyd and the number nine slammed an effort goalward. Tomas Cerny got down to make the save but the ball fell straight to Brophy who tapped home to give his side the lead for the second time.

The visitors came close to another speedy reply when Blair Spittal took a free-kick from 20 yards in the 23rd minute. Chris Erskine ran over the ball and Spittal fired a shot towards the goalkeeper’s side, looking for the bottom corner. His effort was on target but was tipped round the post by Jamie MacDonald.

Alan Archibald’s side had another opportunity to draw level in the 27th minute. Paul McGinn curled an inch-perfect ball into Kris Doolan who ran in on goal as Gordon Greer chased the striker’s shadow. Doolan had the option of Chris Erskine to his left but elected to shoot, however, he screwed his attempt well wide of the mark on his weaker right foot.

Both teams then had half chances leading into the break with Kris Boyd, Ryan Edwards, Eamonn Brophy and Blair Spittal all having sights of goal although none of them could get the fourth goal of the half and the game reached the interval at 2-1. A fairly equal first half, just edged by Kilmarnock. Although Thistle’s defensive frailties were still evident, the Maryhill men looked much improved going forward and had created a couple of really good chances that were passed up.

Thistle began the second half looking hungry and nearly got an equaliser just three minutes after the restart. Chris Erskine was trying to create something on the edge of the Killie area but was tackled. However, the ball fell to his teammate, Ryan Edwards, who let loose with a first time shot. His attempt was well-struck and powerful but rose just above Jamie MacDonald’s goal.

The early second half promise shown by the away side was dashed though when Kilmarnock made it three a minute before the hour mark. A long punt by Jamie MacDonald was poorly dealt with by Daniel Devine and that gave Eamonn Brophy the chance to attack Thistle’s goal. He rifled an effort on target which Tomas Cerny saved but the ball then bounced off Niall Keown and into the net as the ex-Reading met the misfortune of his first own goal in Thistle colours.

The hosts then increased their lead to 4-1 on 65 minutes. A Killie corner flew deep into the Jags’ area. It was then nodded goalward by a Kilmarnock head. The ball seemed destined for the goal but Eamonn Brophy made sure as he flicked it into the goal from no more than two yards out.

At this point, Alan Archibald made his first change of the match as Steven Lawless was replaced by Martin Woods. Archie would go on to bring on Miles Storey for Adam Barton and Conor Sammon for Kris Doolan in the 72nd and 76th minute respectively.

The changes did nothing much for Thistle’s fortunes, however, as the Jags conceded a penalty with twelve regulation minutes remaining. It was Jordan Turnbull who was caught grappling with Kirk Broadfoot and the defender picked up a booking which will see him miss the Jags’ clash with Hamilton on the 23rd of December. Kris Boyd was the man to take the penalty and the veteran goalscorer netted again, slamming the ball past Tomas Cerny from 12 yards.

Thankfully for the away side, that would be the end of the afternoon’s scoring as the game ended 5-1 to Thistle’s Ayrshire adversaries. The Jags are now four games without a win and continue to sit bottom of the league table although they are still only four points off two teams above them.

Alan Archibald and his squad now look towards Wednesday night when they have an immediate opportunity to right the wrongs of this afternoon as Motherwell visit the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill. Kick-off is 19:45 from Maryhill.

THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, McGinn, Keown, Devine, Turnbull, Barton (Storey, 72′), Edwards, Lawless (Woods, 65′), Spittal, Erskine, Doolan (c) (Sammon, 76′).

THISTLE SUBS (N/U): Scully, Nitriansky, Fraser, Nisbet.

KILMARNOCK TEAM: MacDonald, O’Donnell, Broadfoot, Greer, Findlay, Power, Mulumbu (Burke, 59′), Dicker, Jones, Brophy (Taylor, 83′), K. Boyd (c) (Erwin, 81′).

KILMARNOCK SUBS (N/U): Bell, McKenzie, Thomas, S. Boyd.

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