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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Motherwell v Partick Thistle – 27th December 2014

Having suffered the disappointment of an injury time equaliser last time out at Firhill Thistle manager, Alan Archibald, resisted the temptation to make any changes to the starting eleven. Stuart Bannigan continued to deputise at left back while James Craigen kept his midfield berth as the Jags looked to continue their unbeaten run and push for a top six place. The opponents on the day, Motherwell, were looking to build upon their victory and close the gap on the Jags under new manager Ian Barraclough.

The home side kicked the game off, shooting into the stand filled with 1,200 noisy Thistle fans, and it was the Jags who created the first opening after just a couple of minutes. Balatoni found O’Donnell deep in the Thistle half with the right back crossing for Higginbotham whose effort was deflected for a corner. It was Bannigan who took control of the resulting set piece and perhaps Seaborne should have done better than to direct his header over the bar from all of five yards out.

There were plenty of positive signs for Thistle in the opening stages as the team from Maryhill found acres of space down the right hand side. Both Elliott and O’Donnell making the most of the areas afforded to them by the home side.

Another Bannigan corner was whipped in and Twardzik did well to fingertip the ball away as Seaborne was poised to head home.

Despite good early work, in the thirteenth minute – and with pretty much the home side’s first real attack – Ainsworth collected the ball wide on his right and used his lightning pace to good effect, Bannigan was unable to stay on the right side of him and hauled him back as they tangled around the box. Although the foul was beyond doubt there was certainly some suggestion that the first contact was made outside the box. The referee was not for listening to protests though and pointed to the spot. Sutton stepped up and sent Gallacher the wrong way to put the home side 1-0 ahead.

The goal gave the home side a lift and they looked to pressure the Jags defence with both Osman and Balatoni making mistakes in dangerous areas that could have led to a further deficit.

A curling effort from Ojamaa and a powerful Reid shot were both excellently saved by Gallacher before Balatoni did well to clear two yards out from Sutton’s toes after Ainsworth had again got the better of Thistle’s makeshift left back.

At the other end James Craigen saw a spectacular dipping volley from 25 yards go just over. Thistle would also have the final effort of the half as O’Donnell was unlucky with a shot from 16 yards which was well saved by Twardzik low down at his near side post. It wasn’t enough though and the home side went in at the break a goal to the good.

Into the second half and, with the manager having moved Elliott to left back midway through the first half allowing Bannigan to occupy his usual midfield role, Thistle looked to press forward to get an equaliser.

It was Bannigan who had the first effort for the Jags after early substitute, Lawless, fed him seconds after coming on but his effort was blocked. A sweeping Thistle move saw Elliott break up play at the edge of his own box, pass to O’Donnell whose cross field ball found Bannigan. The central midfielder did well to slip the ball inside to his counterpart, Gary Fraser, but, rather than conjuring memories of “that night at Tynecastle” his shot went wide of the ‘Well goal.

Lawless, who had looked dangerous since coming on, then volleyed over from the edge of the box after Stevenson’s header across goal was only partially cleared by Ramsden. O’Donnell also saw his shot blocked after a strong driving run forward.

As the second half wore on Thistle had their own loud claims for a penalty waved away after Stevenson had his shirt pulled as he tried to get a shot away from inside the 18 yard box. The only result was a booking for Stevenson for over enthusiastically contesting the decision.

Higginbotham was next to have a chance but blazed wildly over before Lawless had his effort partially blocked at the near post allowing Twardzik to save easily.

With Thistle getting increasingly desperate as the minutes ticked away a wonderful Doolan chipped pass found the onrushing Lawless but he could not quite guide his effort on target and Doolan could do no better with an effort from four yards out on an afternoon that increasingly looked as if it would not go Thistle’s way.

The home side did have a chance to finish the game off when Erwin went one on one with Gallacher on the break but he put his effort past the near post.

The final chance of the game would fall to Osman who saw his header saved comfortably by Twardzik as he looked to find Doolan inside the box. The referee brought proceedings to a close shortly after on an ultimately disappointing result for Thistle.

Thistle: Gallacher, O’Donnell, Seaborne, Balatoni, Bannigan, Elliott, Osman, Fraser (Eccleston, 82), Craigen (Lawless, 53), Higginbotham, Stevenson (Doolan, 69)

Subs: Fox, Lawless (53), Doolan (69), Eccleston (82), Wilson, Lindsay, McDaid

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