Wednesday 9th March, 2016 at 10:32am
Thistle 2 Kilmarnock 1
Thistle returned to Development League action after more than a fortnight of inactivity with a fixture against Kilmarnock at Clyde’s Broadwood Stadium. The last outing for Thistle was a magnificent 3-0 success over Rangers at Murray Park and MacKenzie was looking for his side to string together consecutive wins as they looked to climb the table.
It was perhaps the strong performance against Rangers which saw MacKenzie make just the single change to the side which prevailed on the grass park of Murray Park with David Wilson’s place being taken by Andy McCarthy.
The game, kicking off at 11am in the morning, got off to a sluggish start with neither side forcing either goalkeeper into a save of note, but Thistle were the most attacking side in the opening 20 minutes, forcing no fewer than 7 corners. Edin Lynch got on the end of one but was unable to find the target with his header from a few yards out.
As Thistle continued to boss the game, largely played in Kilmarnock’s half during the opening 45 minutes, Whiteside sent a corner goalwards where a combination of goalkeeper and post denied his header from opening the scoring. Taylor burst through for Kilmarnock’s best chance of the first half, but he blazed over from 16 yards out.
Kevin Nisbet, still one goal shy of Chris Duggan’s Development League tally, forced a good save from the Kilmarnock goalkeeper from a tight angle where, in truth, the custodian would have been disappointed to concede from such an acute angle.
Thistle managed to take the lead ten minutes from kick off in spectacular fashion. Mark Lamont picked the ball up on the half way line and drove into the Kilmarnock half. Despite falling over having lost his balance he regained possession and fired a tremendous effort from distance beyond the despairing goalkeeper via the underside of the cross bar.
Thistle continued to have confidence and Lamont fizzed an effort inside the six yard box but no red and yellow jersey could bundle the ball into the back of the waiting net.
Thistle continued the one way traffic in the second half with McLaughlin forcing a good save from the goalkeeper having been picked out by Nisbet in a wide position. From another Thistle corner, 13 in total for the Young Jags, Penrice smashed a fierce effort which was tipped over with a superb one handed save. McLaughlin was next to trouble the defence with a header that was cleared off the line. From that attack, Kilmarnock broke and Morrison snatched an undeserved equaliser.
A long ball sent the attacker away through on goal and he lifted his effort over Cullen from just inside the box to bring the visitors level in the contest. Kilmarnock went looking for a second goal and Carrick had an effort from 20 yards. Thankfully for Thistle he got his connection all wrong and it flew high over the crossbar.
Kilmarnock came closest to adding another goal when Scott McLean fired a free kick off the crossbar from 22 yards, but it was the Young Jags who snatched all three points with less than five minutes remaining.
Neil McLaughlin did well to get an effort away from the edge of the box, but the Kilmarnock keeper failed to control the ball at the first, second and third attempt allowing Dominic Docherty to charge in and bundle the ball high into the net from close range.
Thistle never really looked like being threatened in the closing stages with the side winning a number of free kicks deep in the Kilmarnock half and were able to hold on for the win which sent the side up to 10th in the Development League table.