Tuesday 12th September, 2017 at 9:58pm
Coming off the back of an impressive 3-2 victory over defending Development League champions Ross County, Partick Thistle hosted Motherwell at the Excelsior Stadium in their fourth league match of the season.
The Jags started with a trialist in goals behind a makeshift back four of Lee Duncanson, Ian Stokes, John Kelly and Ross Fleming. Callum Wilson and Antony Eadie sat at the base of the midfield with Mark Lamont, Connor Higgins and Neil McLaughlin forming a three in behind the lone striker, Kevin Nisbet.
The first action of the match came just three minutes into the match. Ian Stokes gave away a free kick on the edge of the Thistle box and the man who won it, Craig Tanner, stepped up to take the set piece. He drilled it low, beating the wall, and finding the target. It had plenty of power behind it but Thistle’s trialist ‘keeper got down well to turn it away from goal.
Motherwell’s early chance set the tone for the first half as the ‘Well dominated the opening stages of the clash and were rewarded for their dominance in the 17th minute. A cross from a Motherwell trialist found the towering Alex Fisher in the box. The ex-Inverness man directed his header across goal and found the far corner making it 1-0 to the visitors.
The away side then doubled their lead in the 27th minute from the penalty spot. They won the spot kick when the ‘Well trialist fell to the ground while under some pressure from John Kelly. The Motherwell man tried to break past Kelly and went down when the centre-half leant into him. It seemed a soft penalty to give but the referee pointed to the spot nonetheless. The man who opened the scoring for Motherwell took the penalty and Alex Fisher dispatched it confidently sending the ‘keeper the wrong way.
After that goal, there were only half chances for the sides and the score was 2-0 as the interval arrived. It had been a disappointing opening 45 for the young Jags and a performance that they would have to improve on if they were to pull themselves back into the game.
Thistle would have been looking for a positive start to the second period so they could drag themselves back into contention but it was the opposite that happened when the Steelmen made it 3-0 in the 50th minute. The trialist was at the centre of things again as he used quick feet to beat his man, coming inside from the right wing. He broke into the box and smashed a shot across goal, beating the goalkeeper despite the ‘stopper getting something to it and putting the game out of Thistle’s reach.
Motherwell had done well and deserved their three goals but it should have been made four in the 57th minute. The Motherwell trialist was slotted in on goal and moved into the box with pace. He then unselfishly squared the ball to Alex Fisher so the forward could complete his hat-trick. Fisher had an open goal to aim at but somehow skewed the ball wide of the near post.
In the 64th minute, Scott MacKenzie made a double substitution as Aidan Fitzpatrick and James Stokes replaced Connor Higgins and Mark Lamont.
The young Thistle side had their first opportunity of the second half in the 66th minute through Kevin Nisbet. After an initial cross found no one and bounced right through the Motherwell box, Ross Fleming looped a deep cross to the back post finding Nisbet. The young striker headed on goal at the far stick but cleared the bar with the attempt.
The hosts had another chance to pull a goal back in the 71st minute. Aidan Fitzpatrick broke quickly with the ball and slotted it through to the pacey James Stokes. Stokes took his time before shooting but got his shot away in any case. His attempt was saved by the ‘keeper and the danger was gone.
In the 79th minute the Jags had a couple of quick-fire opportunities. Callum Wilson slotted the ball to Kevin Nisbet in the box and the striker fired a shot across goal. Unfortunately for Nisbet, it rebounded off the post and beat the Thistle men in the box looking for a tap-in. It then came back to Nisbet 20 seconds later and he once again shot across the ‘keeper. This time it was saved and the ball was eventually cleared for a corner on a night where nothing was going in for Scott MacKenzie’s side.
That was the last meaningful attack for either team on the night as Thistle fell to a 3-0 defeat. It’s their second league defeat of the season and leaves them on four points from four games. The young Jags now look to a meeting with Hamilton at the Superseal Stadium on the 26th of September. Kick-off is 18:00 against Accies.
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