Tuesday 16th August, 2016 at 10:00pm
In the first round of the Irn Bru cup a young Partick Thistle team defeated Clyde 5-0 at Broadwood. The competition came to Firhill in this round as Queen’s Park visited Maryhill for the second time this season.
An unchanged young Jags side saw Kevin Nisbet leading the line fresh from a debut goal for Ayr United on Saturday. Lining up for Queen’s Park was former Thistle goalkeeper Marc Waters who spent three years as part of the Jags development squad.
The game started slowly with neither team really able to hold possession long enough to create much, however, when Matthew McInally ran down the right-wing and delivered a cross into the centre, the men in red and yellow almost took the lead. Kevin Nisbet managed to get the ball down and poke it towards goal but his shot rebounded off the post as Waters scrambled across the goal line.
After that point the Jags began building confidence. The passing became more incisive and the team became more careful in possession. Despite that, chances remained scarce. A Kevin Nisbet free-kick from 30 yards out was easily held by Marc Waters 23 minutes in. Mark Lamont also came close but in an unconventional way. He was on corner duties and hit an in swinging corner towards the near post. Nobody managed to get a flick on and the ball had to be punched away by Waters.
With four minutes left in the first 45, the Spiders managed to create their best chance of the half. Ewan MacPherson latched on to a loose ball and headed across goal from close range. Fortunately for Thistle, his effort hit the post.
Half-time came and Thistle had a lot to be positive about. The youngsters were beginning to show a real maturity while on the ball and it was leading to chances. Kevin Nisbet was looking extremely sharp.
The teams came out for the second half and the Jags were the team who looked good in the early stages. Just two minutes into the second period and Matthew McInally manufactured another great chance this time for Dominic Docherty but the 19-year old’s header was saved sensationally by Marc Waters.
However, the resulting corner was more fruitful. James Penrice sent the delivery over and the ball bounced off one of the opposition defenders. It fell to centre-half Michael McMullin of all people, and the big man smashed the ball home.
Kevin Nisbet replaced by James Stokes 52 minutes in and this change took the focal point of the team away and meant that the Jags’ attacking threat was majorly damaged.
Both teams experienced half chances throughout the remainder of the match but the defining moment came with just two minutes of normal time to go. With the ball up high in the Thistle area Bryan Wharton headed the ball back towards goal. A set of three flicks lead to the ball dropping to John Carter who was on the edge of offside. He managed to guide the ball into the net and the game was headed for extra time.
The Thistle boys seemed dejected after losing a late goal but they had to refocus their attention as 30 more minutes were coming up.
The first big chance of extra time fell to Joshua Watt who had an open shot at goal from 20 yards. He fired a powerful attempt towards goal and Connor Cullen had to tip it over the bar. Queen’s Park also made a claim for a penalty when an onrushing attacker collided with a Jags man in the box but the referee waved away the protests.
Three minutes into the second half of extra time and David Syme found himself chasing a Queen’s Park man who was on the break. Syme made a cynical challenge from behind inside the Spiders’ half. The referee blew for the foul but the opposition players weren’t happy and a scuffle ensued. The referee decided that between the tackle and Syme’s part in the aftermath, he was deserving of a red card and Thistle were left with ten men in the closing stages of the match.
Scott MacKenzie’s team hung on and the game went to penalties, shooting towards the North Stand.
After a full five rounds of spot-kicks there was nothing to separate the teams and with tension building, it went to sudden death. Callum Wilson stepped up for Thistle and put his penalty past Waters and into the back of the net. Next up it was Liam Brown for Queen’s Park and he confidently netted.
The seventh man to step up for the Jags was James Penrice. The set piece specialist had taken the corner that lead to the opening goal and had been an actively creative force all evening. However, he couldn’t convert from 12 yards. His penalty saved by Waters down to the ‘keeper’s left.
Gregor Fotheringham was the man with the chance to win it for Queen’s Park. The number seven slotted his shot past Cullen and ended the game after it went all the way.
Although they lost the game, the young Jags could take plenty of positives form the game. They had brought the game to a team with much more experience than them and had played some good football.
The players involved tonight who play with the development squad can now look forward to next Tuesday’s Development League game away to Dundee United.
For Thistle fans, focus turns to Pittodrie on Saturday when Thistle return to Ladbrokes Premiership action against Aberdeen.