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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Aberdeen – 10th March 2018

Two weeks after suffering a late defeat at the hands of Hamilton, Partick Thistle returned to action with a difficult game at home against Aberdeen. The Jags saw their game last weekend called off and as such had an extra week to think over the loss at the SuperSeal Stadium that saw them drop into the bottom two. They came into this afternoon’s contest looking for a first win since late January, taking on a team that they hadn’t beaten since 2014.

Alan Archibald made six changes to his team as he continued to search for that winning formula although a few injury problems meant some decisions were made for him. Tomas Cerny retained his spot in the Thistle goal behind a back-line which saw two changes. Niall Keown picked up a knock in training and didn’t make the squad as a result. He was replaced by Steven Lawless as Thistle went from a five-at-the-back to a four man defence. In this formation, Daniel Devine and Baily Cargill operated as the two centre-halves in Keown’s absence. Callum Booth kept his spot at left back with James Penrice on the bench, however, there was a change at right back. Mustapha Dumbuya dropped out of the squad to be replaced by Christie Elliott as the Englishman made his first appearance for Thistle since he was injured in September.

In the midfield, Abdul Osman and Ryan Edwards both dropped out of the starting XI to be replaced for today’s game. Edwards took a place on the bench as Andrew McCarthy returned to the first XI meanwhile Abdul Osman missed the game, being replaced by Martin Woods. Chris Erskine came back into the side in Blair Spittal’s place in the number ten role while Miles Storey started on the left wing, coming in for Kris Doolan on the opposite wing to Steven Lawless. Conor Sammon remained up top having bagged eight goals in his last eight games.

The match was very scrappy straight from kick-off on a pitch that had taken damage from last week’s snow but Aberdeen were able to carve out the match’s first clear chance in the 14th minute. A deep cross flew towards the back post and Tomas Cerny came to punch the ball. He cleared it out of the six-yard box but it bounced straight to Kenny McLean who was stood on the right side of the box. McLean then opened up his body and attempted to curl a shot home but his effort bent just past the far post and the ball went for a goal-kick.

With the game not one for the football purists, the next big opportunity of the game didn’t come until the 32nd minute. It arrived through the work of Ryan Christie who got in behind Thistle defence on the Dons right. The Celtic loanee proceeded to cut the ball back towards the penalty spot where he found Graeme Shinnie. The visitors’ captain then tried a low shot as he looked sure to give the away side the lead but Tomas Cerny produced a brilliant save to deny the opener.

Thanks to Cerny’s heroics, the teams went into the break level with neither side able to find a deadlock-breaking goal. The game had been bereft of any true quality and the wet conditions had certainly played a part in that.

The second half started much more brightly for the hosts with the Jags carving out a good chance within two minutes of the restart. Miles Storey picked the ball up in the Aberdeen half and fed it to Steven Lawless who had found space on the Colin Weir Stand side of the field. The number 11 then shot at goal finding the target, however, Freddie Woodman was there to turn the ball behind for a corner.

The subsequent corner was whipped in by Woods and Chris Erskine nodded it goalward. The ball looped high into the air and although Woodman was left scrabbling to get to the ball, one of his defenders was able to clear it off the line.

11 minutes into the second 45, Thistle made their first change. Chris Erskine was the man who came off to be replaced by Ryan Edwards as Alan Archibald looked to add fresh legs to his midfield. There was then a long spell between this substitution and the Jags’ next one where no serious chances were created. The second change came in the 68th as Steven Lawless was withdrawn as Blair Spittal was introduced to the contest.

On 73 minutes, Aberdeen had a decent set-piece opportunity to take the lead which they passed up. Niall McGinn went down under the challenge of Christie Elliott and won the free-kick 20 yards from goal. Kenny McLean stepped up to take the shot but he rifled the right-footed effort safely over Tomas Cerny’s goal.

There would be one last big opportunity in the game and it came for Partick Thistle. The Jags broke quickly into the Aberdeen half and Spittal slotted an excellent ball through to Edwards who had found space on the right flank. The Australian had options in the box but opted to go for a shot from the angle. He fired high on goal and with his shot seemingly destined for the top corner, Freddie Woodman pulled off a great save to keep the match goalless.

That would be the final chance for either team as the referee blew for full time with the score at 0-0. The point takes Thistle a point further away from Ross County at the bottom of the table with two difficult away trips to come in the immediate future.

The Jags next game is a tough trip to Tynecastle to take on Craig Levein’s Hearts. Thistle will be hopeful of a result having drawn with the Jambos twice already this season. Kick-off for that one is 15:00 in Edinburgh.

THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, Elliott, Devine, Cargill, Booth, Woods, McCarthy, Lawless (Spittal, 68’), Erskine (Edwards, 56’), Storey, Sammon.

UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Scully, P. McGinn, Barton, Fraser, Doolan.

ABERDEEN TEAM: Woodman, Logan, O’Connor, McKenna, Considine, Shinnie, Ball (Mackay-Steven, 67’), McLean, Christie, N. McGinn (Stewart, 81’), May (Rooney, 56’).

UNUSED SUBS (ABD): Rogers, Arnason, Wright, Nwakali.

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