Saturday 26th August, 2017 at 8:12pm
Partick Thistle continued their search for their first Ladbrokes Premiership points of the season as they took on Aberdeen at Firhill this afternoon. The Jags have lost their opening three league games of the season and sat on no points coming into today’s clash. The Dons came to Firhill having won all three of their games so far this campaign, conceding just twice in the process.
Thistle lined up with Tomas Cerny in goals behind the centre-half pairing of Niall Keown and Jordan Turnbull who were starting their third game in a row together. The news that Callum Booth will miss around three months of action through injury means Milan Nitriansky came into the side as Christie Elliott moved to left-back. Abdul Osman also missed out through injury so Stuart Bannigan and Adam Barton were the deep-lying midfielders. Blair Spittal and Conor Sammon were the wide men while Chris Erskine filled the number ten role. Kris Doolan was the lone striker with Miles Storey missing out completely through illness.
Going into the game, Thistle would be looking for a solid start to stop the dangerous Aberdeen attack, however, the Maryhill men got off to a nightmare start. Shay Logan took a shot from 25 yards on the right but failed to catch the ball properly. Luckily for him, his shot fell straight to Ryan Christie who controlled well. He had time to pick his spot and slotted home past Tomas Cerny to give the visitors the advantage.
In May, Thistle conceded an early goal to the Dons and went on to concede six in an embarrassing defeat. Having fallen behind early, the Jags had to avoid collapsing in a similar manner to make sure they wouldn’t lose in a similar way again. Unlike on that day earlier this year, the Jags bounced back quickly. Blair Spittal fed the ball to Chris Erskine just outside the box. The number ten then set himself before unleashing a shot from 20 yards. His effort was low and accurate as it found the bottom corner of Joe Lewis’ goal bringing the teams level. The goal was important in the match’s context but it also had longer term significance. It represented the 50th time that Erskine had found the net for Thistle eight years after his first goal against Berwick Rangers in 2009.
The hosts weren’t content with pulling level either as they went ahead in the 13th minute. Blair Spittal whipped in a right-footed corner that was met by an Aberdeen man. The ball ricocheted back towards goal but Joe Lewis was able to deny an own goal. The rebound then fell to Kris Doolan who proceeded to tap home off the post from close range.
The gamed suddenly slowed after the Doolan goal as both teams struggled to keep the ball for long periods. Aberdeen had a couple of chances as did Thistle but neither team created anything clear cut until the 42nd minute.
With three minutes left of the first 45, Ryan Christie had the ball in the Jags’ box when under pressure from a Stuart Bannigan shove, he went down and the referee awarded a spot kick. Kenny McLean stepped up to take it and tucked it home confidently, sending Tomas Cerny the wrong way.
The away side had a chance to retake the lead on the stroke of half-time when Aberdeen’s goal scorers linked up. Kenny McLean lifted a ball into the box for Ryan Christie. The number 22 then acrobatically shot with Tomas Cerny slightly off his line. His attempt was looping and on target but the Czech ‘stopper, Cerny, got a hand to it and turned the shot behind.
The teams went into the break level after an exhilarating first 15 minutes the match fizzled out in the middle of the half but a flurry of action at the end of the first period brought the game back to life. Erskine scored his first goal of the new competitive season while Kris Doolan netted his first of the new league campaign.
The second half started almost as quickly as the first when the first goal was scored seven minutes in. Scott Wright picked up the ball on the far side of the box and moved inside onto his right foot. No one pressured the youngster and he curled a brilliant effort into the top corner beating Tomas Cerny all ends up.
Unfortunately for Derek McInnes’ Dons side, much like Aberdeen’s early first half goal, it didn’t take long for a reply to come. Two minutes after Wright’s excellent goal Thistle found the net from another corner. This time Blair Spittal’s corner was met by a Thistle head in Niall Keown. The centre-half directed the ball into the corner and grabbed the leveller, scoring his first Thistle goal. Following the third Jags goal, Ryan Edwards was brought on for Stuart Bannigan.
The game then went to a similar place as the first half in that there wasn’t much passing play and neither team was cutting the other open. The game looked like it might have been ending in a draw until the 84th minute. Ryan Christie picked up the ball on the Dons’ right flank and had space and time to bend a cross into the centre. The delivery evaded the attempted clearance of Jordan Turnbull and found Adam Rooney. The experienced striker then touched it on, beating Tomas Cerny with his header as the visitors took the lead for the third time of the game.
Alan Archibald took Blair Spittal and Chris Erskine off, replacing them with Kevin Nisbet and Steven Lawless as he looked for a late retort. However, any hopes of an equaliser were extinguished by the sending off of Niall Keown. The centre-half was shown a second yellow for a foul on Kenny McLean around the half-way line. On the day he picked up his first Thistle goal, he is sent off for the first time in a Jags jersey.
The game ended 4-3 to the travelling Dons as Thistle fell to yet another victory. Goals from Chris Erskine, Kris Doolan and Niall Keown helped Alan Archibald’s side stand toe-to-toe with the men from the Granite City but Adam Rooney’s 84th minute header was the difference maker as the Jags remain without a point.
The Firhill side now turn their attentions to a trip to Dingwall in two weeks. The international break sits between today’s match and that encounter so the Jags have plenty of time to prepare for their trip to face the Staggies. Kick-off is 15:00 on Saturday the 9th of September.
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