Saturday 5th November, 2016 at 2:26am
After just one victory in their opening nine games, Partick Thistle had picked up two wins in as many games against Dundee and St. Johnstone. Those wins both came away from home and Thistle returned to Firhill for a Friday night clash with fourth place Aberdeen. The visitors came into the game having lost their previous two matches without scoring a goal.
Alan Archibald selected the same starting line-up that won 2-1 at McDiarmid Park last weekend, sticking with the three centre-half formation that had brought the Jags their two consecutive wins. Thorsten Stuckmann retained his place in the team with Cerny and Scully both still nursing injuries. David Amoo and Chris Erskine remained on the bench offering an impact later in the game.
As tonight’s encounter was the last at Firhill prior to Rememberance Day there was a minute of silence before the game. Both sets of fans observed the silence excellently.
The match itself started very slowly with Aberdeen dominating possession without creating many clear-cut chances as the Thistle defence showed the same strength that it had showed in the last two games.
It took 23 minutes for an opportunity to present itself as Jayden Stockley received the ball on the edge of the box before getting a shot away with his right-foot. The shot was fairly tame and Thorsten Stuckmann was able to save it easily.
Just one minute later the home side mustered up an excellent chance when Christie Elliott whipped a long ball around the Dons’ defence finding Ade Azeez who was one-on-one with the goalkeeper. Joe Lewis of Aberdeen couldn’t decide whether to come for the ball or stay on his line and this indecision meant Azeez tried a lofted shot over the ‘stopper but Lewis stood tall and saved easily.
Ade Azeez would have another chance in the 31st minute when a Sean Welsh cross dropped to the Englishman but his acrobatic attempt was well over the bar. The Jags had another chance four minutes later as an in-swinging corner found Danny Devine. The centre-half was on the slide and couldn’t direct his effort on target.
Alan Archibald’s side were beginning to control proceedings as the half progressed but the away side nearly went ahead with eight minutes until the interval. Johnny Hayes was in possession and had the ball 25 yards from goal, he then unleashed a long-range shot towards the far corner. Thorsten Stuckmann was left scrambling backwards as the shot seemed destined to nestle into the top corner but it ended up a couple of feet wide.
Despite the steady improvement in the home team’s game, Aberdeen were able to take the lead in the 39th minute. A free kick from 45 yards out was lofted into the Thistle box where it was headed down. The ball deflected off Adam Rooney and fell to Anthony O’Connor who smashed home the opening goal.
The Firhill men had one chance to equalise before half-time when Liam Lindsay hit a cross in form the left flank which ricocheted into the path of Sean Welsh. The midfielder tried to lift the ball over Joe Lewis but the goalie smothered it.
The score was 1-0 at half-time with neither team really standing out. Aberdeen had plenty of possession without producing too much in the attacking third. The home side had the best chances of the opening 45 with Ade Azeez and Danny Devine missing golden opportunities.
When the teams emerged for the second period it was clear that Alan Archibald wanted his team to improve in the midfield as he reverted to a back four with Adam Barton moving into the midfield to form a diamond with Osman, Welsh and Edwards.
Only three minutes after the restart Kris Doolan had a decent chance to bring his team level. He was fed the ball on the 18-yard line and on the half-volley tried a shot but it was safely stopped by Joe Lewis.
The equaliser would come, however. In the 51st minute Thistle had a corner at the tunnel end of the Colin Weir Stand which Sean Welsh took. It floated towards the back post where Adam Barton was running in. The ex-Portsmouth man headed towards goal under pressure and his header found the back of the net despite Lewis getting a hand to it.
The red and yellow portion of Firhill was sent into delirium but this would be short lived as two minutes after the game drew level, Aberdeen took the lead once again. Jayden Stockley received the ball in a small pocket of space in-between the Thistle lines and immediately looked to shoot. The forward saw Stuckmann off his line and tried an audacious chip. The attempt was perfectly weighted as it flew over the giant German, Stuckmann, and found the back of the net.
After retaking the lead, the visitors were happy enough to sit off their opponents, giving the Jags the challenge of breaking them down. Three changes were made in an attempt to revitalise the Thistle attack. Chris Erskine, David Amoo and Declan McDaid replaced Doolan, Azeez and Edwards who all put a proper shift in as they chased down the ball relentlessly the whole night.
As Alan Archibald’s side searched for an equaliser they almost allowed Aberdeen to extend the lead. Adam Rooney was played through on the right side of the box and he elected to shoot but his attempt was straight at the goalkeeper, Stuckmann.
Thistle’s best chance at a second equaliser fell to Chris Erskine. Declan McDaid got on the end of an Erskine knock-on and expertly flicked the ball back into the number 10’s path. The attacking midfielder tried to set himself for a left-footed shot but his effort was rushed and easy for Joe Lewis to collect.
Unfortunately for the Firhill faithful the game ended 2-1, the same result as when these two sides met at Pittodrie earlier this season. The Jags stay seventh in the Ladbrokes Premiership table with the rest of the league’s teams yet to play this weekend. An unbeaten run of four games comes to an end with tonight’s defeat but there will be plenty of time for Alan Archibald to analyse the game with an international break leaving two weeks until his side’s next match on Saturday 19th of November against Motherwell at Fir Park.