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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Airdrie United – 23rd February 2013

It was a case of ‘job done’ for Thistle at the end of an encounter with Airdrie United that proved at times to be something of a slog. Cliché or not though; we are now at the stage of the season where getting the win is all that matters and another collectors’ item goal from Chris Erskine 14 minutes from time ensured that Thistle did just that.
With a tough programme of weekend followed by midweek fixtures, Alan Archibald had hinted prior to the game that he may freshen up his side and he did that making two changes to the side that started against Hamilton Accies. There were starts for Kris Doolan and Ross Forbes with Steven Craig and Sean Welsh dropping to the bench for this game.
Having conceded seven on their last visit to Firhill Airdrie United came into this match with a clear game plan to frustrate Thistle and they were largely successful in the first half in doing that. Their approach at times, however, verged on the overly robust with three of their back four booked inside the first 30 minutes. Grant Evans in particular may have considered himself a little fortunate to see only yellow for his foul on Steven Lawless.
Thistle’s opportunities in the first 45 minutes though were fairly limited despite their dominance of possession. Ross Forbes saw a free kick from the edge of the box curl wide with Thomson in the Airdrie United goal motionless but it was Chris Erskine that was the biggest threat to the visitors’ goal during the opening half.
In the 38th minute he drove at the heart of the Airdrie United defence before firing just wide from the edge of the box, and right on the stroke of half-time Thomson did well to tip Erskine’s net bound header over the bar.
The only other real chance Thistle had in a frustrating opening half was a sliced clearance from Grant Evans that flew straight into the waiting arms of his goalkeeper.
There was much more action in front of the Airdrie United goal in the second half with the visitors’ goalkeeper in excellent form.
His first save of note came just 90 seconds after the restart. Kris Doolan was able to turn inside the box and his shot looked to be heading for the net only for Thomson to save with his feet.
Just past the hour mark Ross Forbes had two chances in quick succession to break the deadlock. Firstly lashing the ball over the bar after an Aaron Sinclair cross had been flicked on by Chris Erskine and then knocking the ball wide of the advancing Thomson but also wide of target.
With the pressure mounting Kris Doolan was unable to divert the ball on target after a Ross Forbes corner had been headed back towards goal in the 65th minute. Two minutes later Thomson was again in the thick of the action; this time producing another excellent save to deny Chris Erskine.
The game was into the final 15 minutes when Thistle did finally make the breakthrough and the quality of the goal made the wait worthwhile. A Stuart Bannigan free kick was cleared only as far as Chris Erskine 20 yards from goal. Erskine promptly volleyed the ball into the net via the frame of the goal for his 13th goal of the season and his 4th against Airdrie United.
That completed the scoring but Thistle did have a couple of opportunities to clinch the victory and ease any late nerves. The impressive Thomson saved once more after Steven Craig had set up Chris Erskine and James Craigen, not long on as a substitute, cut across the edge of the Airdrie United box before shooting wide of goal.
At the other end Aaron Muirhead made an important block inside the box as Airdrie United pushed men forward in the closing stages for an equaliser that they would scarcely have deserved.
This wasn’t a wonderful Thistle display by any means but was further evidence that they have the ability to grind out a win and get the job done when required.

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