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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Airdrieonians – 13th July 2019

Partick Thistle kicked off the 2019/20 season officially at the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill as they took on Airdrieonians in their first Betfred Cup group stage match of the term.

The game represented the Diamonds first visit to Maryhill since 2013 when Chris Erskine’s volley was the difference between the sides though they had taken on the Jags twice at the Penny Cars Stadium since that day with Thistle winning on both occasions.

For Gary Caldwell’s side, there were only two debuts in the starting XI with the bulk of the team being made up by players who were at the club last season.

Jamie Sneddon started in goals, carrying on from his impressive end to the 18/19 campaign which saw him keep three clean sheets in five games during the run-in. Ryan Williamson made his first Thistle appearance, despite a wrist problem which had threatened to keep him out, on the opposite flank to James Penrice. Between the two wing-backs, Steven Saunders, Sean McGinty and the returning Tam O’Ware formed a formidable central defensive unit. Stuart Bannigan and Shea Gordon filled the midfield area just behind Joe Cardle who occupied a slightly unfamiliar role as a number 10. The hosts’ second debutant was Kenny Miller who started up front alongside Lewis Mansell.

On the bench for the Maryhill men were Scott Fox, Tommy Robson, Cammy Palmer, Callum Wilson, Mouhamed Niang, Evan Galasso and Bradley Renfrew.

The first chance of the match fell to the home side as Shea Gordon’s cross deflected the way of James Penrice who took aim from the edge of the box. The number three kept his effort on target but David Hutton in the Diamonds’ goal was able to parry it away from goal.

Thistle continued to push and had another opportunity to break the deadlock on 25 minutes as Kenny Miller sought a debut goal. The attack came through Lewis Mansell who managed to create some space and deliver a good ball into the box for Gordon to attack. The Northern-Irishman headed it goalward but a block sent it the way of Miller. The veteran forward tried to re-adjust his body and volley into the top corner but his attempt flew just wide of the post.

The visitors then had a very good chance of their own with nine minutes of the first half to play as Airdrieonians broke after a few fierce challenges in the midfield area. Ally Roy dashed forward with the ball at his feet, feeding Dale Carrick in the final third. The ex-Hearts man cut onto his right foot and took a shot but he blazed it well over the bar, ending a promising attack for Ian Murray’s side.

In the second half, the Jags stepped their game up as they searched for their first goal of the 19/20 term having introduced Rangers loanee, Cammy Palmer, at the break in place of Shea Gordon.

Kenny Miller had another chance four minutes into the second period as Ryan Williamson lifted a terrific ball into the path of the ex-Dundee man. Miller attempted a half-volley without taking a touch, however, his strike was too central allowing Hutton to make a simple stop.

Sean McGinty was the next to test Hutton as he picked the ball up after a short corner which led to Joe Cardle’s shot being blocked. The big centre-half then kept the attack alive by driving onto his left foot and delivering a ball into the box. His cross went slightly further than intended and, in the end, required a touch from Hutton to take it over the bar for another corner and deny McGinty his first Thistle goal.

The men in red and yellow finally made a breakthrough in the 65th minute with a bit of help from Airdrieonians defender, Sean Crighton. It was a James Penrice corner which caused the danger, landing right in the six-yard box with Tam O’Ware in close proximity. Under pressure from O’Ware, Crighton swung a leg at the delivery, inadvertently knocking the ball past his own ‘keeper into the net.

That own goal proved the difference as Thistle claimed the first three points on offer in their Betfred Cup group and went to the top of the group with Hamilton and Queen’s Park drawing elsewhere.

Next up for the squad is a trip to the Penny Cars Stadium to take on Mark Roberts’ Queen’s Park side at 7:45pm on Tuesday.

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