Tuesday 27th August, 2013 at 2:08pm
Thistle duly took up their expected place in the third round of the League Cup but they needed an extra 30 minutes to see off the challenge of Championship side Cowdenbeath who will rue a missed penalty in the second half with the game still tied at 0-0.
Manager Alan Archibald made five changes to side that lost narrowly at Motherwell at the weekend with Mark Kerr, who skippered the side, Gabriel Piccolo, Ross Forbes, Kallum Higginbotham and John Baird all coming into the starting eleven.
Thistle made a sluggish start to the game with the visitors having the game’s first half chance inside the opening minute of the game although Scott Fox wasn’t unduly tested by Jamie Stevenson’s effort.
It took Thistle the best part of 20 minutes to really start to exert a grip on the game and start to create chances. A John Baird effort from a Taylor-Sinclair cross went over the bar with the Thistle striker appealing in vain for a corner kick. Baird was close again with a shot from an O’Donnell cross after Muirhead’s pass sent O’Donnell clear down the right hand side in the 20th minute but Adam in the Cowdenbeath goal was well placed to save.
A minute later O’Donnell again crossed from the right and this time Baird’s effort went wide of Adam’s goal.
As Thistle continued to enjoy long spells of possession Higginbotham sent a shot over the bar and Ross Forbes twice saw shots comfortably saved by Grant Adam as a fairly low key first half ended goalless.
Thistle were a little unlucky not to score early in the second half with Adam making a fine save to deny John Baird and James Craigen, after good play down the left by Taylor-Sinclair, was unfortunate to see a well struck shot blocked by a Cowdenbeath defender.
It was the visitors, however, that missed a gilt edged chance to take the lead in the 53rd minute. Kenny Adamson was fouled by Aaron Muirhead as he wriggled his way into the Thistle box and there could be no complaints over the decision to award Cowdenbeath a penalty. There was a reprieve, however, for Thistle as Scott Fox made an excellent save low to his right to keep out Jamie Stevenson’s penalty.
In truth that was by far the best chance either side had of a goal during the second half. Thistle sub Steven Lawless did send a shot over the bar but the closest Thistle came to a goal came with the game deep into injury time; Adam making an excellent save with his feet to prevent Kris Doolan from finding the net.
After a fairly uneventful first 90 minutes the 30 minutes of extra-time was an altogether more lively affair.
Just two minutes into extra-time and the deadlock was broken. Two of Thistle substitutes combined; Stevie Lawless setting up Christie Elliott and his low angled drive found the back of the net.
It took Cowdenbeath just 67 seconds to find an equaliser; Kane Hemming’s low drive skidding past Scott Fox and into the net.
Now with their tails up Cowdenbeath could even have snatched the lead in the 95th minute and would have done so had Fox not produced a superb save to keep out a Hemmings’ effort at his left hand post.
With Thistle living a little dangerously a John Armstrong header flashed wide of the Thistle goal as a little anxiety spread around Firhill.
There were just three minutes of the first period of extra-time remaining, however, when Thistle found themselves back in front. After providing the assist for the first goal this time Steven Lawless found the net himself with a low drive.
Thistle finally made sure of their passage into the next round with 6 minutes of extra-time remaining. Steven Lawless had his feet taken from under him by Morton for an obvious penalty that Aaron Muirhead calmly tucked into the back of the net.