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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Dumbarton – 9th March 2013

Alan Archibald’s excellent start as Thistle’s interim manager continued as an unbeaten run was extended to a seventh game with an ultimately comfortable win over Dumbarton. The 3-0 score line, however, only tells half a story. At times, especially in the opening half, this was anything but a routine win for Thistle, and it was only in the final quarter of the game that they truly had a grip on proceedings.
Returning to events prior to kick-off, Thistle suffered a blow when pre-match injury doubt Chris Erskine was ruled out. His place in the side went to James Craigen who had been impressive when coming off the bench in the two previous fixtures.
Dumbarton were the last side to defeat Thistle and they were close to taking an early lead in this game. Thistle conceded possession of the ball far too easily in the middle of the park and allowed Garry Fleming to run at the Thistle defence. As things opened up in front of him Fleming was only denied a goal when his shot struck the outside of Scott Fox’s right hand post.
In Thistle’s first raid on the Dumbarton goal Grindlay was able to save, but not hold, a well struck effort from Sean Welsh before, after 9 minutes, Thistle opened the scoring. Stephen O’Donnell’s chipped cross from the right was headed down by Steven Craig and Steven Lawless was in the right place to divert the ball into the net.
It was thought that that early strike would settle any Thistle nerves but Dumbarton continued to pose the Thistle defence all kinds of problems. They would have been level too in the 13th minute had Scott Fox not done well to block an effort from Gilhaney when the Dumbarton player had looked odds on to score.
That in truth was the closest that Dumbarton would come to a goal all afternoon although there appeals for a penalty in the 32nd minute when McDougall went to ground inside the Thistle box.
There was little fluency to the Thistle performance at this point although they were close to taking a two goal lead into the dressing room at half-time that they wouldn’t perhaps have deserved. James Craigen did well to set up Sean Welsh at the edge of the Dumbarton box and Welsh’s effort, with Grindlay looking beaten, went narrowly wide of target.
The start of the second half was scrappy and untidy but gradually Thistle were able to take control of the game. Steven Craig, scorer of a hat-trick in the previous game against Dunfermline, saw his effort in the 66th minute parried away by Grindlay and from the corner that followed Craig had the ball in the net when he converted Conrad Balatoni’s knock down; the referee, however, had spotted an infringement and the ‘goal’ was disallowed.
Thistle though were given the breathing space of a second goal in the 74th minute and it was another Firhill cracker. Steven Lawless was again the goal scorer; this time finding the net from 20 yards out with a shot that found the net via the underside of the bar.
Now with the benefit of a two goal advantage Thistle started to play with much more poise and confidence. Christie Elliott had been introduced as a substitute for Ross Forbes just past the hour mark and he made a big impact during his 30 minutes or so on the park. In Thistle’s first attack after scoring the second goal Aaron Sinclair sent Elliott clear down the left with James Craigen unable to convert Elliott’s near post cross into a goal.
Kris Doolan though had better fortune when Thistle grabbed a third goal in the 81st minute. The impressive Elliott got clear down the left and Doolan applied the finish to the cross that followed.
With the points now won Thistle could even have added a fourth goal before the end with Aaron Sinclair sending a shot narrowly over the bar.
Thistle’s next three games are now all away from home and as a casual glance at the league table will tell you there is an obvious reward should Thistle win the first one of them at Raith Rovers on Tuesday night.

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