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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Dundee United – 5th April 2016

With two games remaining before the league splits into two sections of six, it was another crucial night at Firhill as Thistle hosted Dundee United in a re-arranged game from January. Both sides needed the three points for very different reasons contributing to a tense atmosphere around the ground as kick off approached.

Manager Alan Archibald made two changes to the side which contested a drab draw against Kilmarnock with Kris Doolan being preferred to Mathias Pogba up front, while Ryan Edwards dropped out for Gary Fraser. United were captained by former Thistle player, Paul Paton and were looking to build on Saturday’s 1-0 win over St Johnstone.

Frederic Frans went into Andrew Dallas’ book inside two minutes when he fouled Anier as he looked to burst through on goal. Paul Paton’s free kick sailed high over Cerny’s cross bar.

It was Dundee United who had the better of the early stages and after they capitalised on Gary Fraser lying stricken on the Firhill turf, Ryan Dow forced a strong save from Tomas Cerny. Fraser’s game was over with barely ten minutes played and Archibald introduced Pogba to the team, with Doolan dropping deeper into midfield.

As Thistle struggled to adapt to the tactical change, United imposed themselves on the game. Paul Paton curled a free kick just out of the reach of the United attack. Long ball after long ball caused Thistle bother and Tomas Cerny had to be alert on a number of occasions to sweep up loose balls while also producing terrific saves. Ryan Dow was posing a menace to the Thistle defence, but was having a poor time with his accuracy, firing over the top of the bar.

With 29 minutes on the clock, Thistle got themselves in a horrible mess on the edge of the box and with McKay presented with near to an open goal, his effort was just over the cross bar.

Thistle were starting to come into the game but Doolan’s header was comfortable for Kawashima to clutch. It was only a temporary respite as United broke again. The ball working its way to Rankin on the left hand side of the box and he forced an excellent save from Cerny who tipped over the crossbar.

United did have the ball in the net on the stroke of half-time through McKay but the whistle had long gone for an offside.

If the first half was one of Thistle’s poorest then the second half was a definite improvement. There was a tactical reshuffle required early on with Frederic Frans having to be replaced in the early stages of the second half through injury. Mustapha Dumbuya was introduced to the game meaning Gary Miller moved to central defence. It was a move that would have a devastating impact on the game.

One of his rampaging runs down the right hand side saw him whip over a cross which Callym Booth volleyed over the crossbar by inches.

Thistle were coming into the game stronger as it wore on, but weren’t creating clear cut opportunities for Kawashima to face in the United goal. That all changed in the 71st minute as Thistle took the lead.

Dundee United sent an aimless long ball into the corner, which Callum Booth collected. He played the ball to Doolan who controlled well before sending it back to Booth. The ball was switched to Dumbuya, via Osman and Welsh, who rampaged down the right hand side. His low cross from the right was dummied by David Amoo to create the space for Kris Doolan to lash a right footed effort beyond Kawashima from just inside the penalty area.

Thistle found renewed confidence from the goal and Lawless forced a full length save from the edge of the box.

With Thistle having used all three substitutes there was some concern when Abdul Osman appeared to suffer an injury. Thankfully he was able to soldier on with Thistle unable to add a second goal when Welsh worked well inside the box. Kawashima was equal to his curling low effort.

David Amoo was proving to be useful for Thistle in winding down the clock with several rampaging runs deep into United territory.

With four minutes of injury time signalled, there would be one further moment of drama when Scott Fraser tumbled inside the Thistle box. He was, correctly booked for diving as temperatures began to rise inside the Jags penalty area.

With four minutes of additional time safely navigated, Thistle could celebrate another three points that took the side above the 40 points mark and means the side will be competing for a top six slot in the last game before the split.

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