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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Dunfermline Athletic – 1st December 2012

Thistle’s interest in this season’s Scottish Cup is at an end following defeat, Thistle’s first at Firhill in any competition since March, at the hands of Dunfermline Athletic; Thistle playing all but 27 minutes of the game with ten men following the sending off of central defender Aaron Muirhead.
There was a place on the bench for Steven Craig but Thistle were otherwise unchanged from the side that had defeated Livingston and befitting a side brim full of confidence they moved the ball about the pitch well in the opening stages without creating much directly in front of the Dunfermline goal.
After the game the Dunfermline manager Jim Jefferies claimed that his side had been the better of the two in the opening 30 minutes and while not everyone in red and yellow would perhaps agree with that assessment his side did have the better chances during that period.
In the 12th minute Graeme Smith produced a fine strop to deny Craig Dargo after the former Thistle man had been set up by Ryan Thomson who had spotted Dargo to his right.
Dargo again threatened the Thistle goal in the 25th minute when he took advantage of some casual play from Thistle at the back only to see his final shot take a touch off a Thistle player.
Indeed at this point in proceedings Dargo was involved in most things, and he was at the heart of what proved to be the game’s pivotal moment after 27 minutes. Dargo, who failed to find the net during his time at Firhill, got round the wrong side of Aaron Muirhead and when referee McLean adjudged that Muirhead had fouled the Dunfermline striker on the edge of the Thistle box a red card was inevitable.
Dunfermline couldn’t convert the free kick that followed Muirhead’s sending off but they did take the lead in the 35th minute. It was a simple goal; Andy Barrowman being able to climb above the Thistle defence to nod the ball into the back of the net.
A man, and now, a goal down Thistle very facing the prospect of having to climb a mountain to get back into the game but in the time that remained before the interval they showed that this game was anything but over.
Paul Gallacher, who would keep Dunfermline in the game during the second half, was a little fortunate to get the break of the ball outside his penalty area just a couple of minutes before half-time after he had, successfully, challenged Chris Erskine for the ball.
At times in the second half you could have been forgiven for not realising which side had ten men and which had eleven.
An Aaron Sinclair cross from the left that Kris Doolan stretched to head wide, and a long range effort from Hugh Murray were early second half indications that Thistle were still very much in this game.
Jordan McMillan did send a shot wide of Graeme Smith’s right hand post just past the hour mark before Graeme Smith made an excellent double save, but when Thistle were handed the perfect opportunity to level the scores in the 70th minute few people could have argued that Thistle wouldn’t have deserved to be level at that point.
Chris Erskine completely wrong footed Andy Dowie inside the box and when Dowie felled Erskine it wasn’t a difficult decision for the referee to award Thistle a penalty. Ross Forbes was the man to take the kick and he did little wrong only to be thwarted by Gallacher who managed to divert the ball onto the inside of the post and enjoy good fortune as the ball then rolled along the goal line. It was that kind of afternoon for Thistle.
That was hardly the last chance that Thistle would have either. Gallacher would again deny Thistle, firstly saving from Chris Erskine and then Ross Forbes whose swerving effort very nearly eluded the grasp of the Dunfermline keeper.
It was really only when the depleted Thistle side push men forward that Dunfermline looked like adding to their tally and Thistle were grateful on a number of occasions for the intervention of Graeme Smith,  who for the second home game in a row had a fine game.
With the game in injury time Dunfermline’s Andy Barrowman collected his second yellow card in a matter of minutes to even up the numbers but there wasn’t the time left for Thistle to score the equaliser and earn the replay that they deserved.

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