Saturday 21st November, 2020 at 9:00pm
After completing their Betfred Cup commitments with a penalty win over Morton last week, Partick Thistle returned to league action against East Fife this afternoon at Firhill. The Jags were looking for a win which would continue their unbeaten home record this season while the visiting Fifers sought to avoid a third defeat in 11 days.
Ian McCall made three changes to the side which faced Morton seven days prior with Ross Docherty and Brian Graham once again available having missed the cup clash due to suspension.
Thistle started the game well on top and could have gone in front after just 10 minutes as Joe Cardle’s free-kick caused East Fife problems. The number seven’s in-swinging delivery found the head of Mouhamed Niang who was denied his first Jags goal by the goalkeeper before Ross Docherty then put the ball over the bar as he stretched for it in the six-yard box.
The hosts wouldn’t have to wait too long for the opener though as they broke the deadlock in the 17th minute. On a quick break from an East Fife set piece, Kieran Wright dished the ball out to Joe Cardle on the right flank and after evading the challenge of one opponent he played a low cross in towards Connor Murray. The winger got to the ball before his marker and was bundled over in the process prompting the referee to point to the spot. Brian Graham stepped up to take the spot kick and he confidently fired into the net with Jordan Hart diving the wrong way.
After 27 minutes the Maryhill men were close to a second as Brian Graham set up Joe Cardle. The opportunity came from Stuart Bannigan’s cross which was knocked down by Graham towards Cardle. The wideman then tried to volley home but his bouncing effort skipped just past the post.
Just a minute later there was another opening for the home side with Ryan Williamson the provider as he bombed down the right wing. The full-back lifted a lovely cross to the back post where James Penrice was rushing in, however, the header he sent towards the bottom corner was blocked well at close range.
James Penrice had another sight of goal in the 33rd minute as a Jags corner wasn’t properly cleared and the number three picked it up 20 yards out. He set his sights on the bottom left corner of Jordan Hart’s goal but unfortunately his effort flashed wide.
The second half started rather slowly with neither team creating much coming out of the half-time interval but things burst into life with around 20 minutes to play. James Penrice moved into space on the left and cut the ball back to Joe Cardle as he hit the by-line. Cardle controlled and switched onto his left foot before trying to squeeze a shot in at the near post but his attempt ricocheted off the post and was eventually cleared.
Ian McCall’s side were able to increase the advantage though after that near thing as Brian Graham notched his fourth of the league season in the 78th minute. Darren Brownlie stepped up out of defence and headed the ball forward into the path of Graham who found himself in a bit of space 10 yards outside the box. With a defender closing him down and the ball sitting just right, he tried an ambitious lob over the goalkeeper and the number nine found the back of the net via the inside of the post. His second of the match takes his tally to seven goals in 10 league appearances as a Thistle player since signing in January.
The game ended 2-0 to the Jags and the margin of victory was enough to see the Firhill side move into fourth in the league ahead of next week’s trip to face Montrose at Links Park.