Saturday 7th November, 2020 at 11:20pm
It was a return to Firhill for Partick Thistle as they hosted Falkirk on matchday four in the League One 2020/21 campaign. Thistle were looking to bounce back from late heartache at Cove after conceding a late goal whilst Falkirk were looking to maintain their unbeaten run.
The Jags manager, Ian McCall, made three changes for the game against Falkirk. Connor Murray, Joe Cardle and Ryan Williamson all came into the starting eleven with Mouhamed Niang, Richard Foster and Shea Gordon dropping to a depleted substitutes bench.
It was a beautiful day for football at Firhill as the sun was shining on the park, the wind was low, and the park looked terrific. The game started lively with Thistle controlling possession and looking confident on the ball, however, that all changed after ten minutes as Falkirk took the lead with the first serious action of the game. Callumn Morrison tried a shot from distance which deflected off Penrice’s leg who he tried to block the shot. This looped the ball high into the air dipping over Kieran Wright, giving Falkirk the early lead.
The Jags continued to perform on the front foot, pressing Falkirk back. This pressure eventually paid off as Ryan Williamson got high up the pitch to support the attack, hitting the touchline with the ball but before he could send in a cross, he was fouled by Falkirk’s defender Dixon. Brian Graham looked to level the scoring from the spot, but his penalty was saved as the keeper dived to his left.
Thistle looked to put the disappointment behind them as they continued to push for the equaliser, this time Connor Murray tried his luck at the Falkirk goal but P.J. Morrison produced a good save and put it out for a corner.
Falkirk almost doubled their lead before half time when the ball broke to one of their players in the box. It looked to be certain that the Jags were going into half time two goals down but somehow Anton Dowd’s shot came crashing off the post and spun away from goal.
As the first half ended Thistle came out all guns blazing the second half to get back into the game. In the opening minutes Cardle whipped over a freekick from the right-hand side, finding Docherty in space within the box, but he couldn’t get the power behind the shot to direct it towards goal. A couple of minutes later Brian Graham received the ball down the left hand side of Falkirk’s box, he turned and weaved to create space to cross the bal. His delivery looked as if it could sneak in at the back post but it narrowly evaded the post and went wide.
Brian Graham continued his one man crusade for a Jags leveller when he met another Joe Cardle free kick, but this side from the other side of the pitch. The power cross from the Jags number seven was met by Brian Graham who beat the keeper but also saw his header drift past the post.
That man Joe Cardle was involved once more in Thistle’s next attacking move but this time his hard work paid off. Blair Spittal sent in a cross which Brian Graham nodded down in the six yard box. Connor Murray challenged Mark Durnan for the ball but Joe Cardle came flying in to head the ball goalwards, beyond the despairing defender and into the net.
Like buses, two Thistle goals came along in quick succession as Thistle took the lead. Cardle turned provider after being picked out by Ross Docherty. His whipped cross was met by Brian Graham who headed home from close range to fire Thistle into the lead.
Blair Lyons was introduced to the action as Thistle looked to see our their lead with the pacy attacker coming dangerously close to intercepting slack passes by the Falkirk rearguard. There was a claim for a second Jags penalty when Lyons tumbled inside the box, but the match official waved away the claims. The ball broke to Stuart Bannigan who could only send his effort narrowly over the bar.
With time winding down, it looked like Thistle were set to take all three points from the match but with just a handful of minutes remaining on the clock, the Bairns snatched an equaliser. Conor Sammon got on the end of a looping deflected cross to tee up Charlie Telfer who powered a volley past Kieran Wright to level the scoring.
The game ended in a draw with Thistle putting in another strong second half performance that didn’t earn the points it deserved. Next up for Thistle is the final Betfred Cup group tie against Greenock Morton next Saturday at Firhill.