Wednesday 18th July, 2018 at 11:31am
Three days after their season opener against Stenhousemuir, Partick Thistle returned to action with their first home game of the new campaign. Morton were the visitors in Maryhill as the Betfred Cup entered its second round of group stage fixtures.
There was one change to the team who ran out 2-0 winners at Ochilview on Saturday as the injured Aaron Lennox was replaced by Cammy Bell, who was making his Thistle debut. The defence was unchanged with James Penrice, Tam O’Ware, Sean McGinty and Christie Elliott making up the back four again. Once again it was Craig Slater and Shea Gordon at the base of the midfield in behind Blair Spittal, Jack Storer and Chris Erskine. Kris Doolan started alone up front.
The game started quickly with a shot on goal within a minute for the hosts. A Morton tackle inadvertently knocked the ball into the path of Kris Doolan in the Ton box. He fired a shot on goal with his weaker right foot but his effort was beaten away by Ryan Scully.
Thistle were dominating the early proceedings and that dominance led to the Jags breaking the deadlock in the 16th minute. A cross from Thistle number 17, Craig Slater was headed clear by a Morton man but the bouncing ball fell the way of Jack Storer, 25 yards from goal. Without thinking twice, Storer slammed a half-volley towards goal, meeting the ball on the rise and finding the top corner. The goal was Jack’s first in the red and yellow and he’ll do well to score a better one.
The home side would double their lead just 13 minutes later with a very different goal. The opener was a long-range belter out of nowhere; however, the second was a well-worked team goal that started with the defence. Towards the end of the move, Christie Elliott played a well-timed pass through to Chris Erskine on the right hand side of the Morton box. Erskine then played a low ball across the face of goal, which came to James Penrice at the back post. The young full-back then finished confidently, netting his first Thistle goal as Jack Storer had done earlier in the game.
It was very nearly 3-0 in the 32 minute when Tam O’Ware went close from six yards. It was Craig Slater who delivered the free kick into the danger area and O’Ware was the man who rose to meet the ball. He tried a deft flick into the far corner but his attempt rebounded back off the post.
That was the final clear chance of a good first half for Thistle and the Jags went into the break with a two goal lead as they did on Saturday.
Early in the second period, they made a change with Alan Archibald calling on Miles Storey to replace goal hero, Jack Storer and then in the hour mark, another change was made when Andy McCarthy was introduced to the match in place of Blair Spittal.
In the 67th minute, substitute Miles Storey almost set up a third using his bundles of pace. The number 19 burst past his man with blistering speed and whipped a left-footed cross into the front post. He found Chris Erskine who tried to volley the ball as he ran into the delivery but his effort rifled a yard or two wide of the near post.
With 17 minutes left, Morton pulled a goal back. A quick throw-in saw Chris Millar lay the ball off to Michael Tidser. The Ton playmaker then fed a lovely pass into Reghan Tumilty who ran into it and struck a low effort on goal. Unsighted by a couple of bodies, Cammy Bell was unable to stop the shot bulleting into the bottom corner as the visitors dragged themselves back into the game.
Morton came closest to an equaliser with four minutes of the regulation 90 left. Charlie Telfer slotted a great ball into Scott MacLean who then smashed an angled effort on goal. The powerful drive was saved by Bell but he had a bit of trouble diverting it past the post although he just about did.
That chance proved to be Morton’s last big one as Thistle ground out the 2-1 victory. The win puts Thistle in a great position ahead of a trip to Cliftonhill next Tuesday with six points from a possible six so far in Group E.
THISTLE TEAM: Bell, Penrice, McGinty, O’Ware, Elliott, Gordon, Slater, Erskine, Storer (Storey 52′), Spittal (McCarthy, 60′), Doolan.
UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Sneddon, Wilson, Fitzpatrick.
MORTON TEAM: Scully, Tumilty, Iredale (Strapp 69′), Buchanan, Kilday, Telfer (Purdue 82′), Millar, McAlister, McHugh (Oliver 65′), Tidser, MacLean
UNUSED SUBS (MOR): Gaston, Langan, Armour, Hynes
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