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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Greenock Morton – 26th December 2012

Morton’s come from behind victory on Boxing Day saw them become the first side to leave Firhill with league points in a game that left Thistle frustrated. Frustration at a failure not to have established a bigger lead when on top; and frustration over a number of key decisions that went against them.
The first of those key decisions came as early as the seventh minute following a frantic opening period to the game. Ross Forbes’ cross from the right took a deflection off a Morton defender, a deflection that seemed to unsettle keeper Gaston who, under pressure, dropped the ball. Steven Craig was immediately onto the loose ball and after turning sharply he fired the ball home only to have his, and Thistle’s, celebrations cut short.
Thistle though were able to shrug off that disappointment and very quickly established a firm grip on the game. In the 11th minute they missed an excellent chance to take the lead when Craig’s downward header from an Aaron Muirhead cross spun over the bar.
With Thistle doing all the pressing Chris Erskine saw his 25th minute effort headed off the line thus denying Thistle a richly deserved lead.
They had to wait, however, just a further two minutes to finally take the lead. Steven Lawless crossed from the left and Steven Craig rose above the Morton defence to head the ball wide of Gaston and into the net.
It was a richly deserved lead for Thistle and in the 37th minute they were a whisker away from a second goal that few in the crowd of just under 5,000 would have grudged them. Ross Forbes’ corner from the left was met by Aaron Sinclair who stabbed the ball goalwards only to see his effort rebound off the base of the post.
Morton meantime only very occasionally threatened the Thistle goal in the first half. Tony Wallace did have the ball in the net but he was clearly offside when he did saw and O’Brien was also offside when he struck the frame of the Thistle goal in the 42nd minute.
It was first half injury time before Graeme Smith was really tested in the Thistle goal and he did well to tip a McLaughlin header over the bar following a Tidser corner.
Though Thistle clearly merited their lead at the break there could be no degree of comfort until they had added a second goal and they were desperately unfortunate on two occasion not to do so in the opening minutes of the second half.
Firstly a surging run from Steven Craig ended with Craig pushing the ball through to Ross Forbes who saw his shot saved by the feet of Gaston.
Seconds later Gaston was beaten when a Chris Erskine shot took a deflection but the ball went agonisingly wide of goal.
Had either of those chances produced a goal the outcome of the game may well have been totally different. Instead Morton began to come more into the game. On two occasions Thistle had to be grateful for the intervention of Alan Archibald before Morton drew level after 63 minutes. Graeme Smith initially did well to push away a well struck Wallace shot but was helpless when the loose ball feel perfectly into the path of Martin Hardie who made no mistake.
Thistle made a couple of changes in the wake of that goal, Welsh and O’Donnell coming on for Erskine and Lawless but before those changes had time to have any impact Thistle were reduced to ten men when Ross Forbes, in probably the pivotal moment of the second half, was sent off.
Forbes was booked in the 63rd minute and when he was shade late on Reid six minutes later out came the red card.
Stephen O’Donnell did test Gaston with a long range effort but it was Morton that had the momentum at this stage and Thistle, a man short, were under increasing pressure. Morton would have taken a 79th minute lead but for a goal line clearance from Conrad Balatoni but the game’s winning goal arrived for Morton five minutes later.
A cross from the left was collected by Scott Taggart at the far post and his low drive found the net.
This Thistle side is not short of spirit and fight and they could have snatched a late equaliser and maintained their three point lead over Morton with Gaston turning the ball round the post for a corner after an O’Donnell free kick had been pumped into the Morton box.

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