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Match Report

Partick Thistle v Greenock Morton – 29th December 2018

Partick Thistle returned to the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill for the final game of 2018 as Greenock Morton visited Maryhill. The Jags were looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Ross County last week while their opponents were searching for a first win in four.

There were three changes made to the side that started in the Highlands seven days ago and a slight alteration to the shape. Jamie Sneddon retained his spot in goals behind a back three of Sean McGinty, Tam Scobbie and the returning Niall Keown who replaced Dan Jefferies. Christie Elliott and James Penrice started as the wing-backs with Andrew McCarthy and Craig Slater both returning to the side in place of Aidan Fitzpatrick, who dropped to the bench, and the suspended Stuart Bannigan. Up front it was a three consisting of Blair Spittal, Kris Doolan and Miles Storey. On the bench for the Jags were Aaron Lennox, Dan Jefferies, Brice Ntambwe, Callum Wilson, Chris Erskine, Aidan Fitzpatrick and Jai Quitongo.

The game started in a fairly even fashion but Thistle were able to carve out a chance in the fifth minute. The chance came from a forward run by Andrew McCarthy who received the ball on the left flank before lifting a cross into the box. He found Kris Doolan who met it acrobatically after re-adjusting his body but the contact wasn’t convincing and the ball bounced into the arms of Derek Gaston.

Then, out of nowhere, Morton took the lead after eight minutes. The goal sprouted from a Blair Spittal free-kick which Gaston came for and claimed. He then launched a punt in to the Thistle half which Christie Elliott and Scott Tiffoney battled for with the latter coming out on top. However, while that was going on, Jamie Sneddon had come out of his goal to try to deal with the pressure giving Tiffoney the chance to lift it over the goalkeeper’s head and into the back of the net which he did with no problem at all.

For the remainder of the first half Morton defended their 18-yard box admirably and limited Thistle to half chances and long shots which caused their goal little danger. Craig Slater saw a couple of ranged efforts miss the target while Miles Storey and Niall Keown both failed to trouble Gaston with efforts.

Due to this resilient Morton defending, the game went into the break at 1-0. The visitors had been more than happy to sit in and defend their lead after being gifting an opener after just eight minutes. The hosts had lacked imagination and incision when attacking meaning they hadn’t really looked like equalising. Gary Caldwell would make one half time substitute as Niall Keown was replaced by Chris Erskine facilitating a change to the 4-2-3-1 system that Thistle have used regularly over the past few years.

The Jags showed more threat in the second half and were able to pull level on the hour mark through Craig Slater. Wing-back Christie Elliott fed the ball to the midfielder on the edge of the box and with no hesitation, he fired a shot goalwards with his right foot. The bending effort teased Derek Gaston as it flew past the Morton ‘stopper before clipping the inside of the post and finding the back of the net.

Thistle then thought they had the lead in the 69th minute but were denied a second goal by the assistant’s flag. Once again, Christie Elliott was central to things as he nipped past Rory McKeown and got a low cross into the danger area. Miles Storey met the ball with a similar flick to his one against Dunfermline and it looked like his attempt was going to find the far corner but Kris Doolan knocked the ball into the net and number nine was flagged offside.

In the 79th minute, the Jags made a second change of the game as Miles Storey came off to be replaced by Aidan Fitzpatrick.

However, despite that change and a constant one-way charge of pressure, it was Morton who found another goal thanks to Charlie Telfer. Craig Slater’s wayward cross was picked up by Reghan Tumilty and the full-back drove forward, escaping the clutches of Chris Erskine before slotting a well-weighted ball through to Charlie Telfer. Then, the number six made no mistake as he slotted home past Jamie Sneddon.

Thistle had one last big chance to draw level in the 90th minute. An Aidan Fitzpatrick corner was headed clear as far as Craig Slater who tried a shot. It didn’t find the target but was flicked towards goal by Sean McGinty. His instinctive flick almost found the bottom corner but the ball just bounced wide.

After that, Euan Anderson blew the final whistle meaning Thistle ended 2018 with a defeat. The loss leaves them in ninth place, five points behind Alloa and just one ahead of Falkirk.

The Jags will start 2019 with a trip to take on Dundee United next Saturday. Kick-off is 15:00 from Tannadice Park.

PARTICK THISTLE TEAM: Sneddon, Keown (Erskine, HT), Scobbie, McGinty, Elliott, Penrice, McCarthy, Slater, Spittal, Doolan, Storey (Fitzpatrick, 79’).

UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Lennox, Jefferies, Wilson, Ntambwe, Quitongo.

GREENOCK MORTON TEAM: Gaston, Tumilty, Buchanan, Kilday, McKeown, Millar, McAlister, Lyon (Thomson, 67’), Telfer, Tiffoney (Iredale 84’), McHugh.

UNUSED SUBS (GMT): Scully, Armour, Purdue, Eardley, Bell.

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