Saturday 15th October, 2016 at 9:51pm
After a couple of weeks’ rest during the international break, it was back to league affairs for Partick Thistle as they looked to climb off the bottom of the table against Hamilton. Both teams would be looking to distance themselves from the lower regions of the Ladbrokes Premiership having failed to win in their last four games each.
Alan Archibald made two changes to the side that fell to a 2-0 defeat at Ibrox last time out. Ade Azeez and David Amoo dropped to the bench, while Kris Doolan and Adam Barton came into the starting line-up. Jags’ right-back Ziggy Gordon was making his first appearance against his former club of 13 years since joining Thistle in the summer.
The game started in a lively manner with the first opportunity of the match falling within the opening minute. A cross came in from Hamilton’s left and dropped towards Rakish Bingham who volleyed the ball wide of Ryan Scully’s goal.
There was a controversial moment around nine minutes in. A cross came into the Accies’ box and it deflected off a Hamilton player. There were loud shouts from the home side and the North stand but the referee waved away the appeals.
Just a few minutes later the visiting team came close once again through Alex D’Acol. The chance came to fruition thanks to a deep cross in the direction of the back post which found D’Acol. The striker headed back across goal but Ryan Scully was equal to the attempt and it ended up going out for a corner.
The resulting corner was whipped into the centre of the box where Hamilton captain Massimo Donati was waiting. He rose highest to head the ball downwards past Scully to give Martin Canning’s side the lead.
It didn’t take long for Alan Archibald’s men to respond as Kris Doolan was fed in behind by Adam Barton. He had beaten the offside trap and had a clear shot on goal. Doolan’s attempt was to central and was saved easily by Gary Woods and the follow up was well off target from Steven Lawless.
Despite missing that chance, the equaliser was to come soon. In the 22nd minute the visiting team were caught napping as Abdul Osman slotted Chris Erskine in behind the Accies’ backline with a quick free-kick. Erskine hit a cross into the six-yard box and although a Hamilton defender got to it first, he headed the ball off one of his teammates and the ball ended up at the feet of Ryan Edwards who simply tapped it home to make it 1-1.
The goal seemed to re-energise the Jags as they searched for another goal and Thistle were beginning to use their possession more effectively. In the 24th minute, Chris Erskine picked the ball up on the right flank and ran at the opposition defence. His trickery caused the first defender to fall over and as he looked to get past the last player between him and a clear shot on goal he was taken down. Again, there were cries for a penalty from both Thistle players and supporters alike, however, Greg Aitken’s verdict was that the tackling player had taken the ball.
Hamilton came extremely close to retaking the lead on the half-hour mark when Rakish Bingham was played in on goal but Ryan Scully came off his line well and made the save. Scully was called into action again two minutes later when a long range shot had to be parried by the man in goal.
It would be Thistle going into half-time with the lead. As a Thistle corner came to nothing, Abdul Osman latched onto the loose ball. The Thistle skipper cut past his man twice before delivering an inch-perfect cross onto the head Liam Lindsay who headed beyond Gary Woods and into the back of the net. The goal brought Lindsay within one goal of top-scorer Chris Erskine in this season’s scoring charts in all competitions.
A timid start to the game was quickly forgotten as Thistle dominated most of the last 20 minutes of the opening half. The goals were well-deserved as the Jags were able to capitalise on their improved passing sequences and the away side would be disappointed with the way they lost control of the match.
Kris Doolan got us underway for the second period and it looked like the home side were going to pick up where they left off with Chris Erskine bursting into the box early on. The midfielder got his shot away but it was saved by Woods. Two minutes after that chance, Kris Doolan came close to extending the lead. He was played through by Adam Barton and managed to get into the box before checking back. He hit a shot with his left foot across goal but it bobbled wide of the far post and the chance was gone.
As the game went on it was evident that Hamilton had realised that they need to make something happen soon and they almost equalised with 63 minutes gone. A cross found Alex D’Acol who headed towards goal but the attempt was going wide. One person who wasn’t sure about the destination of the ball was Danny Devine who waved a leg at it. The Northern-Irish centre-half was looking relieved after his sliced clearance looped over his own crossbar.
Alan Archibald decided to make a trio of changes with Steven Lawless, Kris Doolan and Chris Erskine being withdrawn and David Amoo, Ade Azeez and Christie Elliott being introduced.
Ade Azeez forced a save from Gary Woods, three minutes after coming on. He picked up the ball 20 yards from goal and after swivelling quickly he struck a shot that had to be saved low to the right of the Accies’ keeper.
Unfortunately, for Thistle they couldn’t hold their lead and Hamilton would get their equaliser. With seven minutes remaining, 20 year-old Eamonn Brophy was played in behind the Jags’ defenders and had a free run on goal. While the Thistle men were shouting for offside, Brophy was bearing down on goal and after he had set his sights there was no stopping him as he slotted coolly into the corner past a helpless Scully.
Both teams still had a chance in them though. It was Thistle first as a deep cross by Amoo found fellow substitute Christie Elliott whose header was saved. Five minutes later it would be Hamilton looking to nick the three points as Gramoz Kurtaj had a close range header denied by the palms of Ryan Scully.
The game would end with two goals apiece with the point lifting Thistle from the foot of the table. The Jags are above Dundee only on goal difference but still find themselves just three points outside the top six.
Partick Thistle now look forward to a home clash against Ross County next Saturday at 3pm, where a win would take them above the Staggies.