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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Hamilton Academical – 18th February 2017

Partick Thistle had secured their place in the William Hill Scottish Cup Quarter-Finals against St. Johnstone last Saturday but had to cast that away from their minds as they looked to distance themselves from the teams at the foot of the table in their clash with Hamilton at Firhill today. Like Thistle, Accies had also progressed into the quarter-finals of the cup but they did the hard way. Martin Canning’s men were taken to extra time and penalties by Dunfermline on Tuesday night but ultimately came out on top, winning the shootout.

The Jags were looking to claim their elusive first league win of 2017. A win would take the Firhill side into the top six, if only until tomorrow’s fixtures. Alan Archibald would be hoping for a better showing from his attack, his team hadn’t netted a league goal since their meeting with Dundee on December 28th of last year.

The home side lined up in a much different shape to last week’s game in Perth. Thistle reverted to a four-at-the-back formation with two midfielders lying deep. This week the management team had full-backs at their disposal. Callum Booth and Mustapha Dumbuya were fit enough to feature and feature they would, playing at left-back and right back respectively. Niall Keown dropped to the bench while, due to injury, Sean Welsh didn’t make the squad. Jason Banton also missed out as he picked up a knock in training. Ade Azeez maintained his starting role as the sole striker with David Amoo and Steven Lawless on the flanks. Kris Doolan and Chris Erskine remained on the bench.

As the away side got the game underway neither team took control at an early stage. Both sides were struggling to hold onto the ball for extended periods. In the tenth minute, the game saw its first half chance. David Amoo rushed down the right flank as the Jags countered and tried to cross. The first attempt was blocked but the right midfielder had a second chance to find a teammate. The second cross did find Ade Azeez but he could only glance a header well wide of the back post.

In the 17th minute, Hamilton showed a flash of attacking threat. Dougie Imrie found space on the visitors’ left and fired a dangerous ball down the infamous ‘corridor of uncertainty’. The ball came across and all it needed was a touch to cause Tomas Cerny some serious problems but no one made a move and the ball went out.

The teams were both seemingly timid as the first half went on with neither side willing to give the other an inch. The passing play was poor and Thistle had been unable to transition from the midfield into attack with success.

The final chance of the opening 45 fell to Hamilton. A corner came in from just in front of the tunnel finding Michael Devlin at the front post. The captain of the travelling Accies team then flicked the ball on hoping that a teammate had made a move to the back post to head into an empty net, however, no one had and the chance went begging.

The game went into half-time as a goalless affair with no real clear chances for either team. Both sides had struggled to convert what possession they had into opportunities. In an attempt to inject some energy into the attack, Alan Archibald brought Kris Doolan off the bench, replacing David Amoo.

Contrary to the first half, the second period started with a chance just five minutes in. A Hamilton cross from the left found Eamonn Brophy who directed a header towards goal. Tomas Cerny was left scrambling across goal but the attempt was a couple of yards wide. Then again in the 54th minute, Eamonn Brophy was the danger man for the travelling side. He ran into the box and jinked onto his right foot, creating space to shoot. He fired a powerful shot at the near post but Cerny stood firm and turned it behind for a corner.

In the 57th minute, the Jags made their second change of the game. Chris Erskine came on for Ade Azeez as Thistle looked for someone to offer some incisive creativity as the match progressed.

Six minutes after the hour mark Thistle should have taken the lead. Daniel Devine got his head to a Callum Booth free-kick and directed the ball on target. Gary Woods made a good save but the ball dropped to Liam Lindsay who stood just outside the six-yard box. From there, Lindsay hit a half-volley on the stretch but he couldn’t keep his shot down and it flew high over the bar.

Luckily for Liam Lindsay his blushes were spared by Kris Doolan three minutes later. Chris Erskine was played in behind Accies full-back, Giannis Skondras, before lifting a cross to the far stick. His ball found Kris Doolan who was able to simply redirect the cross into the corner of the net putting his side one goal to the good. This goal was the first time a substitute had found the net for Thistle since their clash with Aberdeen back in August.

Hamilton made two changes as the game entered the last 15 minutes but to no avail as the lead was doubled in the 79th minute. Steven Lawless played the ball into the path of Callum Booth who then crossed the ball into the centre where, once again, Kris Doolan was in position for a header. He turned it home, finding the same corner that he found for his first and in the process he grabbed his 97th competitive goal for Partick Thistle.

Hamilton tried to get themselves back into the game but a resolute Jags backline allowed them no space. Their only opportunity was 35-yard half-volley by Giannis Skondras which flew wide of the near post. When the two sides met at Firhill earlier this season, a late Eamonn Brophy goal allowed Martin Canning’s side to take a point home from Maryhill but there would be no such problem here with Thistle seeing the game out and collecting all three points.

The win lifted the Jags into the top six and moved them seven points clear of Inverness in 12th place. The squad’s focus now turns to next Saturday’s clash with Hearts at Firhill. The game kicks-off at 15:00 and a win could do wonders for a top six challenge that Alan Archibald’s men want to put together.


THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, Dumbuya, Devine, Lindsay, Booth, Osman, Barton, Amoo (Doolan, HT), Edwards, Lawless, Azeez (Erskine, 57’).

THISTLE SUB (N/U): Ridgers, Keown, McCarthy, Nisbet.
HAMILTON ACADEMICAL: Woods, Skondras, Devlin, Watson, McMann, Donati (Kurtaj, 75’), Redmond (Gillespie, 65’), MacKinnon, Imrie, Bingham, Brophy (Adams, 75’).

HAMILTON ACADEMICAL SUBS (N/U): Matthews, Seaborne, Cunningham, Boyd.

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