Saturday 11th March, 2017 at 9:01pm
Following their disappointing exit from the William Hill Scottish Cup at the hands of Aberdeen last weekend, Partick Thistle returned to league action as they continue their push towards a top six finish. The Jags had won their previous three league fixtures in a row without conceding. On the other hand, the Caley Jags hadn’t kept a clean sheet since the 28th of January when these two sides last met in a goalless draw.
Alan Archibald made two changes to the side that started against Aberdeen on Sunday. Danny Devine, who picked up a knock against the Dons, didn’t make the squad and was replaced by Steven Lawless as the Jags altered their formation. Mustapha Dumbuya also came into the side in the place of Christie Elliott who dropped to the bench. With Devine missing Thistle were forced to change the formation from the 3-5-2 that has been so effective in recent games back to the 4-2-3-1 that has served them well in the past.
Kris Doolan got the game underway but it would be the visitors who had the first chance. Greg Tansey was given the ball in the Inverness midfield inside two minutes and immediately looked to shoot. He took aim but fired a strong shot wide of the near post.
After that, there was not much joy for the Highlanders. The home side dominated the midfield battle and had the majority of possession.
After 17 minutes, the Jags had their first opportunity. Callum Booth had space on the left and whipped a dangerous ball in looking for Kris Doolan. Owain Fon-Williams punched the cross partially clear but it fell to Ryan Edwards who tried to score on the follow-up. The Australian looked to slam it home on the half-volley but he horribly miscued his shot and sent the attempt high and wide.
After a promising start to the game, Thistle were dealt a major blow in the 29th minute. Jags skipper Abdul Osman went down off the ball and seemed to be suffering from a muscle injury. Although he returned to the pitch after receiving treatment, he didn’t last long and eventually had to be replaced by David Amoo in the 32nd minute. Without Osman on the pitch, Kris Doolan was given the captain’s armband.
Just as the Jags were settling into their slightly rejigged formation, they were served another injury blow. Steven Lawless came off worse from a 50-50 challenge and went down holding his knee. The wide midfielder also had to be replaced with Ade Azeez coming on.
While down to 10-men, waiting for Ade Azeez to be allowed onto the pitch, the hosts should have taken the lead. Mustapha Dumbuya made an excellent run, reaching the by-line, and cut the ball back for Kris Doolan. The striker swung a leg at the ball, with the whole goal to aim at, but only kicked the air and the ball was cleared.
It was almost a disastrous end to the half for Thistle when the Caley Jags had the ball in the back of the net. While still waiting for the substitution, there was a mix-up in the Jags’ defence and Henri Anier picked the ball up inside the area. He shot low at goal and it beat Tomas Cerny, however, unfortunately for Caley Thistle, the goal was disallowed as Billy McKay was offside in Cerny’s line of sight and it was chalked off.
That would be all for the first half. The Jags had started well, with a lot of possession, but were evidently shaken by the two injuries. Chances were scarce in the opening 45 with the disallowed goal the main talking point.
It took just nine minutes for the second half to present an opening. Kris Doolan was fed the ball and made his way into the box. The marksman then shot across goal but Owain Fon-Williams touched it past the far post.
Just two minutes after that chance, the home side took the lead. After a couple of deep crosses came to nothing, Ryan Edwards collected the ball on the right side of the Caley box. The midfielder then fired a cross down the ‘corridor of uncertainty’ which Kris Doolan got on the end tapping home from close range making it 1-0. This brought the forward to 99 competitive goals for the Jags as he moves ever closer to the 100 mark.
On the hour, Inverness had a chance to equalise. Liam Lindsay’s defensive header bounced in the direction of David Raven who then acrobatically volleyed towards goal but the attempt flashed wide of the near post.
With 68 minutes gone, Owain Fon-Williams kept his side in the game. Kris Doolan and Chris Erskine engaged in some terrific interplay in the attacking third. The latter then delivered a low cross towards the centre. The pass ricocheted off two defenders and then went towards goal but Fon-Williams got a strong hand to it and the danger was eventually cleared.
With 12 minutes to go of the regulation 90, the Jags had another opportunity to double the lead. On the counter, Chris Erskine tried to find David Amoo but the pass was intercepted. Luckily for the hosts, it sat up well for Ade Azeez and the striker volleyed at goal. However, the shot was too central and Fon-Williams was able to save easily.
In the closing stages of the game a tired looking Chris Erskine was replaced by Christie Elliott.
As the minutes dwindled down, it looked as if the three points were in the bag but it wasn’t to be. Billy King found space on the right and moved infield before lifting a cross to the back post. Cerny couldn’t claim it and Gary Warren was the first to the ball. The Caley skipper then headed low past Tomas Cerny to make it level with the last attack of the game.
The game would end 1-0 which was a poor reflection of the 90 minutes. Inverness offered very little going forward and had been absolutely dominated in the midfield for most of the match, however, the two sides shared the points. The Jags remained in the top six after the draw, sitting two points above Kilmarnock in seventh.
It is Killie who Thistle face next on Saturday 18th of March with kick-off at 15:00 as the Jags look to cement their place in the top six.
THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, Dumbuya, Keown, Lindsay, Booth, Osman (Amoo, 32’), Barton, Lawless (Azeez, 42’), Edwards, Erskine (Elliott, 89’), Doolan.
THISTLE SUB (N/U): Ridgers, McCarthy, Lamont, Nisbet.
INVERNESS C.T. TEAM: Fon-Williams, Raven, McCart, Laing, Warren, Brad McKay, Tansey, Vigurs (Cole, 81’), Polworth (King, 62’), Anier (Boden, 81’), Billy McKay.
INVERNESS C.T. SUBS (N/U): Hoban, McNaughton, Ebbe, Fisher.
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