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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Inverness CT – 21st March 2015

Having comprehensively dispatched St Johnstone the previous weekend, Thistle went in to the game against Inverness with confidence sky high and the Jags were looking for the elusive back to back victories in the league. For the first time since manager, Alan Archibald, took the reigns he was able to name an unchanged starting eleven with Conrad Balatoni making his 150th appearance in a Thistle jersey.

Thistle started brightly and the visitors’ keeper, Esson, had to look sharp to turn an O’Donnell cross over the bar for a corner, which Inverness subsequently cleared. Thistle continued to come forward and good patient build up play between O’Donnell, Bannigan and Lawless saw Craigen burst forward to win a corner. Bannigan’s excellent delivery into the box was just cleared by the head of Raven at the back post, only six yards out.

The visitors slowly got themselves into the game and a long ball from Shinnie found Raven who cut inside the box, but a good challenge by Booth stopped him in his tracks and, while the ball broke to Watkins, his shot had no power or conviction and Fox gathered easily. Shinnie was then allowed to burst forward unchallenged and saw his effort blocked by Booth before a Meekings cross found the head of Christie only for Fox to save comfortably. Doolan saw a header from a Bannigan cross go just over the bar and Craigen forced another excellent save from Esson at his right hand post to keep the scores level.

Ominously, Shinnie was being allowed a lot of space on the left hand side but the Jags defence dealt well with his crosses into the box. When a cross ball did evade the home side’s back four Fox was there to welcome the ball gratefully into his arms. From a long throw by O’Donnell Thistle claimed for a penalty when Stevenson’s shot was blocked, but the referee was not interested in the claims. A very tight first half saw the teams go in level at half time.

It was Inverness who got the second half underway but the first chance fell to the home side. Thistle won a free kick 30 yards from goal and Stevenson’s blistering effort forced a great save from Esson who tipped his effort over the bar. From the resulting corner, Frans met Bannigan’s cross and headed just wide but the referee had spotted an infringement anyway and blew for a free kick.

A driving run from Williams saw him get to the edge of the box but he pulled his weak effort well wide of the target and couldn’t give the visitors the lead. As the balance of the match continued to fluctuate, Doolan played a one-two with Stevenson but he fired well over from a promising position.

On the hour mark, a brilliant piece of skill on the bye-line from Lawless saw him dance away from two defenders and lay the ball back to Doolan whose shot was blocked. Booth then saw his driving run forward create space for himself and his effort from 22 yards was only a foot or so wide of the target. Esson then needed two attempts to gather a miss-hit effort from Frans after he fumbled the initial shot from a Bannigan corner. Thistle were looking the stronger side as the game went into the final ten minutes but it was clear that there was very little between the two sides and one goal looked as though it would be enough to win the game.

A Bannigan pass found Stevenson who nodded down for Lawless before collecting the pass back from the winger whose curling right footed shot was only just too high of goal.

However, in the 84th minute the deadlock was broken, and it was the home support who were celebrating. A long pass from Osman found substitute Taylor who controlled the ball with his back to goal and layed off to Lawless at the edge of the the box and his first time left foot shot was buried in the bottom corner past a helpless Esson as Thistle took the lead.

All in attendance at Firhill knew that it was going to be a long six minutes plus injury time however, despite a succession of high balls into the box, the visitors could not break down the stubborn home defence who were superb again throughout the game. The referee’s whistle brought with it scenes of wild celebration both on and off the park as Thistle finally put together back to back victories in the top flight.


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