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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Kilmarnock – 18th January 2014

There was more agony and frustration for Thistle as another home game passed without a league victory being recorded. Last weekend Thistle allowed a two goal lead to slip against Ross County; this weekend they conceded a 90th minute equaliser from a penalty rebound. Football can indeed be a cruel sport at times.
Alan Archibald made a number of changes to the side that had drawn with Ross County seven days earlier. There had been overnight injury doubts surrounding both Scott Fox and Paul Gallacher. The former wasn’t able to play but Gallacher was and he came in to make his second appearance in the Thistle goal. New signing Lee Mair came straight into the side and there were also starting berths for Stuart Bannigan, free from suspension for this game, and Gary Fraser.
Thistle were on the front foot from very early on in this game. The game’s first corner was won inside the first sixty seconds with Kallum Higginbotham’s cleverly worked corner finding Gary Fraser lurking in space at the edge of the Kilmarnock box. His finish, however, let him down and the ball went high over the bar.
Thistle though didn’t have too long to wait for the opening goal; it arriving as early as the third minute. A Stephen O’Donnell long throw from the right caused the Kilmarnock defence problems and when they couldn’t clear Kallum Higginbotham’s acrobatic overhead kick squeezed past Craig Samson and into the net.
With the confidence of that early goal behind them Thistle looked to press home their early advantage and a Stephen O’Donnell shot, after a neat Lyle Taylor pass, didn’t clear the Kilmarnock crossbar with too much to spare.
Some of Thistle’s passing play, switching the game from flank to flank, was excellent but they were unable to find the second goal that their first half display unquestionably merited. Kallum Higginbotham had a chance at the edge of the six yard box when the flag for offside stayed down but unfortunately his shot didn’t and the ball went over the bar.
Higginbotham was able to test the Kilmarnock keeper in the 33rd minute but his effort from the left corner of the Kilmarnock was too straight to genuinely trouble Samson in the Kilmarnock goal.
At the other end Kilmarnock were making little impression against the Thistle defence. It took them until the 35th minute to fashion even a half chance and even then Muirhead mishit shot flew calmly into the waiting arms of Gallacher.
Thistle had one more opportunity before the half-time whistle with Higginbotham managing to work his way to the Kilmarnock bye line but he was unable to find a Thistle player with his cutback.
The early stages of the second half formed a similar pattern to that of the first half with Thistle doing the bulk of the pressing. Pascali was penalised for handball just outside his own penalty box, for which he received a yellow card, and Taylor-Sinclair’s well struck free kick forced Samson into a fine save low near his left hand post.
In the 65th minute Kallum Higginbotham, after brushing aside the attentions of a couple of Kilmarnock defenders, again got himself to the bye line and again couldn’t find a Thistle player with his cutback with this time the goal gapping and players ready to apply the finishing touch.
A goal at the stage may well have sealed the win for Thistle but as the game moved into its’ final quarter Kilmarnock came more into things. Kris Boyd had been kept fairly quiet for much of the afternoon although he did send a shot wide of goal after Gary Fraser had failed to get enough distance to a clearance from a free kick.
With the game in its’ final ten minutes and Thistle nerves starting to jangle Kilmarnock had their first clear cut look at the Thistle goal. Sub Gros and Boyd combined with the latter left with just Paul Gallacher to beat. The Thistle keeper, however, was able to make a fine block with Conrad Balatoni on hand to head Gros’ effort from the rebound behind for a corner.
That had been a major scare for Thistle but there was still time left in the game for Kilmarnock to find an equaliser that they scarcely merited. William Gros, who had been a handful since coming on, managed to get just ahead of Taylor-Sinclair inside the Thistle box and the clip on Gros’ ankles from the defender, who hadn’t long recovered from a spell of treatment, was enough to give Kilmarnock a penalty. The red card that followed for Taylor-Sinclair was fairly inevitable.
Kris Boyd was given the task of taking the penalty and there was brief second when Thistle felt they might have received a reprieve when Gallacher was able to dive to his left and push Boyd’s penalty away. Unfortunately Kilmarnock’s Muirhead was the quickest to react to the loose ball and he tucked it home thus condemning Thistle to another home league game without a win.

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