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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Motherwell – 16th July 2022

Football returned to the newly-renovated Firhill turf this afternoon as Motherwell visited for a pre-season friendly while Thistle sat out the third matchday of the Premier Sports Cup group stages. The Jags had taken five points from a possible six in their opening two group games and now took on the Steelmen to enhance the match fitness of the squad ahead of their remaining two fixtures.

There were changes aplenty in the starting line-up with a number of Thistle newer players afforded the opportunity to get more minutes under their belt. Jamie Sneddon returned in goals having been on the bench in midweek while Tunji Akinola and Darren Brownlie replaced Kevin Holt and Aaron Muirhead in central defence. Harry Milne, Jack McMillan and Stuart Bannigan all retained their places though Ross Docherty and Kyle Turner dropped to the bench to give Ben Stanway and Cole McKinnon the chance to start in the middle of the park. Up front it was Steven Lawless alongside new signings Tony Weston and Aidan Fitzpatrick.

Before the game the stadium observed a moment’s applause in memory of former Thistle player Adam Strachan who sadly passed away recently at the age of 35.

The game started slowly and it wasn’t until the 12th minute that the home side had anything like a shot on goal. An Aidan Fitzpatrick corner found the head of Darren Brownlie who nodded a tame effort a couple of yards wide.

Motherwell grew into the game as the 20th minute ticked by and long distance efforts from Callum Slattery and Blair Spittal going close suggested the away side were growing into things.

They went even closer in the 24th minute when new signing Josh Morris was able to bring the ball down well in the box via Joe Efford’s pass. The former Salford City man swung a shot towards goal from a tight angle but could only find the side netting.

The ‘Well threat was trending in the right direction from their perspective when they struck the upright in the 41st minute. A free-kick into the box wasn’t dealt with by Thistle and it deflected the way of Jake Carroll. The former Jags full-back redirected a header goalwards but saw it crash off the post before Jamie Sneddon fell on the ball.

Thistle finally got on the front foot again right at the end of the first half as Aidan Fitzpatrick tried his luck from distance. The winger had looked the most likely Jag to make something happen over the course of the first period and he once again picked up the ball in the Motherwell half to drive forward. The space opened up ahead of him and he tried a low drive to open the scoring which skipped comfortably wide of Liam Kelly’s goal.

Motherwell were back on top as the second half commenced and a low shot that went just wide from Connor Shields warned Thistle of the pressure that was to come. Shortly thereafter Blair Spittal saw a low shot saved by half-time substitute David Mitchell as the away side continued to probe.

They didn’t have to wait long for a breakthrough and it was a goal that came from nothing. A Thistle clearance struck a Motherwell body and rebounded perfectly into the path of ‘Well striker Joe Efford. The American steadied himself before driving a low attempt under David Mitchell to break the deadlock.

It really should have been two minutes later when Callum Slattery fed a wonderful ball down the right flank to get Connor Shields into a crossing position. The ex-Queen of the South man picked out Ross Tierney in the middle but somehow the Irishman managed to miss the target altogether from six yards out.

Ian McCall made plenty of second half changes as his team sought a way back into things with Zander MacKenzie, Ross Docherty, Brian Graham and Ji Stevenson all coming on after the hour mark but they never really looked like finding the equaliser with a shot over the bar by MacKenzie the closest they came.

Now the team look forward to an historic first-ever meeting with Fraserburgh on Tuesday night as they hope to take a massive step towards Premier Sports Cup qualification.

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