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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Motherwell – 29th December 2013

2013 has been a memorable year for Partick Thistle but it ended on a real sore note with  second place Motherwell recovering from the loss of the opening goal to win 5-1.
Thistle had been unfortunate not to defeat Inverness on Boxing Day and manager Alan Archibald made just one change to the team from that game. Illness ruled out Jordan McMillan and Stephen O’Donnell was drafted in to replace him.
Thistle made a positive start to the game and when they opened the scoring in the 8th minute it was deserved reward for their enterprising start to the match. It was a well crafted goal as well involving four Thistle players. Stuart Bannigan, Kris Doolan and James Craigen combined to set up Steven Lawless who steered the ball into the bottom corner of the net.
Thistle’s confidence at this stage was sky high and they and Lawless were close to a second goal just three minutes after the opener. Lawless’ effort from the edge of the box looked destined for the top corner only for Twardzik to make an excellent.
Had Thistle managed to establish a two goal lead then who knows how the game would have finished but by the 21st minute they found themselves trailing.
The Motherwell equaliser arrived in the 15th minute. McFadden threaded the ball through for Motherwell captain Lasley and he shot low past Scott Fox.
Thistle did come close to regaining their lead when Kallum Higginbotham saw his effort blocked by the feet of Twardzik but it was Motherwell that took the lead when Zaine Francis-Angol cut inside from the left before finding the back of the Thistle.
Play in an entertaining game was switching quickly from end to end and Kris Doolan wasn’t too far off target with a curling shot from the edge of the box and a driven cross from Taylor-Sinclair was cleared as Thistle sought an equaliser.
In the 33rd minute Steven Lawless was fouled right on the edge of the Motherwell box with Thistle looking in vain for a penalty and Ross Forbes, on as a sub for the unwell Christie Elliott, struck the wall with the resultant free kick.
Just two minutes later Motherwell had a third goal and well on the way to maximum points. There may well have been a foul on Conrad Balatoni in the lead up to the goal but McFadden calmly lifted the ball over Scott Fox when left with just the Thistle keeper to beat.
An early second half goal and Thistle would have been right back in the game and as they had the first half, Thistle started the second 45 minute in positive fashion although Scott Fox had to make a fine stop in the opening minute of the half to keep out a McFadden effort from the edge of the box.
There were loud appeals for a Thistle penalty in the 50th minute and Ross Forbes tested Twardzik with a dipping shot from 25 yards.
Forbes though very nearly gifted Motherwell a fourth goal when he conceded possession to Anier but Piccolo was able to retrieve the situation.
Motherwell though did net a fourth goal in the 57th minute. Lionel Ainsworth finding space down the right and he placed his shot out of the reach of Scott Fox.
Thistle at this point almost totally capitulated. McFadden saw a header strike the top of the Thistle bar before John Sutton was able to profit from more negligent Thistle defending to score a fifth Motherwell goal in the 66th minute.
That ended the scoring but it could have been even worse for Thistle. Scott Fox made a fine block to prevent Ainsworth from scoring again and McFadden curled a shot just wide of Fox’s right hand post.
Defender McManus too tried to get in on the act with a shot that crept wide with 13 minutes remaining.
Thistle were by now a well beaten team and Kris Doolan wasn’t able to capitalise on a poor pass back to at least pull one goal back as an afternoon that had started so positively drew to a miserable conclusion.

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