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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Motherwell – 2nd February 2016

Thistle hosted Motherwell at Firhill still seeking their first league victory of 2016. Thistle had been inactive for 10 days following the goal-less draw in Inverness due to the postponement of the weekend’s fixture with Dundee United. Motherwell came into the fixture without a league win in 4 games and on the back of a 2-2 draw with Dundee.

Manager Alan Archibald made two changes to the side which played a drab 0-0 with Inverness. Mustapha Dumbuya missed out through injury allowing Gary Miller to return to the team, while Christie Elliott earned a start ahead of David Amoo. There was no place on the bench for deadline transfer duo Antonio German and Aidan Nesbitt, but there were welcome returns for Ryan Edwards, Gary Fraser and Mathias Pogba.

On a heavily sanded pitch, which survived a thorough pitch inspection just after 5pm, both sides made bright starts. Marvin Johnson was the first to trek through the Jackie Husband desert, jinking past a couple of challenges before finding his cross well cleared by Seaborne.

Steven Lawless looked in the mood right from the off and had a couple of early efforts flash past the post of Connor Ripley. Seaborne was next to test the on-loan Motherwell goalkeeper with a header that Ripley needed two attempts to gather.

After a positive opening, the game descended into a hard fought midfield battle with Thistle having Miller, Seaborne and Bannigan going into referee Barry Cook’s notebook for fouls. Thistle gradually grew into the game as a more attacking force, with Miller having a left footed effort from the edge of the box.

Marvin Johnson created space in the penalty area, tumbling under minimal contact from Sean Welsh. The referee waved away his claims and played advantage as Thistle sought to break away.

With the halftime whistle approaching, Steven Lawless jinked away from two Motherwell defenders before slicing a shot wildly off target to ensure the first half ended goalless.

Thistle started the second half sluggishly with Motherwell forcing themselves on the front foot. Pearson fired over the bar with just a few minutes gone, before Johnson almost scampered through after Seaborne left a through ball, the offside flag denying the Motherwell winger.

Thistle introduced Mathias Pogba with a third of the game to go and he proved to be a real handful for the Motherwell defenders during his time on the park. He reached Miller’s deep cross with 15 minutes to go, but his header could only just clear Ripley’s bar.

Pogba was doing well to flick the ball on, and hold it deep in the Motherwell half as Thistle pushed forward looking to grab the winner. Miller was next to have a sight of goal, but his long range shot went well wide of goal.

In a game of few chances, Booth almost found a way past Ripley before Ainsworth thumped a freekick of a strong Thistle wall before Thistle grabbed the games only goal.

Motherwell partially headed the ball away, under pressure from Amoo, but the ball fell gently for Lawless who rifled the ball beyond the helpless Ripley with the aid of a small deflection from a Motherwell defender.

There was still drama to come as Motherwell tried to snatch a last gasp equaliser. A corner was flicked on at the near post and only an excellent goalline header from Gary Fraser prevented the ball from crossing the line.

Thistle navigated almost four minutes of injury time before being able to celebrate another three points which saw the side rise to 8th in the Ladbrokes Premiership table.

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