Saturday 19th December, 2020 at 10:00pm
Partick Thistle came into today’s game against Peterhead off the back of a 2-0 win over Forfar wherein they extended their current run of consecutive clean sheets to five. The League One leaders Falkirk were playing a day later than the Jags meaning the Maryhill men had a chance to narrow the gap at the top to three points, however, to do that they would need to overcome a Blue Toon side who won last time out against East Fife.
Ian McCall stuck with the same line up that saw Thistle take all three points at Station Park seven days prior with the added bonus of having a full complement of players to choose from on the bench as Zak Rudden and Ciaran McKenna returned from injury.
The game got off to a slow start as both sides struggled to create any chances. The Jags looked good in possession and were passing the ball about well as they tried to move the Peterhead defence. In the 11th minute, Joe Cardle collected the ball in the midfield and charged at the Peterhead defence weaving in and out and beating two players to create space for himself before shooting from range, however, his effort cleared the crossbar comfortably.
The next chance for the Jags came in the 25th minute. Ryan Williamson drove forward from his right back position and found himself in acres of space. Stuart Bannigan found him with a lovely pass which prompted Williamson to have a pop at goal but his shot was saved well from Peterhead keeper Joshua Rae. The ball fell into the path of Joe Cardle who managed to get a good connection on the bouncing ball but it was fired straight to the keeper and was saved with ease.
Thistle would rue that missed chance as the clock hit the 30th minute and Peterhead took the lead through a mix-up in the Thistle half. A long ball played deep into Jags territory was collected by Darren Brownlie who passed it to Cardle with the number seven looking to lay it off to Ross Docherty, however, the pass was intercepted. Stephen Boyd got himself on the ball just outside the Thistle box and slotted it to the right for Scott Brown to fire past Kieran Wright, giving the visitors the lead.
Peterhead seemed to be lifted by the goal as they started to see more opportunities in the Thistle half but, 6 minutes before half time, the Jags manged to hit Peterhead on the counter-attack. This time Stuart Bannigan advanced with the ball with James Penrice and Connor Murray at either side of him, choosing to feed the former. It looked like the number three would have a chance to shoot on goal but he instead sought to set up Murray with a square pass, but the ball he played just ran away from his teammate and out for a goalkick.
The second half started as the first half ended; with the Jags looking for a goal and way to get back into the game. In the opening 5 minutes of the second period, Joe Cardle whipped in a dangerous corner with Joshua Rae punching clear as far as Richard Foster on the edge of the box. He got it wide to Cardle again with the wideman delivering to the back post where Mouhamed Niang met it but the 21-year-old’s header bounced well wide of the target.
The game looked to have been played out but in the last 10 minutes Thistle ramped up the pressure as they looked to draw level. With just over 80 minutes gone, Joe Cardle picked up the ball on the right and delivered a low ball into the Blue Toon box with Zak Rudden and Brian Graham looking to latch onto it. The ball skipped towards the back post, teasing the Jags strikers, but even with a sliding effort to reach it by Graham, no one could get a telling touch to take it goalwards.
With only two minutes of regulation time left Thistle were continuing to pile on the pressure and looked to carve out an opportunity from a series of corners. The best sight of goal from these set pieces came to Shea Gordon as the Northern Irishman got a yard of space eight yards from goal, however, his header was turned round the post by a defender on the line.
The game ended 1-0 to Peterhead with the Jags unable to find a crucial equaliser meaning they had suffered their first competitive Firhill defeat of the campaign. The loss saw them drop to third place with Montrose leapfrogging the Maryhill men thanks to a convincing win over Dumbarton. Now, Thistle look ahead to a Boxing Day clash with Falkirk at the Falkirk Stadium.