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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Raith Rovers – 9th September 2012

Thistle this afternoon marched into the last four of the Ramsdens Cup. Three goals in 13 second half minutes sending Thistle on their way to the last four.
Manager Jackie McNamara’s team selection showed just one change from the side that defeated Hamilton Accies; the injured Kris Doolan being replaced by Steven Craig, who scored twice when he came off the bench to replace Doolan against Hamilton.
The first 45 minutes of the game failed to produce a goal but there was plenty of action to keep the crowd’s attention. It was Thistle that had the better of the early exchanges with Rovers in the first 15 minutes or so hard pressed to keep the score at 0-0.
The game’s first effort on goal came from the boot of Paul Paton in the 4th minute, but Paton could only drag his effort from outside the box wide of goal .
It was the signal, however, for Thistle to put the Rovers goal under some sustained pressure with stand-in keeper Allan Fleming looking less than confident. At one corner his completely missed an attempted punch but no Thistle player was able to take advantage of the unexpected opportunity. Minutes later Fleming did connect with a punch, but he could get it no further than Chris Erskine who, from the edge of the box, sent a shot high over the bar.
The Rovers keeper would have been happy to see a Sean Welsh effort in the 19th minute just clear the bar as Thistle tried to find the goal that their play at this stage clearly merited.
It took Rovers a bit of time to get going but once they did they were able to cause more than a little anxiety to the Thistle defence. In the 25th  minute Alan Archibald had to across sharp to block a Brian Graham shot after Grant Anderson had spotted his run to his right.
Scott Fox, with five clean sheets to his name this season before this game, underlined his importance to Thistle with an excellent save low to his right in the 38th minute as Rovers threatened from a corner.
Thistle had at times played some good football in the first half but they hadn’t make Fleming in the Rovers work anywhere near often enough but Stephen O’Donnell did test him with a left foot drive just before half-time that Fleming did well to parry away.
There had been plenty signs of the potential threat that Raith Rovers carried during the first half and there were just inches away from the game’s opening goal in the 47th minute. Joe Hamill had time and space inside the Thistle box and his effort just crept wide of goal.
Within five minutes of that goal though Thistle were two goals in front.
The first arrived in the 50th minute. Steven Craig had had a fairly uneventful game until this point but he got clear down the left hand side before sending over a cross to Chris Erskine. Erskine took a touch to steady himself before drilling a shot past Fleming and into the net.
Three minutes later it was 2-0 and Craig had his third Thistle goal in two games. Chris Erskine was the provider this time with Craig bundling his cross over the line from close range.
There were appeals for a Thistle penalty when Aaron Muirhead looked to be barged in the box but a rampant Thistle side added a third goal in the 58th minute. A wonderful sweeping move ended with Chris Erskine curling a beautiful shot away from the reach of Fleming and into the net.
From being very much in the game at half-time, Rovers werer now struggling to contain the power and pace of Thistle’s play. There were further appeals for a Jags penalty when Steven Craig went to ground near the bye line but again the referee was again uninterested.
With the Thistle fans really responding to the excellent football that their side were producing, Sean Welsh burst into the Rovers box only to see Fleming come off his line and block.
There would be no further Thistle goals but nor would raith Rovers find a way past Scott Fox who made is six clean sheets this season. It took an excellent save from the Jags keeper, however, to prevent Rovers finding the net. Fox tipping an Allan Walker effort over the bar as the game drew near to a close.

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