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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Ross County – 11th January 2014

After the dust had settled on an entertaining game Thistle were left still looking for their first home league win of the seasons despite having led the match at one point by three goals to one.
Coming on the back of victory over Hearts at Tynecastle manager Alan Archibald made just one change to his team from that game. The suspended Stuart Bannigan was forced to sit the game out with Christie Elliott taking a place in the starting eleven. Gary Fraser meantime had to content himself with a seat on the bench on his Firhill return.
The game’s first chance came in the 5th minute with Thistle a shade unfortunate not to establish an early lead. A dangerous Piccolo cross from the right hand side had only partially been cleared when Kallum Higginbotham saw his shot well saved by Fraser in the County goal.
Although there wasn’t a great deal of action in front of either goal, though Conrad Balatoni did miss a glorious opportunity with a header,  it was Thistle that were having the better of the early exchanges but they found themselves a goal down in the 22nd minute; County opening the scoring through Filip Kiss with their first effort on goal of the game.
Against a side that over the years have been adept a defending a one goal lead at Firhill a quick response was required and Lyle Taylor, on his home debut for Thistle, provided that response lashing home the equaliser just six minutes after Thistle had fallen behind.
County though were close to regaining their lead in the 34th minute when Richard Brittain aimed a free kick from wide on the left to Thistle’s near post and was nearly rewarded by the ball squeezing in.
It was Thistle, however, that would head into the dressing room at half-time with the lead. Lyle Taylor had already see a shot blocked after being set up by a delightful through ball from Steven Lawless but he was celebrating the third goal of his short Thistle career so far in the 38th minute when he bulleted home a header from an excellent Taylor-Sinclair cross.
Just over a minute of the second half had been played when Thistle looked to have taken a huge step towards all three points. Taylor and Elliott combined to set up Steven Lawless and he calmly stroked the ball home from 8 yards.
This time it was County that provided an almost instant response. Conrad Balatoni had headed clear from the Thistle goal line but the ball dropped to Ben Gordon and he was able to find the back of the Thistle net.
What had been looking as potentially a relatively comfortable second half for Thistle was now anything but. Thistle started to drop deeper and deeper as County, who won an increasingly large number of free kicks, increased the pressure on a nervous looking Thistle defence.
Richard Brittain saw one of those free kicks just creep wide of Scott Fox’s left hand post and the same player sent an effort over the bar after he had enjoyed the break of the ball off a Thistle defender.
There were 15 minutes of the game remaining when County did grab an equaliser. Filip Kiss was left with just Scott Fox to beat and he calmly and confidently knocked the ball past the Thistle keeper and into the back of the net.
Thistle sent on Kris Doolan in an attempt to once again establish an advantage and he was quickly involved in the action but at the right hand corner of the County box the ball just wouldn’t sit up for him. Minutes later the same player turned sharply at the edge of the box only to see his shot blocked by a defender.
In the 84th minute County sent on Stewart Kettlewell but the midfielder lasted just one minute 14 seconds on the pitch before receiving a straight red card for his challenge on Ross Forbes.
With a man advantage in the closing minutes it was Thistle that looked the more likely side to snatch a late winner and they did nearly grab a spectacular winning goal with the game in the third minute of injury time when Stephen O’Donnell’s effort flew just narrowly wide of target.

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