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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v Ross County – 22nd October 2016

Despite a selection of strong on-pitch showings, Partick Thistle have failed to pick up a victory in any competition since the opening day of the Ladbrokes premiership season at the start of August. There has been a feeling that many of the performances have been deserving of a better result than they have received. Performances don’t win points, though, and all the Jags players and management would be hoping to lift the burden of such a long winless in today’s clash against Ross County at Firhill.

There were three changes to the Thistle side that drew with Hamilton last weekend. Chris Erskine and Steven Lawless picked up injuries and therefore couldn’t play and Ziggy Gordon dropped to the bench. Ade Azeez, Christie Elliott and Sean Welsh came into the side. The side took an unfamiliar shape with Alan Archibald electing to set-up with a three-at-the-back formation. Adam Barton sat in as a centre-half alongside Danny Devine and Liam Lindsay. Christie Elliott came in as right wing-back and the midfield was a flat three of Abdul Osman, Sean Welsh and Ryan Edwards. It was two up-top with Ade Azeez and Kris Doolan both playing.

It would be the Jags who kicked-off and there was no messing about as in the opening minute, Liam Lindsay made his way forward and picked up the ball before launching a shot towards goal from 35 yards. Unfortunately, it sailed high into the North Stand.

The next big chance of the half came in the 16th minute when a Ross County man got the better of Adam Barton wide on the County left. The ball was then slid into the box where an attacker’s shot had to be blocked by a sliding Danny Devine, who excellently recovered and stopped the attempt reaching Ryan Scully’s goal.

Two minutes after the Staggies’ chance Thistle almost took the lead through Callum Booth. Christie Elliott was played into space on the right flank and was able to whip in a cross. The ball reached the back post where Booth was running in. However, a visiting defender got to it first and headed behind.

The deadlock would be broken in the 23rd minute and it came after the referee’s biggest decision of the match so far. A corner kick that was swung into the County area landed near Kris Doolan who touched it past a defender. The Ross County man clattered into Doolan, sending him down and Don Robertson pointed to the spot. It would be Sean Welsh to step up, having scored two penalties out of two already this season, and his good record from the spot continued as he calmly tucked the ball home past Scott Fox, making it 1-0.

The visiting side struggled to create chances as Thistle were able to control much of the first half but The Jags were reduced to mostly long shots despite having plenty of possession. Adam Barton and Ryan Edwards both saw their long range attempts miss the target as the game approached half-time.

The teams would go into the interval with the score 1-0. The lead was a deserved one as Thistle were on top for large parts of the opening 45 minutes. Christie Elliott was being given too much space when he came forward from his wing-back position. Adam Barton’s first Partick Thistle match in defence was going well; his ability to pass out from the back and his composure on the ball helped calm the play down whenever Thistle were getting slightly flustered.

As the second half began, just five minutes in, the referee was forced into another big decision. Craig Curran clattered into Sean Welsh with a heavy challenge and it didn’t look like the best of tackles. There were chants of ‘Off!’ ringing around Firhill but Don Robertson brandished just a yellow card for Curran.

Ross County’s number 11 was at the centre of attention yet again in the 56th minute when he almost drew his side level. The ball fell to him around 15 yards from goal and he was able to set himself to shoot without much pressure. His shot would come off Ryan Scully’s left-hand post and when the ball was crossed back in Ryan Dow’s headed attempt was easily caught by the Jags’ goalkeeper.

The big turning point of the game took place in the 68th minute when Liam Lindsay was forced off the pitch with an injury. A high ball flew into the home team’s box and three players attacked it. Andrew Davies of Ross County, Ryan Scully and Liam Lindsay all rose to meet the cross and unfortunately Scully clattered into his own defender sending Lindsay down. The ‘keeper got up after some treatment but the big centre-half stayed on the ground. A flock of medical staff tried to help him but in the end the stretcher was needed and Ziggy Gordon came on to replace him. Gordon would slot into the same position that Lindsay was playing, on the left side of the three centre-backs. Shortly after that incident Alan Archibald made a second change. Kris Doolan was replaced by David Amoo as the manager looked to breath some life into his side’s attack.

Thistle still led the match as the game approached the 90th minute but, to the dismay of the Firhill crowd, a minimum of nine minutes was added on due to the lengthy stoppage when Liam Lindsay needed treatment.

Four minutes into the nine, the worst case scenario took place. After Adam Barton headed a long ball clear, Sean Welsh lost the aerial battle with a County man and it dropped to Christopher Burke who cleverly went past Callum Booth. Burke carried the ball forward and the defenders just kept backing off which gave the number 22 a chance to pick his spot and still under no real pressure, he fired a shot across Ryan Scully and into the far corner getting the visitors back on level terms.

The highland side very nearly took all three points back to Dingwall thanks to a late Ryan Dow chance. The Staggies had the ball on their left flank and managed to get into a good crossing position. The ball was played low into the danger area where Ryan Dow was waiting and about ten yards from goal he looked certain to score but his attempt was tremendously stopped by the legs of Ryan Scully.

As the full-time whistle blew it was an all too familiar feeling for everyone at Firhill as the Jags let a lead slip for the third home game in a row. There is no time to dwell on it, however, as Thistle are in midweek action this week against Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday night with kick-off at 7:45.

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