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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle v St Johnstone – 14th March 2015

After the disappointment of the result up in Dingwall the previous weekend it was back to Firhill for Thistle as they looked to put some daylight between themselves and the teams below them. The opponents were St Johnstone, a side chasing a top six place and one that has, over the years, posed Thistle problems. Manager, Alan Archibald, made four changes from the starting eleven which faced Ross County. Scott Fox returned in goal, Callum Booth took his place at left back having returned from injury while Kris Doolan and Ryan Stevenson, substitutes the previous week, started. Kallum Higginbotham missed out through suspension while Paul Gallacher, Lyle Taylor and Dale Keenan sat on the bench.
It was Thistle who were immediately on the front foot straight from the kick off and a clever ball into the box from O’Donnell saw Scobbie slash a wild clearance out for a throw in. From O’Donnell’s long throw the visitors failed to clear properly and Osman collected the ball in the box, drove past his man to the byeline and chipped a lovely cross into the middle where Doolan had cleverly peeled off his marker to power a header past Mannus and give the Jags a 1-0 lead after only three minutes. A dream start for the home side.
It was only three minutes until the next Jags chance would come along when Doolan pounced on hesitation in the Saints defence and nipped in between Mannus and Anderson to find himself with an open goal in front of him, albeit from an increasingly tight angle. In the end the geometry defeated Dools and he could only find the side netting with his falling effort. The early chances were a sign of what was to come and, in the ninth minute, Thistle extended their lead. Bannigan’s corner found the run of Balatoni at the near post and he headed home his first goal since scoring in Inverness, to make it 2-0 to the Jags.
Thistle continued to overrun the visitors and Craigen slipped a lovely pass to Stevenson who saw his shot brilliantly saved by Mannus. Lawless was also unlucky with his control from a Bannigan cross before a mistake from Frans at the other end allowed McLean a run but Balatoni was alert to the danger and cleared well.
It was almost three in the 36th minute when a low O’Donnell cross clipped the heels of Lawless and fell perfectly to Doolan, he passed back to Lawless and the Saints’ Anderson got himself in a mess. The clearance hit Davidson and found Stevenson six yards out but his volley smashed off the outside of the post.
The visitors nearly pulled one back just on half time when a cross into the box found O’Halloran who volleyed over Fox’s bar to keep the score at 2-0 for Thistle – a score line the home side more than deserved. Into the second half and Balatoni lost his marker again from a Bannigan corner but this time he headed over from eight yards.
As the match ticked on and frustration built for the visitors, there was an incident when Bannigan was fouled by Millar who appeared to kick the Jags star in the back when he was on the ground. Referee, Collum, was only a couple of yards away but chose to do nothing, much to the disgust of the noisy home support.
Craigen saw a shot from a tight angle go over the bar after a late burst into the box while, at the other end, Scott Fox finally had a save to make when Davidson got his head on an Easton cross. Foxy caught the ball comfortably and with the minimum of fuss.
Thistle finally and deservedly extended their lead in the 65th minute. Millar gave away a free kick after a swipe at Stevenson and O’Donnell’s cross from the resultant set piece was only partially cleared by the visitors’ defence. As the ball fell to the edge of the box Bannigan took a touch to his left before firing a fizzer of a shot from 20 yards past the despairing dive of Mannus to make it 3-0 to the Jags. Bannigan’s celebration showed how pleased he was as his team mates struggled to catch him in the ensuing raptures.
With the game now out of the visitors reach it was a rather comfortable last twenty five minutes for the home side. Balatoni did well to get back and block McLean out after he had got behind the defence, but Fox could have smoked a cigar throughout the game such was the lack of action he saw!
As the referee blew for full time it was a happy home support and a very happy set of players on the pitch. The home side thoroughly deserved their 3-0 victory and with results elsewhere going our way it was a good day all round for the Jags.

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