Saturday 21st January, 2017 at 9:10pm
Partick Thistle 4-0 Formartine United
After a three-week long winter break, Partick Thistle returned to competitive action as they began their William Hill Scottish Cup campaign at Firhill against Highland League club, Formartine United. The visiting side were able to topple Annan Athletic at North Lodge Park in the previous round, beating the League Two side 4-0 in one of the biggest cup shocks so far, proving that they shouldn’t be underestimated.
Alan Archibald made just one change to the side that started the team’s last game of 2016. Ryan Edwards dropped to the bench with David Amoo taking his place in the starting line-up. Liam Lindsay didn’t make the squad as he continues to recover from a broken nose. Thistle’s January acquisition, Mark Ridgers, was on the bench.
It was an unusual start to the game for the Jags as the ends were switched. Thistle had the unfamiliar experience of shooting towards the City End for the first half. That fact didn’t seem to hurt the Firhill side’s play as just five minutes in, the hosts had a chance to open the scoring. Callum Booth was on corner duty and, from in front of the Jackie Husband Stand, he hit a low ball into the centre of the box. The cross found Chris Erskine who tried to score on the half-volley. His attempt was goal bound but it bounced off the leg of the man on the post and was directed away from danger.
Although Formartine were able to escape that situation with the score still level, it wouldn’t stay that way for long. In the ninth minute, a deep Sean Welsh free-kick found Abdul Osman at the back post. The Jags’ skipper was able to turn the ball back towards the penalty spot for Chris Erskine, running onto the ball, to fire home from fairly close range, opening the scoring.
Erskine almost doubled the lead seven minutes later when a slick one-two between himself and Kris Doolan meant he found himself one-on-one with the United ‘keeper. He attempted a delicate touch to slot the ball under the outrushing goalie but he was only able to guide it wide.
19 minutes in the away team had their first chance of the game. They tried a similar corner routine to the one the Jags used earlier but this attempt didn’t lead to a shot on target as the arriving Formartine man blasted his shot well wide of the target.
To feel truly comfortable Thistle needed to increase the deficit and that’s exactly what they did in the 28th minute. Steven Lawless played the ball into Sean Welsh who had run into the box. Welsh found himself facing away from goal and decided to lay the ball back to Lawless. The wide-midfielder then unleashed a forceful shot towards the near post that beat Ewen MacDonald, all ends up.
Thistle weren’t satisfied with a two-goal lead, however, and found a third on the 29-minute mark. Kris Doolan fed the ball to Chris Erskine who then tapped it past the last man putting himself through on goal. The midfielder calmly slotted a low shot under the ‘keeper to make it 3-0 just 53 seconds after Stevie Lawless hit the back of the net with his strike.
There were still a couple of chances to be had before half-time for the home team. First, David Amoo got on the end of a pinpoint Callum Booth cross but his header was straight at the opposition goalie. Christie Elliott also had a chance prior to the interval. Thistle were able to carry the ball forward on the counter with Doolan receiving the ball in the attacking third. He chose to tee up the breaking Elliott. The Englishman unleashed a rasping shot towards the near post but could only find the side netting.
The referee blew for half-time and Alan Archibald would be feeling pleased at the break. His side had created plenty of chances and had three goals to show for it. Formartine had a very small amount of possession and had done very little with what they had. During the break, one change was made. Fans’ favourite Mustapha Dumbuya made his long awaited return from injury as he replaced Callum Booth. The Sierra Leone international received a standing ovation from the Firhill crowd as he made his first competitive appearance of the season.
Nine minutes into the second period, the Jags came close once again. Steven Lawless found space in behind his Formartine marker and directed a ball across goal. Abdul Osman was rushing in trying to add a goal to his assist from earlier in the match. Unfortunately, he couldn’t sort his positioning out and could only direct it wide of the back post.
The Thistle captain was unlucky to miss on that occasion but he would learn from his error. A short corner was taken and the ball was played to Steven Lawless on the edge of the box. The number 11 then hit a cross towards the back post which found Abdul Osman who, on the stretch, was able to direct the ball home. The goal was the Ghanaian’s third in a Thistle shirt and his first cup goal for the Jags.
Thistle made two further changes in the final half-hour. David Amoo was replaced by Ade Azeez and Sean Welsh was withdrawn while Andrew McCarthy came on to make his Partick Thistle first team debut.
With just four minutes left of the 90, Formartine almost grabbed a consolation goal. Tomas Cerny stepped up to take a goal kick but scuffed the attempted clearance. This allowed the visitors to get into the box with substitute Conor Gethins receiving the ball. He proceeded to skip past Adam Barton before shooting. However, his attempt flew past the near post much to the dismay of the travelling United fans.
Thistle were able to craft one more good chance through Ade Azeez though. The ex-Wimbledon striker picked up the ball just inside the opposition half and sprinted forward. He found space to shoot and unleashed an attempt across goal but it flashed just wide of the back stick.
That would be all for the match as the Jags advanced into the next round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. The fifth round draw is made tomorrow evening following the conclusion of the Albion Rovers vs Celtic clash. The Jags are next in action against Inverness on Saturday the 28th of January at the Tulloch Caledonian Stadium as they return to Ladbrokes Premiership action.
THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, Booth (Dumbuya, 45’), Barton, Devine, Elliott, Osman, Welsh (McCarthy, 75’), Lawless, Erskine, Amoo (Azeez, 62’), Doolan.
THISTLE SUBS (N/U): Ridgers, Gordon, McDaid, Edwards.
FORMARTINE UNITED TEAM: MacDonald, Young, Smith, Lawson, Crawford, Ferries, Rodger (Gauld, 81’), Masson, Wood, Anderson (Gethins, 71’), Barbour.
FORMARTINE UNITED SUBS (N/U): Reid, Dingwall, Jamieson, Berton, Michie