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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Partick Thistle WFC v Hearts WFC – 26th March 2023

The reward for the outstanding achievement of securing a top six position in only our second season in the top flight is a demanding schedule of 10 further fixtures against the very best in the women’s game in Scotland. The first of those came against Hearts at Petershill Park.

It’s been an excellent season for Hearts, who sit 4th in the table.  Twice during the first portion of the league season they defeated Thistle, as well as knocking The Jags out of the Scottish Cup. Each of those three games though had been tight affairs, the Scottish Cup tie going to extra-time, and so it proved to be tight in this game as well.

With Cheryl McCulloch sadly on the injured list, and on commentary duty, there was the welcome sight of longest serving player Taylor McGlashan returning to the side for only her second start of a season in which she has had her own prolonged injury worries. It was testament to McGlashan’s experience and talent that she stepped back into the heart of the Thistle defence as if she had never been away.

And there was no lack of work for McGlashan and her fellow defenders to do as Hearts started the better of the two teams.

Megan Cunningham did well to get a hand to Smith effort from a Timms cross and it took a quite magnificent blocking tackle from Clare Docherty to deny Rennie a chance as Hearts pressed for an early goal.

Gradually though Thistle got into their stride. A Rachel Donaldson shot from the edge of the box went wide of target and an Amy Bulloch free kick was flicked towards goal by Linzi Taylor, but her effort dropped wide for a goal kick despite Taylor’s appeals for a corner kick.

Thistle’s best move of the match involving Taylor, Abbie Ferguson and Imogen Longcake ended with the latter over hitting her cross, but these were encouraging signs for the home side.

There was a fright though for Thistle when Smith picked up the ball at the edge of the box, but her shot looped just over Cunningham’s crossbar.

Thistle’s best chance of a first half goal came with the half-time whistle approaching. Hearts, a little harshly it must be said, were penalised for their keeper collecting what the referee adjudged to be a pass back giving Thistle an indirect free kick inside the box. After a bit of discussion the free kick was tapped to Cara Henderson, but her effort struck the wall and the opportunity was lost.

After a goalless first half it took Hearts next to no time to open the scoring upon the restart. It was a disappointing goal to concede from Thistle’s perspective with Brownlie’s header from a Grant corner squeezing past Cunningham and into the net.

Hearts were close to doubling that lead when a Forsyth shot from outside the box struck the junction of post and crossbar.

It was anything but one way traffic and the longer the game went on the more Thistle pressed for an equaliser, an equaliser that would not have been undeserved. Ferguson came close with an effort from a Henderson cross from the right hand side and McGlashan nearly marked her comeback with a goal when she just failed to connect with a Donaldson free kick at the back post.

The closest though that we came to a Thistle equaliser was a Taylor free kick from just outside the box after a foul on Ferguson. Indeed it remains a mystery just how her free kick didn’t find the back of the net. The ball evaded the defensive wall, beat the keeper all ends up, but struck the inside of the post and stayed out with nobody able to scramble the loose ball home.

Hearts could have added a second as Thistle threw bodies forward in search of an equaliser. Substitute Rood broke clear but was forced wide and was unable to either find the net or a team mate.

The loss of a second goal though would have been incredibly harsh on a Thistle side that showed all the hallmarks of a side more than capable of being highly competitive in the top six before the season’s conclusion.

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