Saturday 4th December, 2021 at 10:52pm
After eight games unbeaten in all competitions, Partick Thistle returned to the scene of their most recent defeat looking to move closer to the top of the Championship table.
Travelling to Dumfries, where they were beaten 2-0 in the SPFL Trust Trophy in early October, the Jags were hoping to get a fifth win on the bounce against the team who they defeated on the opening day of the league season.
Ian McCall made three changes to the line-up that started in the Jags’ Scottish Cup win over Dunfermline with Lewis Mayo and Richard Foster back from injury to replace Ciaran McKenna and Stephen Hendrie. Cammy Smith also dropped out with Connor Murray coming into the first XI.
The game started at decent pace and Queens goalkeeper Sol Brynn had some work to do after ten minutes. Wullie Gibson misjudged the flight of a high ball allowing Zak Rudden to get in behind the hosts’ backline. Brynn was out quickly to block but the ball ricocheted back to Rudden who, after a sliced clearance by Paul McKay, poked the ball towards goal. Brynn had recovered sharply though and was able to make a save with his feet to keep the game scoreless.
Almost immediately thereafter it was Thistle ‘keeper Jamie Sneddon who was called into action as Ruari Paton went close for the home side. The former Stranraer forward received the ball in the Jags’ box and turned cleverly away from Richard Foster before curling an effort towards the far post. The shot was bound for the bottom corner but Sneddon got a strong left hand to it and pushed the ball away from goal.
The game then went through a period of meagre attacking play from both sides with the next bit of serious goalmouth action coming in the 43rd minute. It came through Lee Connelly, who opened the scoring the last time these sides met, as the number 10 picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and drove towards the corner of the box. He tried a shot as soon as he entered the 18-yard box but saw his powerful effort crash back off the near post before Tunji Akinola cleared the loose ball.
The Doonhamers hit the frame of the goal again right on the stroke of half-time, with Jamie Sneddon required to tip it onto the woodwork this time. Josh Todd won a shoulder-to-shoulder battle with Richard Foster and slotted a pass into the path of Lee Connelly. Once again, the midfielder tried a shot from around 16 yards but Sneddon was able to swing an arm up to the ball, tipping it onto the cross bar and subsequently gathering.
Despite the home side’s strong end to the first half, it was Thistle who dominated proceedings as the game moved into the second 45 minutes. Nevertheless, it took until the 65th minute for the Jags to create a decent shooting opportunity. That came at the end of a good passing move as the Maryhill men worked it from the left wing with Scott Tiffoney all the way over Kyle Turner on the right via Zak Rudden and Brian Graham. With Richard Foster on the overlap, Turner cut infield and tried a curling effort towards the far post, however, it drifted just wide of goal and the search for the opener continued.
Three minutes later, Brian Graham had a big chance to break the deadlock. Stuart Bannigan fed the ball wide to Scott Tiffoney on the Thistle left and the winger whipped a delicious ball into the danger area which found Brian Graham in space. The striker met it with his right foot on the volley but fired the first-time shot over the bar from six yards out.
Brian Graham was involved once again as he set up Ross MacIver for a chance in the 83rd minute. MacIver played the ball out to Graham on the left flank and continued his run forward to receive the return pass. He surged into the box and tried a shot from 12 yards out, however, Paul McKay was across quickly to make a key block.
That was the final big chance of the game as the contest finished 0-0 with the points shared. In the process, Thistle set a new club record for consecutive clean sheet as they secured their eighth on the bounce. The draw means the Jags stay in fourth place, three points off top spot ahead of next week’s home clash against Arbroath. Kick-off for that one is 3pm on Saturday, 11th December.