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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Raith Rovers v Partick Thistle – 29th October 2022

A run of five games in 14 days ended for Partick Thistle at Stark’s Park as they took on Raith Rovers in Kirkcaldy.

The Jags had won the earlier meeting between the teams this season 2-1 at Firhill but came into the game off the back of three consecutive defeats in all competitions, conceding four goals in each of those games.

Ian McCall made three changes to the side that started the 4-2 loss against Ayr in midweek with one of those enforced as Brian Graham dropped out due to injury joining Kevin Holt, Ross Docherty and Scott Tiffoney on the Jags’ absentee list. Kyle Turner and Darren Brownlie were the other two to come out, taking places on the bench. The replacements were Cole McKinnon, Cammy Smith and Steven Lawless who missed the midweek trip to Somerset Park due to illness.

Despite the disappointment of their last few fixtures, Thistle started pretty brightly and had Raith on the back foot for the opening 10 minutes. The best opportunity of that spell came when Cammy Smith laid the ball off for Stuart Bannigan with the number eight’s right-footed shot being saved relatively comfortably by Jamie MacDonald.

Then, suddenly, Raith hit the front. A ball played into the middle of the Thistle half by Ross Millen was won by Tunji Akinola but his clearance ricocheted back of Lee Hodson and into the path of Aidan Connolly. The midfielder carried the ball forward with Akinola now out of position and cut onto his left side to bend a shot into the far top corner.

The goal seemed to wholly rock the Jags who after a positive start to the game were now struggling to do much of anything right. The hosts had further chances through a Scott Brown volley and a Kyle Connell header but each effort was comfortably claimed by David Mitchell.

Raith’s sustained dominance would eventually pay dividends though as Aidan Connolly popped up with his second of the game just after the hour mark. It was created by a long throw by Kyle Connell from Raith’s left side which wasn’t dealt with well at all by the Thistle back line. It flew over the initial group of bodies at the near post and landed in front of Connolly who found himself in space just a few yards out. He met it on the volley and fired it into the bottom corner to double his side’s advantage.

The Maryhill men were almost gifted a route back into the game on 37 minutes when a loose pass from Kieran Ngwenya went straight to Anton Dowds just outside the Raith box. The striker attempted to shift onto his right side but was blocked off and when it fell to Cammy Smith he curled a shot over the bar.

If that moment had given the visitors hope of clambering back into the contest then those hopes were snuffed out two minutes before the break. Ross Millen put a cross deep into the Thistle box and Kyle Connell went down after a coming together with Tunji Akinola and referee Gavin Duncan pointed to the spot without much hesitation.

It was Connell who stepped up to take the penalty after winning it and he drove the ball down the middle as Mitchell dived to the side making it 3-0.

Thistle made a double change at the break with Kyle Turner and Danny Mullen coming on for Tunji Akinola and Steven Lawless and it seemed to have a positive effect. A couple of minutes after the restart a Turner corner was met by Aaron Muirhead at the back post and although his attempt was spilled by Jamie MacDonald, Raith were able to scramble it clear before anyone in red and yellow could get another touch to it.

There was another chance for Muirhead with ten minutes to play as MacDonald made a mess of another ball that looked like an easy claim. This time it was Cole McKinnon cross which the experienced ‘stopper lost control of and Muirhead came sliding in at the back post, however, he could only hit the outside of the post as the ball went behind for a goal kick.

That was pretty much it as far as second half chances went for Thistle as Raith did a professional job of holding onto their lead to earn three points which take within one of Thistle.

Up next for the Jags it’s Dundee at home as they look to get their season back on track. That one is a 3pm kick-off at Firhill next Saturday, 5th November.

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