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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Ross County v Partick Thistle – 25th April 2015

Having secured three points over Motherwell to continue an excellent run of form, the Jags made the long trek to Dingwall to face a Ross County side that was one of the form teams in Europe. Having had a two week break due to the Scottish Cup semi-finals, there was huge anticipation surrounding the game, with both clubs knowing that a victory would all but secure another season of Premiership football.

Thistle gaffer, Alan Archibald, named the same starting eleven that had gained the win over ‘Well, with James Craigen returning from suspension and taking a place on the bench alongside the fit again Christie Elliott.

County created an early half chance when Boyce was allowed space in the Jags box but his header went tamely wide. As the early exchanges played out Thistle seemed to be in the mood, zipping the ball about the pitch confidently. An O’Donnell cross from a Lawless pass found Stevenson whose shot went just wide. Lyle Taylor then nodded down for Stevenson whose shot was well saved by Brown.

Ryan Stevenson was looking particularly dangerous and again had a chance that he fired over from 16 yards as Thistle continued to dominate. An excellent hooked pass by Lawless sent Taylor in behind the County defence but his low drilled cross from the byline found no takers in the box.

Given the amount of Thistle pressure it was something of a surprise when, in the 21st minute, Jamie Reckford’s cross was not dealt with by the Jags defence and Gardyne fired home at the far post to give County the lead against the run of play.

Thistle though continued to play their passing game and, sixty seconds later, Taylor had the ball in the County net only to be flagged for offside. However, in the 26th minute, Thistle were deservedly level.

A 22 pass move saw the ball moved to Frans just inside the County half, he drove forward and then unleashed a screamer from at least 30 yards which arrowed, past the despairing Mark Brown, and into the bottom corner of the County goal – a wonderful strike from the big Belgian.

The Jags continued to push forward and Stevenson saw a left foot shot saved by Brown before Stuart Bannigan curled a shot agonisingly past the post. As the visitors continued to turn the screw the home side’s keeper was almost made to look very silly. The Staggies custodian was hesitant on the ball and Stevenson blocked his attempted clearance but could not force the rebound on target from 25 yards.

Thistle were looking as dangerous as they have done all season when Higginbotham linked up with Taylor who spotted Booth’s run into the box. The on form left back couldn’t keep his shot on target though as his effort went just wide as both teams left the field with the scores level at 1-1

It was same again at the start of the second half with Thistle continuing to dominate proceedings. Great play by Lawless, who was unplayable at times, saw him slide Taylor in but, with just Brown to beat, his shot could only find the side netting.

Stevenson then nodded the ball down to Taylor who slid in Lawless, he was held back by Quinn but the ref waved away penalty claims, perhaps due to the honesty of the Jags player who didn’t throw himself to the ground but stayed on his feet.

Despite the chances Thistle couldn’t take the lead but, as the half ticked on, the seemingly inevitable did eventually happen and the Jags deservedly went in front in 54 minutes. County failed to clear their lines and the ball fell to O’Donnell out wide, his fierce half volley beat Brown at his near post to put Thistle 2-1 ahead, another tremendous strike from the Jags right back.

It was nearly three with 20 minutes to go, Bannigan collected the ball at the edge of his own box, drove forward and found Lawless who slipped the ball into the path of O’Donnell who forced a brilliant save from the home keeper. Taylor then won the ball off Quinn 40 yards from goal, Stevenson collected it and found Higginbotham who squared back across for Taylor but the striker took a touch inside and the chance was lost.

The home side were not creating anything of note, they had loud claims for a penalty when Gardyne went down under a challenge from Bannigan but the referee rightly waved away his claims. An O’Donnell challenge which was magnificent in its timing snuffed out the only other danger as Thistle ran out 2-1 winners in front of the noisy 358 travelling fans.

Thistle: Fox, Booth, Frans, Balatoni, O’Donnell, Osman, Bannigan, Lawless, Higginbotham, Stevenson, Taylor

Subs: Gallacher, Craigen, Doolan, Elliott, Fraser, Wilson, Keenan

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