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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Ross County v Partick Thistle – 7th March 2015

Having picked up a terrific three points the previous week and ending a terrible run with victory at Tannadice confidence was high among the Thistle players and fans alike.

With the team looking to redress their poor performance against County 14 days earlier, manager, Alan Archibald, was forced to make one change from the victory over United, Christie Elliott missing out through injury and Dale Keenan slotting in to replace him at left back. Callum Booth also missed out through injury and his place on the bench went to David Wilson.

It was County who got the game started but it was Thistle who were on the front foot early, a Higginbotham free kick caught easily by Brown after Craigen had been the victim of a late challenge.

The Jags were playing into a strong wind in the first half, evident by the fact that Gallacher’s kicks were struggling to reach the halfway line, while his opposite number saw more than a couple of his kicks go straight through to the Thistle keeper.

In the 9th minute Craigen picked up a loose ball in midfield and found the run of Lyle Taylor but he could only shoot wide from 22 yards. Brilliant skill from Kallum Higginbotham saw him leave the County defence on the deck and his cut back found Lawless who had a real chance to put Thistle ahead. Unfortunately for the visitors though the wee man’s shot was blasted over from no more than 10 yards.

The Thistle pressure kept coming and Frans did well to get his head to a Bannigan free kick, but the keeper saved and County cleared, Frans’ claims for a penalty falling on deaf ears.

Lawless, who continued to look dangerous early on, then did well to win a header and find Taylor who could again only shoot wide when perhaps he had better options to his right. Osman then saw a header go wide at the back post as Thistle continued to dominate.

As the half wore on the home side did begin to find their feet as Irvine headed wide from a Reckford cross having got in behind Dale Keenan. It was an early warning for Thistle that showed they must stay focused.

Stephen O’Donnell, one of the Thistle standouts in the game, then side footed an effort just past the post after County had only half cleared.

In the 33rd minute Thistle failed to heed the earlier warning and another ball in behind would ultimately cost them the game. An angled pass in behind Keenan found Boyce, his shot was saved by Gallacher but the ball spun up in the air and Curran headed home from 6 yards out, Balatoni unable to get in front of the effort to prevent County making it 1-0.

Just before half time Higginbotham saw his shot from a tight angle deflected into the side netting and, despite long spells of dominance for the Jags, it was the home side who led at the break.

With Thistle now having the wind at their backs it was hoped that they could break down a stubborn home defence. It was a scrappy opening to the half with no fluency in the play from either side, but in the 52nd minute, a long ball found Irvine and his cross picked out Gardyne, but thankfully for Thistle his turn and shot went wide of the target.

Doolan replaced Craigen as Thistle went with two up front and it almost paid off when a fierce Lawless shot was well saved by Brown who couldn’t hold on to it. Lyle Taylor pounced on the loose ball and fired home from the close range only to see the linesman’s flag raised as he wheeled away to celebrate. It was certainly a tight call.

In the 59th minute the game changed again when Higginbotham lost possession and, as he chased Gardyne scythed down the County player. Despite the reckless challenge it was still a surprise to many in the ground when the referee flashed a red card.

With the Jags now down to ten men it was going to make things even more difficult to get back in the game. Quinn saw his shot deflected wide by Doolan on the post although no corner was given.

Substitute, David Wilson, who was impressive when he came on, found O’Donnell with a great pass. He in turn fed Stevenson but his shot only hit the side netting.

Thistle showed real character and bite to not only remain in the game but also to create chances, Frans doing well to head De Vita’s dangerous cross over as County tried to hit the Jags on the break.

Stevenson then curled a free kick just wide and Wilson saw his 25 yard shot saved by Brown as Thistle continued to search for an elusive equaliser. Frans then saw his shot blocked as he played up front for the last ten minutes.

As the minutes ticked away Gallacher saved well from Kiss, who then nearly grabbed another by robbing Gallacher of the ball and poking just wide of an empty net.

The game finished 1-0 and brought to an end a disappointing match for Thistle and made for a long trip home for the 298 hardy souls who made the trip up.

Thistle: Gallacher, O’Donnell, Frans, Balatoni, Keenan, Bannigan, Osman, Higginbotham, Craigen (Doolan), Lawless (Stevenson), Taylor (Wilson)

Subs: Fox, Doolan (55), Stevenson (69), Richards-Everton, Fraser, McDaid, Wilson (69)

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