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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Spartans WFC v Partick Thistle – February 7th 2024

Having secured a place in the last eight of the Scottish Cup at the weekend, the Sky Sports Cup Finalists returned to league action with a trip through to the capital to face Spartans, a side that many are surprised to see struggle near the bottom of SWPL1.

Thistle’s two previous visits to Ainslie Park had both ended in goalless draws, and Spartans had left Petershill Park earlier in the season with full points. As a consequence there was nobody, no matter how good Thistle’s form was going into this game, taking it for granted that Thistle would extend their winning run to a sixth successive win.

They did, ultimately, manage to do precisely that but for long spells it looked as if the goal that Thistle’s dominance merited was never going to come.

The opening 45 minutes of a game played on a bitterly cold night were spent almost exclusively in the Spartans half, but Thistle for all that just couldn’t find the breakthrough.

Carla Boyce, starting her second Thistle game, was a constant menace to the Spartans defence and had the most presentable of Thistle’s first half chances but saw her effort clear the crossbar. Cara Henderson saw a net bound shot blocked by a Spartans defender and Demi Falconer and Lucy Sinclair both had efforts that came close.

Even Rosie Slater, who has been the scorer of some spectacular goals this season, couldn’t hit target with a long range effort after the ball sat up nicely for her.

Despite dominating proceedings there is always a danger of being caught by a sucker punch and Thistle had Ava Easdon to thank for keeping the score at 0-0 when she denied Birse who had collected a ball over the top of the Thistle defence before powering a shot towards the Thistle goal. It was a save that underlined just why Ava, and teammate Jenna Ferguson, have been selected for the Scotland under 19 squad.

The second half followed a similar patter to that of the first with Thistle in the ascendancy but unable to find the touch required in front of goal to turn that ascendancy into goals.

Frustration was just starting to mount when Thistle, finally, made the breakthrough with 57 minutes on the clock.

An Amy Bulloch free kick from wide on the left found the head of Carla Boyce and her header gave her her second goal in two starts for Thistle, and for Bulloch her eighth assist of a highly productive season for the midfielder.

Now in front Thistle searched for the second goal that would have provided them with some breathing space, but it just wouldn’t come.

There was some late Spartans pressure, and six minutes of injury time, to contend with before the win was confirmed, but in truth the Thistle rear guard were never seriously troubled.

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