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Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

St Johnstone v Partick Thistle – 28th April 2018

Partick Thistle travelled to McDiarmid Park this afternoon off the back of their first win in three months. Last Saturday, Thistle came from behind to beat Hamilton Accies 2-1, ending a dreadful run of form and lifting them off bottom spot in the Ladbrokes Premiership table. The Maryhill men bagged their first goals in five games against Accies as they look to hit post-split form in the race for survival which continued at McDiarmid Park against the Perthshire Saints.

The 11 men who began last weekend’s crucial clash against Hamilton also started today with Tomas Cerny in behind a back four of Christie Elliott, Niall Keown, Baily Cargill and Callum Booth. The two sitting midfielders were Andrew McCarthy and Martin Woods in behind an attacking midfield contingent of Blair Spittal, Steven Lawless and Chris Erskine. The man who grabbed the equaliser last time out, Kris Doolan started again up front ahead of Conor Sammon who remained on the bench as a dangerous option.

The game started as a very cagey affair with neither team given too much away. Quality was sparse and there were few chances to talk about in the opening stages. Steven Lawless saw a left-footed shot fly over the bar from 15 yards in the seventh minute, Matty Willock saw a deflected shot saved by Tomas Cerny and Martin Woods went close with a clever free-kick but in honesty neither team really deserved to take the lead. Nevertheless, the deadlock would be broken six minutes before half time and it was the hosts who went ahead. A Saints free-kick wasn’t cleared properly and Liam Craig brought the ball down in the Thistle area. He then lifted a delivery up towards the back post where Joe Shaughnessy met it. The home side’s skipper then simply directed it back across goal to make it 1-0.

That’s how things stayed going into the break with the hosts edging ahead in the contest. Both sides had struggled to produce any good football and in the end it was one half-cleared free-kick that allowed St. Johnstone to take the lead. The Jags found themselves in a similar predicament to the one that they were in last week and perhaps similar changes were in order for Thistle in the second half.

The changes did come and the first one came in the 51st minute when Steven Lawless was replaced by Conor Sammon. The striker was introduced to the game and the team’s formation changed with Sammon now alongside Kris Doolan up front.

After the change in shape, Thistle almost grabbed a quick equaliser in the 59th minute. Callum Booth lifted a cross from the left into the centre which Chris Erskine attempted to volley. The number ten struck the ball extremely well and found the target. Unfortunately, for the midfielder, his effort was straight at Zander Clark who collected at the second attempt.

The Jags made a second change on 62 minutes as Andrew McCarthy came off to be replaced by Ryan Edwards, the man who bagged the winning goal from the bench last week against Accies. Paul McGinn was also brought on as Callum Booth was forced off in the 70th minute with an injury.

In the final 20 minutes, Thistle pushed and pushed for one big chance to draw level and in the 88th minute that opportunity finally came. A free-kick from deep was launched into the Saints penalty area and Conor Sammon flicked it on. Kris Doolan then touched it forward into the path of Ryan Edwards who was knocked over by Liam Craig with the referee then awarding the penalty with just two minutes of normal time left to play.

Conor Sammon was the man who stepped up to take the spot kick and he confidently slotted home from 12 yards, sending Zander Clark the wrong way and getting his 10th goal of the season in all competitions.

Unfortunately, there would be no time for a Thistle second and the match ended with the score 1-1. For the second week in a row the Jags had battled back from behind to get something from a game and this week’s point could end up being very important. Alan Archibald’s side remain in 11th, now two points above Ross County and four behind Hamilton Accies.

The Maryhill men now turn their focus to next Friday’s crucial match against Ross County as a massive three points are up for grabs. Thistle return to Firhill still unbeaten in post-split fixtures looking to extend the gap between them and the Staggies in bottom spot. Kick-off is 19:45 from the Energy Check Stadium at Firhill.

THISTLE TEAM: Cerny, Elliott, Keown, Cargill, Booth (Booth 70′), McCarthy (Edwards, 62’), Woods, Spittal, Erskine, Lawless (Sammon, 51’), Doolan.

UNUSED SUBS (PTH): Scully, Barton, Osman, Storey.

ST. JOHNSTONE TEAM: Clark, Foster, Anderson, Kerr, Shaughnessy, Tanser, Willock, Wotherspoon, Craig, Williams (Robertson, 83’), MacLean.

UNUSED SUBS (STJ): Mannus, Watson,  Gordon, McLean, McCann, McMillan.

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