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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

St Mirren v Partick Thistle – 8th November 2014

For the second consecutive game a Christie Elliott goal deep into the second half provided Thistle with a narrow lead but unlike Hamilton, Thistle were able to complete the victory; a win that sends them into the international break in the relative comfort of 8th place in the Premiership league table.

Alan Archibald’s starting eleven showed four changes from the side that shared six goals with Hamilton seven days earlier. In came Stephen O’Donnell, Frederic Frans, Ryan Stevenson and Sean Welsh, who was making his first start in over a year.

Captain Welsh was heavily involved in the opening exchanges of the game as Thistle made a bright start. Just over a minute was on the clock when Welsh saw a shot deflected wide for the game’s first corner kick and three minutes later Welsh, under pressure from a St Mirren defender, saw a shot saved by Kello after Stevenson did well to provide him with the shooting opportunity. The challenge from the St Mirren defender, a challenge that Alan Archibald expressed his unhappiness with after the game, left the returning midfielder injured and although he was able to continue until half-time the injury severely blunted the impact he could make in a first 45 minutes that is probably best forgotten.

It was the home side that had marginally the better of the opening half though they rarely threatened a fairly resolute looking Thistle defence.

Only once was Scott Fox required to produce a save of any note and even then his save from a McLean free kick was pretty routine. Naismith lashed a shot well wide of goal and Frans blocked a Ball effort with his legs in the few other first half skirmishes in front of either goal that were remotely worthy of noting.

Thistle introduced Gary Fraser for an obviously struggling Sean Welsh at the half-time break and the second half, while never a classic, was a distinct improvement on the poor fare served up in the first half.

Fraser was quickly involved in the action sending over a cross from the right that Ryan Stevenson must have been just inches away from connecting with.

A couple of minutes later it was James Craigen’s turn to deliver a dangerous ball into the St Mirren box, this time from the left hand side, and although Steven Lawless was able to get a touch to the ball he wasn’t able to direct it towards the St Mirren goal.

Still Thistle continued to press and a Stephen O’Donnell cross picked out Christie Elliott but he could get neither pace or direction on his header and in the 52nd minute Fraser forced Kello into a save, though in truth there was little power in Fraser’s shot.

St Mirren were offering little as an attacking force although just past the hour mark Frederic Frans had to be well placed to head clear from close to his own goal line.

At the other end a Gary Fraser corner picked out a near post run from the Belgian centre back but his header was unable to trouble the St Mirren goalkeeper.

In the 74th minute Thistle made their third and final substitution, Kris Doolan having replaced Ryan Stevenson earlier in the second half, when Declan McDaid came on for Steven Lawless. The youngster had barely been on the park for 60 seconds when he played a big part in what would prove to be the game’s only goal.

McDaid collected the ball close to the bye line on the right hand side and was able to pick out Christie Elliott. Elliott took a touch before firing the ball low through a crowd of players and past Kello and into the St Mirren net.

Could Thistle hold out this time?

A second goal would certainly have given them some breathing space going into the closing minutes of the game and Kris Doolan saw two shots blocked in fairly rapid succession as they pressed for that second goal.

There was just one moment of real anxiety for Thistle before they could celebrate a vital three points, their first on their travels this season.

With the game into the first of three minutes of injury time Adam Drury was able to run at the Thistle defence before firing in a shot that clipped the top of the Thistle crossbar.

There would, however, be no late St Mirren equaliser and after what seemed an age, but in truth was just a couple of minutes, following Drury’s near thing the full-time whistle sounded to the delight of the 1,335 strong travelling support.

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