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Partick Thistle FC
Partick Thistle FC
Match Report

Stenhousemuir v Partick Thistle – 26th July 2016

Thistle travelled to Ochilview to take on League One Stenhousemuir in the third Betfred Cup tie of the group stage. Thistle had won each of their two previous fixtures while Stenhousemuir were isolated at the bottom of the group without a point to their name. Despite this, it was clear that there would be a tricky game to navigate for Alan Archibald’s side on the artificial surface in Larbert.

Manager Alan Archibald made four changes to the side which defeated Queen of the South at Firhill on Saturday as he freshened up his attacking strike force once again. Kris Doolan and Mathias Pogba spearheaded the Jags attack with Ade Azeez and David Wilson dropping to the bench as the gaffer set a more attacking line up. Chris Erskine also sat out the 90 minutes on the bench with Ryan Edwards getting his first start of the season, while defender Daniel Devine missed out through injury. His absence allowed David Syme to make his competitive debut for the club.

Attacking the goal in front of a large Thistle support in the first half, Kris Doolan, sporting the white away kit, got the game underway. Right from the start Thistle’s pressure was relentless and during the first half they won over 10 corners. From one of these corners Pogba had the game’s first opportunity with a powerful header. Youngster McCabe, in the home goal, was more than equal to parry away his effort.

Pogba was proving to be a menace for the Warriors defence and moments later he won another header from a Welsh set piece, this time he got too much downward power on the ball and it bounced up and over the crossbar. The big target man was not to be denied his first goal of the season and on the 20th minute he had it. Callum Booth fired over a great cross from the left hand side and a Pogba diving header found its way into the top corner of the net.

Thistle seized possession back straight from kick off and within 60 seconds had won a penalty when David Amoo sneaked the ball away from a defender and was fouled. Sean Welsh made no mistake with the spot kick.

There were to be no further goals in the first half but some of Thistle’s play was great to watch as they built attack after attack. On the rare occasion that Stenhousemuir broke forward, David Crawford was well placed to repel the attacks.

Thistle weren’t the same force in the start of the second half and that allowed Stenhousemuir to have a bigger grip on the game. Cook fired a 35 yard free kick well over the bar while Stenny continued to push Thistle back a little as they looked to get back into the game. Thistle, however, always continued to prove a threat.

Kevin Nisbet, on as a substitute for Steven Lawless had an immediate impact. He slid a great ball wide to Pogba who fed a cross in for the youngster. Nisbet connected well with the effort but could only steer his shot off the post before Doolan’s rebound was deflected over the bar.

With the game entering its final phase, it seemed like Thistle were going to hold onto their two goal lead with a minimum of fuss. On 73 minutes McCroary grabbed a goal back for the home side. A corner was partially cleared and McCroary was able to fire home from inside the box having evaded the attentions of his marker.

This caused a few anxious moments for the Jags support before the game was wrapped up once and for all. Azeez collected Nisbet’s pass, breaking through the offside trap. His low effort was blocked by a defender but Amoo was able to fire home the rebound to restore Thistle’s two goal lead.

In a remarkable similarity to the first half, Thistle grabbed another quick fire effort. A cross from the left was well controlled by Azeez before his effort wriggled under the goalkeeper to give him his first Jags goal.

It would finish 4-1 to Thistle and the club took a step closer to the next round of the Betfred Cup. A win on Saturday will secure the top spot in the group as well as a coveted seed position in the next round.

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