SFL v Partick Thistle


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 3242, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Steve Conroy

Since being rich with choice to select a team to face Clyde two weeks ago Jim McIntyre was back in the position of the team selecting itself from those not injured and drafting in under 19s on the bench.

With Scott Wilson (hip injury), Scott Thomson (thigh knock) and Steven Bell (groin strain) all out there were two changes in the Pars starting eleven - Greg Shields and Greg Ross returned. Partick boss Ian McCall was rather better placed with both Jonny Tunney, Paul Paton, Scott Chaplain and Gary Harkins all returning to his team. Previous hit men, Liam Buchanan and Stephen McKeown were on the bench.

The visitors kicked off through Donnelly and Chaplain attacking the goal in front of the McCathie Stand. Two Stephen Glass free kicks from the right, both about 15 yards inside the Thistle half were the first tests for the opposing defence. Glass`s high balls searching for Graham Bayne were taken by the defence despite looking straight into the strong autumn sun.

In sixth minute a pass from the centre circle by Andy Kirk sent Kevin Harper away down the right and he turned Mark Twaddle before lacing the ball into the box. Alex Burke ran towards the ball but dummied it fooling both the defence and his own team mates.

Thistle worked their way into the game with a Maxwell cross creating danger but both McKinlay and Chaplain failed to get a touch on it as the ball squeezed through the six yard box and out for a goal kick.

Dunfermline`s first corner of the match in 14 minutes was a low one in from the right from Glass and Rowson got the better of Bayne to defend the ball at the near post. Three minutes later Burke whacked a shot from 20 yards but the effort went wide right.

Pressure was kept on the Thistle defence with Nick Phinn wriggling through Maxwell`s challenge to set up Kirk but John Robertson slid in to concede the corner. This time Greg Shields came very close heading Glass`s delivery narrowly outside the left post from six yards.

Gallacher was kept involved with a punch off his line in 26 minutes after Maxwell`s cross dipped into the goalmouth.┬ Harkins followed up evading two tackles on the right before releasing a shot that rebounded back and forth before Woods finally cleared.┬ Harkins┬ next received a lay off from Donnelly that he swung across the Pars box and thankfully Twaddle headed wide.

The game was in danger of becoming scrappy but in 36 minutes a fantastic move heralded the opener for Dunfermline. A swift passing move saw the ball played from Harper through Ross to Phinn.┬ ┬ It was the red boots of Phinn that ripped the Thistle defence open, taking the ball to the byeline on the right to cut the ball back for Andy KIRK to sink at the near post from two yards.

Four minutes later Harper again found Ross up the right and he laid the ball off for Burke to blast one narrowly over Tuffey`s bar from 15 yards. The McCathie Stand yelped a roar two minutes later when Harper looked to be on target but Tuffey stretched to his right to turn the ball behind.

Bayne rose for another Harper cross but it was just too big┬ however the goal had certainly lifted the Pars and they went in at the break in a well earned lead.

Half Time: Dunfermline 1 Partick Thistle 0

The second half was just 90 seconds underway when Burke`s diagonal pass to Kirk on the top of the D was edged on to Kevin Harper.┬ He connected well but sent the effort outside the left post. Glass sent over a cross in 49 minutes that ended up troubling Tuffey and he was forced to turn the ball over his crossbar.

Partick were not out of this and when Paul Paton`s corner travelled through the six yard box to Maxwell at the far post there was great relief to see the ball ending up wide of the target.┬ in 53rd minute McCann made a first class block to snuff out what was a great chance for Simon Donnelly just ten yards out.

Dunfermline nearly clinched a second goal in 56 minutes when Harper`s corner from the right was headed on by Ross.┬ Kirk returned the ball from the left side and Calum Woods powerful header looked on course for glory but having beaten the keeper the ball rebounded back off the crossbar.

Partick almost caught the Pars out on the break and when Donnelly┬ picked out┬ McKinlay his shot was touched around the post by Gallacher. Ross came close at a corner before in 70th minute Thistle substitute Liam Buchanan broke into the right side of the Pars penalty box and evaded Woods attentions to cross but fortunately Greg Shields was there to stick the ball behind.

The travelling support groaned their frustrations as the Pars defence showed great resilience to repel Thistle`s attempts to find a road through. Simon Wiles replaced Kevin Harper and Stephen McKeown, scorer of that late goal in the first meeting this season came on as Donnelly went off. Buchanan forced McCann into conceding a corner but again the home defence was firm.

Wiles had a great opportunity to seal the points when a defensive header sat up in front of him but his shot from 20 yards was hammered into the McCathie Stand. Iain Williamson was only just on the park when he was injured in a clash with Tuffey as they both went for a Wiles cross.┬ The Pars sub was on the next Wiles delivery in 87 minutes however forcing Tuffey into a good blocking save as the ball was fired at him from close in.

This was a good victory for Dunfermline.┬ A good performance all round with Woods and Shields forming a good partnership in defence.┬ Results elsewhere at Airdrie and Livingston meant that Dunfermline went joint top with Queen of the South and Livingston and only one point separates the top four teams.

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Greg Ross, Greg Shields, Calum Woods, Austin McCann; Kevin Harper (Simon Wiles 75), Nick Phinn, Stephen Glass, Alex Burke; Andy Kirk, Graham Bayne (Iain Williamson 82).
SUBS:┬ Ross Campbell, Stuart Dearden, Callum Reidford
SCORER: Kirk (36)
YELLOW CARD: Phinn (57)

PARTICK THISTLE: Jonny Tuffey; Paul Paton, Simon Storey, John Robertson, Ian Maxwell, Mark Twaddle, Scott Chaplain (Liam Buchanan 55), Kevin McKinlay, David Rowson, Simon Donnelly (Stephen McKeown 75), Gary Harkins (Steven Lennon 85)
SUBS:┬ Willie Kinniburgh, Craig Hinchcliffe (GK).

WEATHER: Changeable, breezy 11┬║C

NEXT MATCH: SFL First Division (away) v Airdrie United
Saturday 25th October 2008, kick off 3.00pm

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