SFL v Partick Thistle


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 2507, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Stephen Finnie

Dunfermline travelled to Glasgow to meet Thistle who sat three places and six points above the Pars.  Jim McIntyre went with an unchanged side from that who played so well on Sunday at Dundee only to leave with no points.

Former Pars captain Greg Shields was included in Ian McCall`s side as he kept match fit with them on a short term contract until the end of March ahead of his return to the North Carolina Railhawks. Only change in the Jags line up from that which lost 1-0 the previous Saturday at Starks Park was 34 year old defender, Ian Maxwell for top scorer, Liam Buchanan.

Dunfermline kicked off attacking the goal at the city centre end. In 65 seconds an Austin McCann cross from the left was deflected high off Shields and Jonny Tuffey had to clutch the ball. At the other end Greg Fleming`s first touch was a good interception on a dangerous ball in from the left that momentarily raised the home fans hopes.

A fourth minute drive by Steven McDougall that took him from his own half into a shooting position 25 yards out was belted off the arm of Shields and Tuffey took easily given the power had been taken off the shot.  Four minutes later David Graham`s effort from 25 yards was turned around the post by Tuffey and from the second corner in quick succession Bell cut back to Phinn but his shot was blocked.

Dunfermline kept up their perpetual pressure with another corner in 11 minutes but again Phinn`s low shot was beaten away off a defender,  The home side`s best response was a Ryan Conroy free kick that slid through the Pars penalty box with Mark Corcoran failing to get a connection at the left goalpost.

Back at the other end Graham tried another shot from distance and a lucky miss prevented Maxwell heading the ball into his own net.  Shields headed behind for a 19th minute corner on the left as the home fans cried out for their side to get into the game. Tuffey held the second corner and in 22nd minute Thistle created their first real attacking move of any consequence with Shields picking out Corcoran and Paul Cairney had to be eased off the ball on the edge of the box.

Four minutes later Graham`s diagonal ball into the centre of the Thistle box only just evaded Kirk`s leap.  Six minutes later Tuffey couldn`t prevent the deflection off a Graham shot going behind for yet another Pars corner but once more the Thistle defence comfortably dealt with the Gibson delivery into the box.

The low winter sun troubled the fans in the stand but they saw enough to applaud Thistle`s first corner in 37 minutes when Shields powered the ball off McCann.  Fleming got the cross away but the Jags were enjoying more possession meaning McGregor had to head away a Conroy cross after Donnelly had made ground to release the ball left.

Fleming held another inswinging Conroy free kick in 44 minutes but it was a first half where the visitor`s had the upper hand and on pressure should have been ahead at the break.  Thistle were allowed back into the game in the final 15 minutes of the half, no doubt giving them optimism for the second period.

Half Time: Partick Thistle 0 Dunfermline 0

The Harry Wraggs got the game underway again with Ryan Conroy having been replaced by Steve Lovell and Joe Cardle taking the place of Steven McDougall. McDougall had a toe injury that will cause him to require an x-ray. Graham moved upfront and he had the first Pars attempt of the half headed away by Shields.

The Pars substitute was to make an immediate impact, however netting in the third minute of the half.  It was a Greg Ross cross that CARDLE despatched low into the net through a crowd of defenders to open the scoring.

In 49 minutes the crossbar prevented Corcoran`s floated cross.  Next minute Graham broke down the right but drove his shot at the keeper who kicked the ball away.  Spurred into remedial action Ian McCall brought on Liam Buchanan and former Par Simon Donnelly headed for the bench.  Buchanan was accused of being greedy in 57 minutes when hung on to shoot into Fleming`s arms from an acute angle.

In 61 minutes Shields was yellow carded for his stop on Andy Kirk and Willie Gibson put in a great attempt from 20 yards just sending his shot wide left off the post.  Thistle began to play with an element of urgency and the game grew increasingly competitive. In 65 minutes Buchanan put Lovell through in a very suspiciously offside move.  Clear, Lovell shot off the advancing Fleming and Buchanan was forced to shoot into the sidenetting as McGregor closed him down at the left post.

As the game went into its final quarter the travelling support behind the Thistle goal were on their feet to greet Phinn`s shot after Cardle had beaten off challenges on the left side of the penalty box but somehow the 16 yard attempt went wide right.

In 70th minute a free kick from Cairney caused mayhem under the Pars crossbar. As the ball rebounded off the woodwork Buchanan and Lovell were thwarted as Fleming dropped himself on top of the loose ball.  Next minute Ozzie sent CARDLE on a run that took him to a shooting position 25 yards out and a now classic Joe finish bulged the net to put the Fifers 2-0 up.

Fleming did really well to save a Rowson piledriver in 76 minutes but excelled with a fantastic reaction to stop Buchanan`s follow up being blootered home from close range.  With eight minutes remaining the Thistle defence failed to read that Joe CARDLE was on a hattrick and the former Airdrie man was allowed to finish with aplomb.

Next minute Graham fed the ball to substitute Calum WOODS and he tucked the ball under Tuffey to find the left side of the net.  4-0!

Dunfermline continued to press with Tuffey holding a Woods shot but it was BUCHANAN who snatched a consolation in 87 minutes after Fleming could only parry the first effort.

Dunfermline`s first league win since their win at Dumfries at the beginning of December, well warranted and superbly executed.  Joe Cardle will rightly take the credit and the match ball for his hattrick but Greg Fleming kept Thistle out to give his team the platform to go on to an emphatic victory,  Dunfermline`s best away league win since beating Clyde by the same scoreline in March last year.

PARTICK THISTLE: Jonny Tuffey; Paul Paton (Chris Erskine 67), John Robertson, Greg Shields, Ian Maxwell, Alan Archibald (c);, Ryan Conroy (Steve Lovell HT), David Rowson, Paul Cairney, Mark Corcoran, Simon Donnelly (Liam Buchanan 55),
SUBS: Bryn Halliwell,  Martyn Corrigan.
YELLOW CARD: Shields (61), Archibald (89).

DUNFERMLINE: Greg Fleming; Greg Ross, Neil McGregor, Andy Dowie, Austin McCann (c); Willie Gibson (Calum Woods 79), Steven Bell, Nick Phinn, David Graham; Steven McDougall (Joe Cardle HT), Andy Kirk.
SUBS: Alex Burke, Jim McIntyre, Greg Paterson (GK)
SCORER: Cardle (48, 71, 82), Woods (83).

WEATHER: Overcast 4C

NEXT MATCH: (away) Active Nations Scottish Cup v Stenhousemuir
Tuesday 26th January 2010, kick off 7.30pm

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