SFL v Partick Thistle


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 2188, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Bobby Madden

Top of the table versus bottom as Dunfermline take on Partick Thistle. Wullie Gibson, Nick Phinn and Alex Burke dropped out of the team that faced Rangers on Tuesday night.  Pat Clarke, Nick Phinn and Paul Willis replaced them.  No Alan Archibald or Bryan Hodge for Thistle as Simon Donnelly and John Robertson come in to start; their only two changes from the side that Ian McCall said was in `total control` for 75 minutes against Queen of the South the previous Saturday.

Dunfermline wore the 2010-11 season`s away kit for the first time and conceded a corner within 15 seconds. Austin McCann sent Iain Flannigan`s cross behind so the Thistle no.7 switched to the right side for another. The Pars defended that but were pegged back after Mason foul handed the home side a free kick that they floated into the Pars box but Liam Buchanan launched that well over the crossbar.

Thistle kept the Fifers under the cosh and came close with two chances within the ninth minute. Firstly Donnelly headed a long ball into the path of Buchanan and he evaded the defensive challenges before Smith did enough to concede just a corner and not a goal.  From the corner on the left McCann yet again was forced to head behind as two Thistle players challenged him for the ball at the left post.

In 13 minutes Dunfermline had their first chance as the home defence made a mess of clearing their box. Eventually the ball dropped in front of Andy Kirk; he hit the ball well enough but his shot was blocked out. This heralded a five minute spell where Dunfermline got their passing game going. 

Thistle came back heading wide at Flannigan`s sixth corner of the game before a Cardle free kick was overstruck and then a Woods cross was headed behind by Paul Paton for the Pars first corner of the game in 23 minutes. Kirk came close with a header at the far post but Hallwell beat that away and only a corner was won.

In 29 minutes CLARKE latched on to the ball as it broke to him midway inside the Thistle half, he drove forwarded before releasing a tremendous shot that sailed past Halliwell from 25 yards out. The ball came to the goalscorer after Jackie McNamara had failed to control the ball going forward allowing Mason to hook the ball ahead for his number 9 to take full advantage.

Cardle was on the right four minutes later to win a corner but when he took the setpiece the ball went straight to Halliwell. Dunfermline took the lift from the goal and their opponents lost the drive that they had started with.  Their passes were incomplete and often they were being caught in possession.  For most of the final 15 minutes of the first half the Pars played the match in the Thistle half but the route through the home defence was well manned.

Just before the interval Flannigan sent a screamer over the Pars crossbar but the score was to remain in favour of the visitors when Referee Bobby Madden ended the first 45.

Half time: Partick Thistle 0 Dunfermline 1

The Jags immediately tok the game to Dunfermline on the restart with Smith holding a Kris Doolan cross but it was Clarke who was most unlucky when we intercepted a back pass but couldn`t keep the ball in play after beating the keeper.  Willis and Cardle had the ball flying back and forward across the face of Halliwell`s goal as the home support grew increasingly frustrated.

Patrick Boyle was forward to accept a 56 minute chance but his fiercely struck drive was parried down and gathered by Chris Smith. Two minutes later Steven Bell was caught in a challenge from Parick sub Bryan Hodge, and he received treatment from physio Gerry Docherty. He was fit to return as Dunfermline pushed play forward.  Willis and Clarke combined to put Mason in on the right of the Partick box but he was blocked before at the other end Doolan fortunately couldn`t get on the end of a Boyle flick on.

The Jags had corners and free kicks but nothing really to test Smith although his defence was kept busy. That amounted to six strung across the back as the match entered its final quarter.

Steven McDougall came on for Pat Clarke in 70 minutes and within 20 seconds the sub made a significant impact.  He was on the ball immediately, was dispossessed only for Cardle to retrieve it and send McDougall in on the left side of the Thistle box. The sub`s volley hit off the left post back into the path of KIRK and the ball ricocheted off his knee into the net for 2-0. The Pars fans were in good voice (and bounce).

In 83 minutes Kirk`s challenge on Hodge handed Thistle a free kick 25 yards out, it was well hit by Boyle but Smith made it look easy with a straight forward punch that cleared the ball. Paul Willis was subbed by Nick Phinn with three minutes to go but nothing else worthy of note was to happen. The Thistle supporter`s cry of `come on ref that`s enough` summed it up from a Jags point of view.  It ended as it started Pars top, Thistle bottom  but this was a good win away from home.  Next stop Dumfries where it might not be as easy.

PARTICK THISTLE:: Bryn Halliwell; Paul Paton, John Robertson, Jackie McNamara,  Willie Kinniburgh, Patrick Boyle; David Rowson (Bryan Hodge 52), Iain Flannigan, Kris Doohlan; Simon Donnelly (Martin Grehan 82), Liam Buchanan (Chris Erskine 77).,
SUBS NOT USED: Conrad Balatoni, Craig Hinchcliffe (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Buchanan (77)

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Andy Dowie, Chris Higgins, Austin McCann (c); Paul Willis (Nick Phinn 87), Steven Bell,  Gary Mason, Joe Cardle; Andy Kirk, Pat Clarke (Steven McDougall 70),
SUBS NOT USED: Alex Keddie, Alex Burke, Kyle Allison (GK)
SCORER: Clarke (29), Kirk (70)
YELLOW CARD: Willis (81)

WEATHER: Sunny 15C

NEXT MATCH: (away) First Division v Queen of the South
Saturday 2nd October 2010, kick off 3.00pm

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