SFL v Partick Thistle


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 2720, Kick Off: 3.00pm.

Referee: Alan Muir

Manager Jim McIntyre was pleased to sign Thistle striker, Liam Buchanan for Dunfermline and ironically the new man was taken back to Firhill to make his Pars debut. Dunfermline made three changes from the side that started against the Scottish Cup tie ten days before.  Andy Dowie, Nick Phinn and Liam Buchanan coming in for Neil McGregor, Ryan Thomson and Steven McDougall. Thistle`s only change was Iain Flannigan in place of the departed Buchanan.

The Firhill surface was multicoloured, not quite a ploughed field but certainly showing signs of considerable ware from both Warriors and Jags playing on it. Thistle kicked off attacking the goal in front of the travelling support. In four minutes Buchanan slipped the ball left for David Graham to carry the ball into the Partick penalty box but Scott Fox timed his dive to take the ball away neatly.

Thistle`s first ball into the Pars box on six minutes was easy meat for Chris Smith and he immediately sent Graham away up the left with a long throw out.  Unfortunately the left winger took it too far and was robbed of possession when two Thistle men closed in on him near their corner flag.

In 14 minutes the visiting defence allowed the ball through for Chris ERSKINE to take into the penalty box and smash the ball past Smith. There were fierce complaints from the Pars keeper and defenders for offside and referee Alan Muir had words with Alex Keddie as the Firhill crowd celebrated Erskine`s third goal of the season.

Smith was out well five minutes later when a long ball from Paul Paton had Erskine chasing a second. Fox held from Graham in 21 minutes even though the offside flag was up but at least the header from Kirk to Buchanan on to Graham looked promising. Wullie Gibson was lucky to escape a caution after chopping down David Rowson in 26 minutes but having been under a bit of early pressure the Pars worked their way forward forcing a corner on the left but that, and the subsequent return by Gibson, were not to endanger Fox`s net.

Woods` long distance effort in 31 minutes was the first real Pars attempt on the Thistle goal but the ball soared over the crossbar. Smith held a Kris Doolan shot from 25 yards, diving to his left to hold on a surface that could easily deceive. On 36 minutes Buchanan was fouled by Alan Archibald 25 yards out and Gibson powered the setpiece on target but Fox held first time and just as well since Kirk was waiting for the parry.  Woods drove another shot high over the target before he forced another corner in 41 minutes.

Keddie`s backwards header flicked the ball from the corner into the hands of Fox and the defence was barely back when Iain Flannigan sped in from the right. He released a fierce shot that Smith could only parry and DOOLAN followed up to slot home from 10 yards. It was a crual one to lose so close to the interval and left the Fifers with quite a task in the second 45.

Half Time: Partick Thistle 2 Dunfermline 0

Mama Cass` It`s getting better everyday was the choice of half time entertainment but that all depends from which side you are looking from. Certainly for Jim McIntyre`s side, after a somewhat nebulous first half,  it was time to get on song. Ryan Thomson replaced Phinn as Buchanan and Kirk got things underway but it was Smith who had the first save in 65 seconds when Flannigan got in on the right.

In 47 minutes the home support applauded an even better effort from Flannigan that Smith had to get down at his left hand post to stop. Paton cut out a good ball from Buchanan to Graham.  Gibson cut the ball back for Woods but he sent the ball high and on to the roof of the net.

A 55th minute Gibson corner was defended and when Kirk gathered a weak clearance Gibson`s long shot went straight to keeper Fox. Four minutes later the ball travelled nicely to Gibson on the right side of the Thistle box but his cracker of a shot bent outside the right post.

Steven McDougall replaced Buchanan on the hour with the home support giving an unexpectantly loud applause for an away substitution.  Graham was pushed forward and it was his quick throw in to McDougall that was whipped across goal for Kirk. Unluckily Fox intercepted what would have been a great goalscoring opportunity.

A 66th minute corner from the right had Dowie and Graham in a heap as yet again Fox came to the rescue. Pat Clarke came on for David Graham three minutes later and his header on a McDougall flick almost let the Pars get a goal back. Thomson connected well but his effort from the right just slipped wide left.

Dunfermline piled on the pressure and the ball got trapped in the Thistle box for periods without a clear cut chance dropping to a Pars player. Gibson got closed out twice as the home defences continued to look pretty solid even though the Jag supporters were shaking their watches as the second half for them seemed to drag out.

Gibson was tripped by Paddy Boyle on the edge of the box and his low driven cross was turned behind for a corner. Smith was a lonely figure in his own half but still the route through the Thistle goal remained elusive.

Chris Smith took a 88th minute free kick on the half way line and with everyone up the ball was returned out of the Thistle box to Mason but his well hit shot was brilliantly saved by Fox. "Foxy, Foxy" and the locals went into full song.  No wonder their side were just about to celebrate their ninth game without defeat.

PARTICK THISTLE:: Scott Fox; Alan Archibald (c), Paddy Boyle, Willie Kinniburgh, Paul Cairney, David Rowson, Brian Hodge, Paul Paton, Chris Erskine (Jamie Campbell 90), Kris Doolan (Shaun Fraser 87), Iain Flannigan (Martin Grehan 71) .
SUBS NOT USED: Bryn Halliwell, John Robertson.
SCORER: Erskine (14), Doolan (42)

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith, Calum Woods, Andy Dowie, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); Wullie Gibson, Nick Phinn (Ryan Thomson HT), Gary Mason, David Graham (Pat Clarke, 69); Andy Kirk, Liam Buchanan (Steven McDougall 60).
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Higgins, Kyle Allison
YELLOW CARD: McDougall (64)


NEXT MATCH: (away) Scottish Cup Fifth Round v Aberdeen
Sunday 6th February 2011, kick off 3:00pm

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