SFL v Partick Thistle


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division

Attendance: 3019, Kick Off: 3:00pm.

Referee: Charlie Richmond

After a draw, a win and a defeat against Thistle this season, the fourth meeting was not one that was going to separate the teams.  Jim McIntyre had Gary Mason back for this game meaning Andy Dowie dropped to the bench.  Beside him 18 year old John MacDonald made his first appearance on the subs` bench. Partick Thistle manager Ian McCall also made one change from his midweek eleven, Ryan McGowan coming in to replace Jackie McNamara.

The Pars kicked off attacking the goal at the Cowdenbeath end and after 90 seconds David Graham`s cross from the right had the visitors defence in turmoil and there were appeals for hand ball as a one Thistle player played it on another.  Then in four minutes Martin Hardie was presented with the first chance of the afternoon from a Calum Woods cross from the right byeline.  Advancing into the six yard box the former Thistle man rose to power a header at goal but the ball slipped narrowly over the bar.

On eight minutes Martin Grehan and Kris Doolan combined inside the Pars box to lay off a chance for Chris Erskine but fortunately his blast was rising all the way and Chris Smith just waved at it as it soared into the McCathie Stand.  Four minutes later a long throw from the right could not be properly cleared and Doolan was able to drive a shot from 15 yards that fortunately was always going wide right.

Two minutes later the woodwork saved Dunfermline after Paddy Boyle got to the byeline and cut back for Doolan to meet with a header.  It soared past Smith but the crossbar kept Thistle out.  The Pars reacted pushing players up and McDougall and McCann got in crosses that were cleared.

Neat interchanges on the left from Mason to McDougall and McCann led to another ball into the box that Scott Fox, the orange shirted Thistle keeper held.  The midway point in the first half arrived with the Pars still in control but lacking the type of final ball that was going to make the difference. Liam Buchanan was caught offside before at the other end Erskine had another on target shot blocked out by Woods.

In 29th minute Fox pulled off a fine save to deny Buchanan after he had received a good ball in from Graham on the right, taken a touch and fired a strong shot to the keeper`s left but he got enough on it to turn it around his post for a corner.  McDougall sent the corner in from the right but Rutkiewicz turned the shot over the crossbar. The Jags reminded everyone of their presence with a Doolan shot from 22 yards that Smith took diving full stretch to his left.

Dunfermline showed great patience in building up play but their opponents were lying deep and making it tough for them and the only shot from Graham 20 yards out went straight to Fox.  Ten minutes from the break McDougall popped up on the right and he worked himself an opportunity from just outside the box but whacked his shot over the top.

A 42nd minute Thistle corner created little danger and keeper Smith was nearer the half way line than his goal line as he pumped in a free kick for Dunfermline but the front men were just getting no joy. On 45 Buchanan forced a corner on the right, McDougall hit that in but Keddie`s header flew over the bar.

Half Time: Dunfermline 0 Partick Thistle 0

Simon Donnelly came on for Thistle taking the place of Martin Grehan for the second half.  First attempt of the second period was from Woods and that was deflected for a corner on the left.  McDougall sent that in only to see the ball headed back out to him.  He overstruck his return and it was Hardie who centred and Graham and Fox clashed leaving the Pars winger on the deck as Buchanan netted.  Charlie Richmond deemed it a foul on the keeper and Thistle survived their 49th minute scare.

Keddie headed away a John Robertson cross and then Burkey`s heel blocked a shot from the same opponent. At the other end McCann crossed from the left and the ball travelled over Fox to Hardie but his header looped over the bar. That roused the Pars fans and they broke into song but soon Burke was blocking a Flannigan drive and then Rutkiewicz cut out a ball into the box from the left.

Keddie won the battle as he and Doolan chased back into the Pars box while on the hour McDougall`s dipping shot from the right bounced narrowly wide of the far post.  Fox was out of his box to shut out Buchanan as he ran on to a long ball from Keddie and then McDougall`s long distance shot at the open goal was headed away by Alan Archibald.

Burke sent an Erskine cross behind for a corner but Dunfermline had a good counterattack with Mason racing up the left but Buchanan was caught offside with the midfielder`s pass. Pat Clarke replaced David Graham in 66 minutes and Buchanan forced another corner on the left. East End Park turned up the decibels but Hardie`s header on a McCann delivery went straight to Fox.

Fox won the race with Clarke for Hardie`s through ball while at the other end Donnelly touched the ball for Doolan to shoot but the ball went straight to Smith. The Pars defence looked a little ragged in 77 minutes when Donnelly failed to get in a shot and his lay off to sub Jamie Campbell was hit wide right. Two Thistle corners kept play down in front of Smith and even when the ball went all the way back to Fox the ball was lobbed forward and Keddie was yellow carded as he prevented the Thistle attack 25 yards out.

Donnelly took the 80th minute free kick but hit that into the four man wall. McGowan made McCann block and earn Thistle an 83rd minute corner but thankfully that was headed wide left. Dunfermline failed to get near enough Fox to cause him any real problems.  Smith was in the centre circle to send a free kick in but that was to make no difference and it ended without either side scoring.

The point took Dunfermline to within one point of the league leaders since Falkirk`s 2-1 win over the Rovers proved there is an ubiquitous God but unfortunately not all the Pars prayers were answered.  Falkirk have three games in hand but three of these are against this stuffy Thistle team.

DUNFERMLINE: Chris Smith; Calum Woods, Kevin Rutkiewicz, Alex Keddie, Austin McCann (c); Alex Burke; Martin Hardie, Gary Mason; David Graham (Pat Clarke 66), Liam Buchanan, Steven McDougall.
SUBS NOT USED: Chris Higgins, Andy Dowie, John MacDonald, Greg Paterson (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Keddie (80)

PARTICK THISTLE: Scott Fox; John Robertson, Alan Archibald, Conrad Balatoni, Patrick Boyle; Iain Flannigan, Ryan McGowan; David Rowson, Chris Erskine (Jamie Campbell 70); Martin Grehan (Simon Donnelly HT), Kris Doohan
SUBS NOT USED: Thomas Stewart, Willie Kinniburgh, Ryan Scully (GK)


NEXT MATCH: (away) SFL First Division v Ross County
Tuesday 29th March 2011, kick 7.45pm

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