SFL Div One: PARTICK THISTLE 5 DUNFERMLINE 1
The Pars met the Jags on a fine November afternoon in what was billed as Scotland's match of the day. Could Dunfermline reap revenge on Jackie McNamara's team for the sole defeat in their first ten league games?
Both teams made three changes from the line ups that met first time around. In the sole change to the starting line up against Cowdenbeath, Nineteen year old Chris Kane started for the first time and a possibly less than 100% fit Joe Cardle was on the bench. For Partick Thistle Steven Craig dropped out through suspension and Alan Archibald came into an otherwise unchanged eleven from the one that knocked Cove Rangers out of the William Hill Scottish Cup the previous Saturday.
After a one minute silence and undeterred by the pouring rain, the teams were roared into action by both sets of fans Thistle kicked off and forced a corner within 25 seconds. When that came over from the right the Pars defence struggled to clear the ball to the far post and Aaron Sinclair looked as though he must score from just six yards but heroically Jordan McMillan blocked the shot at the left post and Gallacher pounced on to the loose ball.
The Jags kept up the pressure with stand in left back Kane forced into conceding a free kick on the left edge of his box. Fortunately that was blasted over the bar by Ross Forbes but with just under four minutes gone Thistle did then find the net to open the scoring. The break came down the right with Chris Erskine releasing Stephen O'Donnell into the right side of the Pars box and his cross was turned in at the far post by Stevie LAWLESS. 1-0
In 13th minute Callum Morris made a great tackle, taking out Erskine in the process but the ball fell nicely for Forbes and Gallacher pulled off a great save to turn the ball over his crossbar. Thankfully the corner, again hit by Forbes from the right to the far post, was dealt with.
Dunfermline began to see some possession but the home defence remained firm and play was all in the middle of the park until in 19 minutes McMillan turned on a Morris pass into the path of Andy Barrowman who tested keeper Scott Fox with a low shot from 18 yards.
Then two minutes later Ryan Thomson got very close to an equaliser when Stephen Husband's free kick was headed down by Barrowman but somehow the keeper got to the ball first. Two poor clearances from Fox, one after the other led to a free kick after Alan Archibald had chopped down Josh Falkingham. After a lengthy discussion between referee Calum Murray and the Thistle veteran, Ryan Wallace pumped the free kick to the far post and under pressure from Barrowman Alan MUIRHEAD put the ball into his own net. 1-1
Thistle came back at the Fifers and Doolan shot off target and then McMillan and Gallacher had two takes at a defensive mistake. Wallace smashed a great ball across the front of goal but just in front of Barrowman and then the game really caught fire. Geggan and then Barrowman got involved with Archibald. Then Geggan became the first yellow card offender of the afternoon.
The free kick earned a corner and from that on 34 minutes Conrad BALATONI rose to head home and the Pars were behind again. Worse was to follow within five minutes when a break had the Pars defence floundering and it was Stephen O'DONNELL who lifted the ball over a helpless Gallacher for the third Thistle goal. 3-1.
Falkingham required treatment from physio Kenny Murray but he was quickly up and on the park again to thread a dangerous ball into the Thistle box but alas his strikers had not anticipated it. Right from the kick off Dunfermline had struggled with their hosts pace with the defence getting caught out on too many occasions. Could the Pars come back from a two goal deficit yet again?
Half time: Partick Thistle 3 Dunfermline 1
At the start of the second half Chris Kane was replaced by Andy Kirk. The experimental left back had clearly not worked out so Jordan McMillan switched to there and Andy Geggan went to right back. First chance of the half fell to Thomson but he hit his shot straight at Fox. Husband then got a shot in as well but was blocked by a defender.
A 53rd minute Thistle corner could have been better defended but the Pars survived. They had little chance three minutes later when FORBES struck an unstoppable shot from 30 yards that simply flew into the Pars net.
The first Thistle sub of the game came in 70 minutes when Scott Fox appeared to be struggling with a thigh injury. Replacement keeper Ryan Scully came on between the sticks but was not really to be tested. Barrowman crashed an effort over the bar in 73 minutes but two minutes later Thistle scored a fifth from a corner from the left. The ball was defended out to LAWLESS on the edge of the area and he sunk another nail into the Pars box.
The travelling support left in their droves missing Kirk get two bites at a chance in 84 minutes but it was typical of their day that the final effort went over the crossbar.
The win for Thistle lifted them over the Pars into the top slot but on this showing they will not be easy to overtake. Dunfermline's worst First Division defeat since losing 5-0 to Hamilton in 2007.
PARTICK THISTLE:: Scott Fox (Ryan Scully 70), Stephen O'Donnell (Chris Elliott 85), Alan Archibald, Aaron Sinclair, Paul Paton, Aaron Muirhead, Conrad Balatoni,Steve Lawless, Kris Doolan ((Mark McGuigan 78), Ross Forbes Chris Erskine.
SUBS NOT USED:Hugh Murray, David Rowson.
SCORER: Lawless (4, 75), Balatoni (34), O'Donnell (39), Forbes (56)
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher, Jordan McMillan (c), Andy Dowie, Callum Morris, Chris Kane (Andy Kirk HT); Josh Falkingham, Stephen Husband (Alex Whittle 78), Andy Geggan, Ryan Thomson; Andy Barrowman, Ryan Wallace (Joe Cardle 62).
SUBS NOT USED: John Potter, Michal Hrivnak (GK)
SCORER: Muirhead (24 og)
YELLOW CARD: Geggan (33), Husband (59), Thomson (79). Cardle (84).
REFEREE: Calum Murray
NEXT MATCH: Irn Bru First Division (away) v Raith Rovers
Saturday 17th November, kick off 3.00pm
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Ladbrokes Championship: v Morton , Saturday 11th November 2017, kick off 3.00pm