SFL Div One: DUNFERMLINE 0 PARTICK THISTLE 4 : Date: 02/03/13
Jim Jefferies intended to go with the same starting eleven as faced Morton the previous Saturday but he had Andy Kirk back on the bench. In the warm up however Andy Barrowman pulled up and Kirkie after only getting back into training on Friday found himself starting. Nineteen year old striker Allan Smith was allowed to fill Andy Kirk's seat on the bench. Hugh Murray was out suspended so Thistle showed one change in the eleven that took the field on Tuesday night in the Cowdenbeath fog. Ross Forbes came into Alan Archibald's starting eleven.
Pre match the voice of Stuart Adamson sang out "Come on and Save Me, I want to know if you are the one to change me." There was little doubt that the sadly deceased Pars fan's words reflected the feelings all around East End Park. After Thursday's disappointing news over the state of salaries payments, the Pars players were given a big ovation as they took the field.
The visitors started strongly with Steven Lawless forcing Paul Gallacher to turn the ball around his left hand post. When the corner came in from the right Steven CRAIG found himself in the centre of a crowded six yard box and he poked the loose ball into the net. Four minutes on the clock, 0-1.
The Pars seemed to get over their early setback and Joe Cardle tried to carve out a route on the left side of the Thistle box and there was a period of good Pars possession until Ross FORBES struck a strong left footed shot from 30 yards out that beat Gallacher at his left hand post. 0-2
Seven minutes later things got worse when Stuart Bannigan slipped the ball through for CRAIG on the edge of the box and finished clinically beating Gallacher to his left. 0-3 and the first ever senior hattrick for the Partick striker.
Andy Kirk had a shot blocked and then another by Aaron Muirhead on 26 minutes. Ryan Wallace delivered a fine corner in from the right and Ryan Thomson tested Scott Fox with a powerful downward header. Thistle kept the Pars out although they conceded another two corners before they could breath more easily.
In 33rd minute Aaron Sinclair made a surging run out of defence and sent Erskine wide left. When he crossed from the byeline Gallacher saved as the ball broke off Callum Morris but CRAIG was at the right goalpost to prod the ball home. 0-4 and the first ever senior hattrick for the Partick striker.
There was the extremely unusual sight of the fans of a team 4-0 down being giving a standing ovation as they left the field at the break. Manager Jim Jefferies would be angry at the lack of motivation from some of his players but the Pars were victims of a good lesson in taking your chances.
HT: Dunfermline 0 Partick Thistle 4
Thistle got the second half underway after Stephen Husband took the place of Andy Kirk. An ankle injury to Bannigan halted play in 47 minutes and Partick too had to field a sub, James Craigen came on.
In 52 minutes McMillan dispossessed Steven Lawless and after gaining a few yards released a fierce shot on target that was deflected behind. The corner failed to change things but in 55 minutes a good Husband cross was chested behind by O'Donnell for another corner. Husband had a fine shot from 28 yards but that slipped wide right.
Joe Cardle was then replaced by Allan Smith who made his debut with 30 minutes to go. Dunfermline pushed forward with Morris on a run but his final ball towards Smith was intercepted. Ross Millen was also introduced as Craig Dargo was withdrawn. There was some neat play from the Pars and McMillan was really unlucky with a squared ball after receiving Husband's accurate pass.
Dunfermline were stroking the ball about the Thistle half when Wallace had the feet taken away from him but when he fired in the 28 yards free kick keeper Fox had a reasonably easy take. Second half consolation was that the scoreline did not get any worse.
The defeat was the Pars fifth successive at home where they have registered only one victory since 24th November. Thistle have taken nine points out of nine off Dunfermline and now narrow the gap on league leaders Morton to two points with a game in hand. The Pars drop to fourth as Livingston leapfrog them.
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Andy Geggan, Andy Dowie, Callum Morris, Jordan McMillan (c); Chris Kane, Ryan Thomson, Joe Cardle (Allan Smith 61); Craig Dargo (Ross Millen 70), Andy Kirk (Stephen Husband HT), Ryan Wallace.
SUBS NOT USED: John Potter, Michael Hrivnak (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Husband (64), Kane (73)
PARTICK THISTLE: Scott Fox; Stephen O'Donnell, Aaron Sinclair, Ross Forbes, Aaron Muirhead, Conrad Balatoni, Sean Welsh, Stuart Bannigan (James Craigen 49), Steven Craig (Kris Doolan 54), Steven Lawless (Mark McGuigan 78), Chris Erskine.
SUBS NOT USED: Alan Archibald, Glenn Daniels (GK),
SCORERS: Craig (4, 22, 33), Forbes (15)
YELLOW CARD: Erskine (61)
REFEREE: Bobby Madden
WEATHER: Sunny 12C
50/50 HALF TIME DRAW: Winning number 31645. The prize £603.00.
The second prize of a DAFC £20.00 gift voucher - ticket 32223.
NEXT MATCH: (away) Scottish First Division v Airdrie United
Saturday 9th March 2014, Kick off 3.00pm
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Ladbrokes Championship: v Dundee United, Saturday 30th September 2017, kick off 3.00pm