Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 3 Partick Thistle 0: 26/02/19

With 25 points from 25 games, Partick Thistle arrived at East End Park looking for points to take them off the foot of the table. Following two wins Dunfermline we’re seeking for another three points to close the gap on fourth placed Inverness Caley Thistle five points above them in fourth.

Stevie Crawford made two changes to the side that started at Somerset Park on Saturday, Kallum Higginbotham and Louis Longridge coming in for James Vincent and Aidan Connolly. For Thistle Gary Caldwell brought in Scott McDonald and Steven Saunders for Aidan Fitzpatrick and Stuart Bannigan.

McDonald got the match underway with the opposition attacking the goal in front of the McCathie Stand. Craig Slater got in an early cross but too high for Blair Spittal. Dunfermline then took the game to Thistle, Bruce Anderson forcing Jack McMillan into conceding a corner on the left but Ryan Blair was too heavy with his delivery. Higginbotham then fired a ball across the box before a mix up between Lee Ashcroft and Tom Beadling led to a 11th minute Thistle corner that they failed to capitalise on.

Next minute a slip up by Ryan Williamson allowed James Penrice a free shot at goal from 15 yards out and fortunately Ryan Scully stopped the powerful effort.

Dunfermline threatened on the break. Higginbotham ran on to Thomson’s pass and cut the ball inside for Longridge. In turn he swiftly switched the ball right for Williamson and Anderson received the cross eight yards out but just could not turn and shoot.

There was a speculative shot from distance in 19th minute by James Craigen and he was only just off target.

In 25 minutes Dunfermline broke again this time as a result of a timely Blair interception. He sent Higginbotham away and he picked out Longridge 20 yards out on the left side but despite a twist and a turn he couldn’t get in a shot either.

Partick continued towards the Pars goal with both McMillan and Saunders pushing up. A corner from the right was overhit and wasted. Neither side was really bossing the match not helped by some wayward passing by both.

At last ten minutes before the break some lovely controlled Pars play saw the ball eventually threaded through by Longridge to Anderson and the on loan Don sent a low shot tantalisingly outside the left goalpost.

The half came to an end with nothing more to note. Thistle had had the better chances most through mistakes made by the Fifers. Must do better in the second half.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Partick Thistle 0

Higginbotham won a corner after only 80 seconds of the restart and when Blair sent that in from the right Devine got the knock down and Bruce ANDERSON stabbed the ball home from inside the six yard box. His second goal for Dunfermline after just one minute 45 of the second half. 1-0

Thistle responded forcing two corners, the first from the left headed behind by Devine the second from the right cleared on to Christie Elliott and behind for a goal kick. Aidan Fitzpatrick was the first substitute of the night, replacing Steven Saunders.

Blair conceded a 59th minute corner but when Slater sent that over from the right it was cleared out as far as Harkins but his up and under dropped behind for a goal kick. Another corner followed soon thereafter and although Blair cleated it was not until Spittal nearly got away a shot.

Back at the other end and Higginbotham put over an inviting ball from the right but Anderson could not get enough on his header to trouble keeper Conor Hazard. Then on 65 minutes a touch from Higginbotham sent Anderson into the box. Elliott put in the tackle, Anderson went down but the referee Greg Aitken claimed the defender got the ball so play on.

Partick made their final two substitutions in 66th minute introducing Lewis Mansell and Soulemayne Coulibaly for the strike force of Doolan and McDonald. The men from Maryhill certainly began to show a bit more mettle but Dunfermline were desperately unlucky with a 74th minute breakaway when Thomson’s shot from an acute angle on the right was deflected behind for a corner.

They need not have worried however since when Blair found DEVINE his header soared into the visitors’ net. 2-0

As the clock ran down Thomson tried to send Williamson away down the right but his pass was too close to an opponent. Then with six minutes remaining in replacing Kallum Higginbotham, seventeen year old, Matt Todd came on for his home and league debut.

Almost immediately the Pars increased their lead when a fine link up by Connolly and Craigen let the latter in for a cut back from the left. That was touched on by Todd towards ANDERSON for a relatively easy finish at the far post. 3-0

The contest was over and the three points secured. Dunfermline closed the gap on Inverness to just two points courtesy of a 1-0 Dundee United win.

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: Ryan Williamson, Lee Ashcroft (c), Danny Devine, James Craigen: Kallum Higginbotham (Matthew Todd 84), Tom Beadling: Joe Thomson, Ryan Blair: Louis Longridge (Aidan Connolly 75), Bruce Anderson (Robbie Muirhead 90+1)
SUBS NOT USED: Mark Durnan, Stuart Morrison, Callum Smith, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Anderson (47, 86), Devine (74)
YELLOW CARD: Ashcroft (56), Beadling (63)

PARTICK THISTLE: Conor Hazard: Steven Anderson, Jack McMillan, Steven Saunders (Aidan Fitzpatrick 56): Christie Elliott, Craig Slater, Blair Spittal (c), Gary Harkins, James Penrice: Scott McDonald (Lewis Mansell 66), Kris Doolan (Soulemayne Coulibaly 66)
SUBS NOT USED: Ally Roy, Sean McGinty, Shea Gordon, Jamie Sneddon (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Harkins (82), Slater (88)

REFEREE: Greg Aitken

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (home) v Queen of the South, Saturday 2nd March 2019, 3.00pm kick off at East End Park