Ladbrokes Championship: Partick Thistle 2 Dunfermline 2: 06/04/19

For the away day at Firhill, Stevie Crawford was without Joe Thomson, out with a knee injury, and he dropped three players to the bench - Ryan Williamson, James Vincent and Kallum Higginbotham. Into the starting eleven came James Craigen, Ryan Blair, Faissal El Bakhtaoui and seventeen year old Matty Todd for his league starting debut.

Partick Thistle were hoping to see the immediate return they got from their training camp break in Tenerife continue against the Fifers. Still searching for precious points to keep them out of the relegation zone, Thistle went into this match on the back of an impressive 3-0 victory over Morton at Cappielow. Their boss, Gary Caldwell made one change Sean McGinty replacing Christie Elliott.

Dunfermline kicked off attacking the goal at the north end of the stadium. First threat came from the hosts when Scott McDonald fed the ball out to Jack McMillan overlapping down the right but his cross from the byeline was easy meat for keeper Ryan Scully.

McMillan forced a corner on the right three minutes later at which Steven Anderson headed the ball in the net but refreee Kevin Clancy had blown up for an infringement long before that.

Jackson Longridge won a ninth minute corner that Blair lobbed high into the box and although Lee Ashcroft rose to meet it Thistle got the ball away. Louis Longridge regained possession on the left and picked out Tom BEADLING in the left side of the box. He took a touch before burying his shot in the bottom right. 0-1

Ten minutes passed with Thistle efforts to get balls into the Pars thwarted and the next danger came when L Longridge hit a good ball into the Thistle box that Bruce Anderson, 15 yards out, belted into the back of McGinty. El Bakhtaoui then picked out L Longridge on the left and though he made ground it was never going to be a case of being able to twist and turn all the way to goal.

A second Pars goal followed in 24 minutes from a corner on the right after El Bakhtaoui ‘s shot had been turned into the sidenetting. L Longridge took the setpiece and ANDERSON timed his run to meet the low cross and steered the ball in at the far post. 0-2

J Longridge headed away a Thistle free kick delivered into the Pars box and Ashcroft met Anderson’s return. Then a ball to the far post from Penrice was headed along the crossbar by McMillan. The warnings were there and Thistle got a goal back in 31 minutes. Penrice passed to Scott McDonald on the left side of the penalty box and his firm strike along the six yard line cut out the keeper only for Ryan BLAIR tracking back to turn the ball into his own net. 1-2

Scully was quick to react when only moments after Thistle scored, Blair Spittal was through on goal but the keeper stood up and stopped the on target shot. The home fans had been quiet and rather dejected by going two behind but they were now encouraging their team on.

In 39 minutes Conor Hazard dropped to his right to hold an El Bakhtaoui attempt from 30 yards. At the other end Kris Doolan had his effort deflected behind off Danny Devine and Spittal’s corner was headed wide by Anderson.

A patient build up from Partick eventually saw McDonald hit a decent 44th minute shot from 20 yards that ran out wide left. First half stats showed 57% Dunfermline possession and four shots on target. Slightly bizarrely given the score line, Thistle had no shots on target.

Half time: Partick Thistle 1 Dunfermline 2

Half time substitute for the Jags was Joe Cardle coming on to replace one loan Livingston player, Jack McMillan. The Pars forced just their second corner of the match in 47th minute but Devine headed his effort from it wide. Blair got another opportunity to send in a dangerous ball from another corner soon after and on this occasion Ashcroft got his head on it, he was closer but the ball went narrowly wide right.

Partick had two chances in 51 minutes. First Scully could not hold a Penrice cross and Blair mopped up the loose ball and then Penrice was able to crash in a shot that cleared the crossbar. Next minute Ashcroft was yellow carded for blocking Cardle deep down the right and when Spittal sent the ball to the far post it looked too big but McGinty got his head to it and Scully had to save low down at his right hand post.

Ryan Williamson was then introduced in place of Matty Todd before a Blair left footed shot from outside the box was saved by Doohan in the top right corner. Dunfermline had another two corners from the right that created danger but sadly no goals. At the other end J Longridge put in a telling tackle to halt the run of Penrice.

El Bakhtaoui used his place to brush off defenders and release a shot from just inside the Partick box but it has just too high. The Fifers survived home appeals for a penalty after good work from McDonald set up Penrice. The 20 year old ended up on the deck but the decision was play on.

Thistle continued to turn up the pressure, Spittal in particular causing trouble on the right and in 69 minutes Scully did well to beat away a close range attempt from McDonald. There was some no messing clearances to relieve the increasing heat on to the defence. Both Williamson and Beadling dropped back to assist counter the offensive but it was beginning to look as though Dunfermline might need another goal.

Play halted in 74 minutes for treatment to Thistle defender Steven Saunders and his replacement was 18 year old Aidan Fitzpatrick. Thistle grabbed an equaliser in 77 minutes when sub Miles Storey’s pass to pick out McDONALD was deflected off the chest of Craigen over Devine and on for the striker to net. 2-2

In 84 minutes a powerful 25 yard effort from Spittal spun over the Pars crossbar off Devine and the Fifers had to defend another corner. Three minutes later a poor clearance from Scully went straight to Doolan on the right edge of the box, happily the keeper was able to hold the striker’s effort. Next minute with the home fans rising to their feet to welcome a winner, Scully made a remarkable save to stop a low angled drilled attempt from Spittal.

This was not the stuff for the feint hearted. Spittal pumped an 90th minute free kick into the Pars box and that was cleared. Then another free kick from the left was eventually headed out by J Longridge before a long throw into the box from Doolan ended with a foul against the home side.

The last chance for a winner came for Dunfermline in the forth minute of added time. A Blair free kick from just inside the Thistle half evaded the defence and was tipped on by Hippolyte but Doohan held. It had been a hard earned away point but one much appreciated by the 454 travelling supporters.

PARTICK THISTLE: Conor Hazard: Jack McMillan (Joe Cardle HT), Steven Anderson, Steven Saunders (Aidan Fitzpatrick 75), James Penrice, Sean McGinty, Blair Spittal, Stuart Bannigan (c), Shea Gordon (Miles Storey 70), Kris Doolan, Scott McDonald.
SUBS NOT USED: Craig Slater, Lewis Mansell, Gary Harkins, Jamie Sneddon (GK).
SCORERS: Blair (31 og), McDonald (77)
YELLOW CARD: Anderson (55)

DUNFERMLINE: Ryan Scully: James Craigen, Lee Ashcroft (c), Danny Devine, Jackson Longridge: Tom Beadling: Matthew Todd (Ryan Williamson 56), Ryan Blair, Louis Longridge: Faissal El Bakhtaoui (Myles Hippolyte 83), Bruce Anderson (Lewis McCann 86).
SUBS NOT USED: Mark Durnan, James Vincent, Kallum Higginbotham, Cammy Gill (GK)
SCORERS: Beadling (10), Anderson 24)
YELLOW CARD: Craigen (11), Ashcroft (52), L Longridge (67)

REFEREE: Kevin Clancy

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship (away) v Ross County, Tuesday 9th April 2019, kick off 7.45pm at the Global Energy Stadium, Dingwall
Half time draw: first prize ticket no. 85680