Ladbrokes Championship: Partick Thistle 0 Dunfermline 3: 21/09/19
For the second week running the Pars face Thistle but this time it was the Partick one and it would be tenth placed Fifers against ninth placed Jags. Following a run of poor league performances and results, the Firhill board took a unanimous decision in midweek to terminate the contracts of manager Gary Caldwell and his assistant Brian Kerr.
The interim management of Gerry Britton, Scott Allison and Kenny Miller made two changes for Thistle, Cammy Palmer and Tommy Robson dropped to the bench as Stuart Bannigan and Shea Gordon started. Former Pars fans favourite Joe Cardle was making his 26th appearance for Thistle but other former Par, Ryan Williamson was on the bench - ousted at right back by 22 year old Osman Kakay on loan from Queens Park Rangers.
Stevie Crawford also made two changes to his starting eleven. Ryan Dow returned after missing three weeks through injury and 19 year old Gabby McGill came in for his first Championship start. After having to go off against Inverness the previous week, Josh Edwards was fit to resume at left back meaning Lewis Martin and Lee Ashcroft formed the central defence.
Before the kick off there was one minute applause in respect of the late Rangers legend Fernando Rickson and it was McGill who got things underway with the Pars playing from south to north.
The visitors enjoyed much of the possession in the opening minutes although it was a Cardle cross from the right for Miller that created the first danger. Thistle kept up the pressure with a fifth minute break into the left side of the box by Dario Zanatta whose cut back was well cut out by the defence before it could reach Gordon.
Dunfermline made Scott Fox pull off the first save of the match from a Kevin Nisbet header after Dow had taken a short pass from McGill wide right. Cammy Gill has to react sharply when again Zanatta and Gordon threatened from the left side of the Pars box but thankfully the keeper got to the squirming low ball.
Greg Kiltie’s challenge on Kakay awarded Thistle an eleventh minute free kick midway into their opponents’ half, and although they did little with it they did maintain the pressure in the Pars half. A Gordon pass in from the right set up Miller for a 15th minute shot 20 yards out and with the home fans screaming ‘hit it’ he sent the ball high over Gill’s bar.
For the Jags Reece Cole flashed a 21st minute corner kick through the Pars box before two minutes later the home side were caught out by a slick Pars move. Dow threaded the ball onto the path of Aaron Comrie overlapping up the right and his early cross was met by NISBET 15 yards out to fire the ball into the bottom left of the Thistle net with Fox unable to get to it. 0-1
The goal certainly gave Dunfermline the lift they required and Nisbet powered another shot over the crossbar. Dow was unlucky not to get past his man as the Fifers tried to further exploit the weakness on the Thistle left.
Edwards 30th minute corner from the right was only partially defended and Nisbet rattled the crossbar with another great effort. The second Pars goal was only minutes away however and it was a tremendous solo effort from DOW. He ran in on a diagonal run from the right and as no one was able to stop him reached the inside of the Partick box to fire low into the bottom right. Fox was beaten and Kakay could do nothing on the line to prevent the goal. 0-2
The second goal deflated the home fans in great contrast to the 471 strong, travelling support who were in full song. Thistle needed to get back into the game before the interval but Comrie headed away Cole’s corner. James Penrice experienced the wrath of the home fans for needlessly pushing over Comrie when in an attacking position. Frustrations were evident both on and off the park.
Next Zanatta delivered a dangerous cross from the left and it looked like Thistle had to score but somehow between them Edwards and Gill scrambled the ball away. Then in 42 minute Gill held a Cardle effort from 25 yards.
There had been five shots from both sides but Dunfermline had three on target to Thistle’s one and of course the significant goals had been for the visitors.
Half time: Partick Thistle 0 Dunfermline 2
Lewis McCann replaced Gabby McGill and for Thistle Lewis Mansell came on for Shea Gordon before the second half got going. The Fifers were to extend their lead in just the fourth minute of the half. Dow was slipped the ball from Kiltie who had popped up beside him on the right and Thistle paid for the stopping the cross. McCann could have been the impact hero but 15 yards out he failed to get a proper connection but the ball was fed back to TURNER who thrashed a shot on target, albeit with the assistance of a deflection, to bulge the net from 25 yards out. 0-3
Dow and Nisbet combined out on the right and another cross was sent into the Jags box but just too much height on it for McCann to convert. Raffaele De Vita was introduced in place of Joe Cardle in 56 minutes but still the Pars pressed and a move from Kiltie on the left, through Turner to Dow and ultimately Nisbet almost created another good opening but only a goal kick resulted.
Dow was withdrawn in 61 minutes and Tom Beadling became the second Pars sub of the day. Turner forced a corner but that changed nothing and then Nisbet looped a pass into a central area that Kiltie just failed to get a grip of.
Dunfermline were successfully thwarting Thistle’s attempts to get near Gill’s goal and the home fans were very quite and steadily reducing in numbers as Kiltie picked out Nisbet and from the edge of the box, he whistled a 73rd minute shot narrowly wide right.
Harry Cochrane was the final Pars sub used with eleven minutes remaining and he immediately linked with McCann to send the striker through to release a powerful effort that just cleared the bar from 25 yards out.
Beadling headed away a 90th minute corner from Cole but the Pars had totally frustrated Thistle with solid and hard worked defending. The outcome had really been settled early in the second half but this was a welcome and well deserved win, the first in the league since March.
More important the three points elevated Dunfermline to seventh and secured a confidence boosting victory.
PARTICK THISTLE: Scott Fox: Osman Kakay, Tom O`Ware, Sean McGinty (c), James Penrice: Reece Cole, Stuart Brannigan, Shea Gordon (Lewis Mansell HT), Joe Cardle (Raffaele De Vita 56): Kenny Miller, Dario Zanatta (Tommy Robson 80).
SUBS NOT USED: Cammy Palmer, Ryan Williamson, Steven Saunders, Jamie Sneddon (GK).
DUNFERMLINE: Cammy Gill: Aaron Comrie, Lee Ashcroft, Lewis Martin, Josh Edwards: Ryan Dow (Tom Beadling 61), Paul Paton (c), Kyle Turner, Greg Kiltie (Harry Cochrane 79), Gabby McGill (Lewis McCann HT), Kevin Nisbet.
SUBS NOT USED: Josh Coley, Andy Ryan, Stuart Morrison, Ryan Scully (GK)
SCORERS: Nisbet (23), Dow (32), Turner (49)
REFEREE: Euan Anderson
WEATHER: Sunny 22C
NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (home) v Alloa Athletic, Saturday 28th September 2019, 3.00pm kick off at East End Park