SFL v Partick Thistle


Fixture: Irn Bru SFL Division One

Attendance: 3029, Kick off 15.00

Referee: David Somers

Iain Williamson for Calum Woods was the only change from the team that started the previous week against Stirling Albion. With Liam Buchanan and Alan Archibald still out through injury, Ian McCall`s side were unchanged from the eleven who faced Queens Park in the Challenge Cup.

The 785 Pars fans who made the journey to Firhill gave their team a rousing welcome and it was the visitors who kicked off attacking the goal at the city end. For the first three minutes Dunfermline enjoyed almost all the possession with Harper getting in a couple of useful crosses as a result of Greg Shields getting into forward positions.

Thistle`s first atttack came in the fifth minute but it resulted┬ in Mark Roberts getting in a shot from 20 yards that went into the Pars support. Damon Gray had another pop at goal three minutes later from the angle of the box but was well wide right.

Memory of Dunfermline`s early dominance was fast erased with Thistle chances from their first corner in 14 minutes. Paul Paton sent a right footed delivery into the centre of the area where Ian Maxwell met it to power a header on target but Nick Phinn was at the far post to head out. The ball bobbed about the Pars box and eventually an off target shot relieved the pressure.

The home side certainly settled after that but Williamson regained some momentum winning a corner from his 25 yard shot. Next a neat flick into the box set up Williamson and Phinn and it was the latter who tested the keeper as he directed the ball at goal.

In 25th minute Harper sent in another fine ball from the right. Both Bayne and Williamson rose for it and it was the youngster who got the touch but not enough to beat Tuffey. At the other end a Paton pass was nicely dummied by Roberts to let Gary Harkins control the ball on his thigh before making Paul Gallacher dive to his right to hold the 15 yards shot.

Williamson charged down a Tuffey clearance and Stephen Glass tried to launch one from distance but still Dunfermline lacked good chances. The Jags on the other hand produced another fine move switching the ball from Paton to Gray and then deep into the right side of the Pars box for Roberts. His chip to the far post looped over Gallacher and it required Shields timely intervention to keep the scoreline blank.

Firhill for spills next. Shieldsie tumbled Harkins on the angle of the box and Referee Somers had a few words for him. Harkins took the free kick but failed to pick out Roberts with the low pass into the area. The defence cleared only as far as Paton who drove the ball wildly over the bar.

Athletic`s best chance of the first half came in 37 minutes. Another Kevin Harper cross arrived from the right that Bayne headed down for Williamson on the edge of the six yard box but the youngsters shot came back off the left post.

Three minutes from the break Bayne headed another inviting ball into the path of Phinn but Tuffey held his drive. It had been an entertaining first half without any goals although sub Simon Donnelly almost gave the Jags something to celebrate with their half time pies as his glancing header skimmed just wide of the right post.

Half Time: Partick Thistle 0 Dunfermline 0

The Fifers were really sharp off their blocks at the restart with Graham Bayne nicking the ball off the two taking the kick off and forcing play immediately towards Tuffey. Straight away Shields sent over a cross to the far post that Bayne challenged for and instigated great complaints from the Pars fans behind the goal when he was eased away from the delivery.

Thistle`s first threat in the second half came from a useful looking Twaddle cross that McCann hoofed clear. Gray played a smart ball for Donnelly on the left side of the penalty box and there were appeals for a penalty as he flicked the ball up into Scott Wilson`s body.

It was backs to the wall though as Ian McCall`s men caught fire. The Pars just could not clear their lines and were fortunate when Scott Chaplain`s header was touched over the bar by Gallacher.

The resultant corner yielded Thistle two good chances with┬ Phinn clearing the first, a Donnelly header, away from his post and then Gallacher holding the shot on the rebound. A Wilson - Burke - McCann passing movement resulted in a cross that Tuffey had to clutch but was enough to spark the travelling support into song again.

There was a puzzling distraction in front of the dug out in 63 minutes. Two subs stood ready but all that happened was that Shields ended up changing his shirt and shorts maybe as a consequence of the sturdy tackle on him that earned Maxwell a yellow card.

The Pars then had another good opportunity in 70 minutes.┬ From deep on the right Harper swung in a ball that Bayne met with a strong header but Tuffey pulled off a fine save at his left hand post.┬ Dunfermline looked the more likely now┬ but when Burke set up Andy Kirk he could not get in the shot. The defended ball reached Scott Muirhead 30 yards out, his drive was beaten away and then Harper had an attempt but high over the bar.

A 77th minute Burke cross from the left corner flag was plucked off the head of Phinn by Tuffey. Then Harper teased his defender before sending in another decent ball that John Robertson booted away as the Pars strikers waited to pounce just six yards out.

Partick were not out of this and Twaddle combined with Donnelly to get the left back into a shooting position on the edge of the box but he was too high with the effort. Scott Thomson headed a Shieldsie cross on to the┬ outside of the left post but then with only three minutes remaining Thistle scored.

A Donnelly delivery from the left was fisted away by Gallacher but only to Stephen McKEOWN. The substitute hit the ball on the volley┬ through a ruck of players to find the right side of the Pars net.┬ It was a crual blow for Macca`s men.┬ It was a match they might have won but ended up losing all three points.

PARTICK THISTLE:: Jonny Tuffey; Paul Paton, John Robertson, Simon Storey, Marc Twaddle; Ian Maxwell, Scott Chaplain (Stephen McKeown 79), David Rowson, Gary Harkins; Damon Gray (Kevin McKinlay 70), Mark Roberts (Simon Donnelly 35).
SUBS:┬ Willie Kinninburgh, Craig Hinchcliffe (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Maxwell (63)
SCORER: McKeown (87)

DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Greg Shields, Scott Wilson (c), Scott Thomson, Austin McCann ( Scott Muirhead 68); Kevin Harper, Nick Phinn (Calum Woods 81), Stephen Glass, Alex Burke; Iain Williamson (Andy Kirk 68), Graham Bayne.
SUBS: Paul Willis, Callum Reidford
YELLOW CARD: Bayne (67), Glass (78)

WEATHER: Sunny 21┬║C

NEXT MATCH: Co-operative Insurance Cup (away) v Peterhead
Tuesday 5th August 2008, kick off 7.45pm

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