Ladbrokes Championship: Dunfermline 1 Partick Thistle 0: 28/09/18

Aidan Connolly’s first goal for Dunfermline was enough to take all three points in this first home league win of the season.

For the first time since 26th January, Friday night football returned to East End Park with newly relegated Partick Thistle the visitors. Alan Archibald made one change from the side that faced Queen of the South, Tam Scobbie coming in for Chris Erskine.

Pars gaffer Allan Johnston gave a vote of confidence to his selection at Cappielow the previous Saturday but having recovered from injury, Ryan Williamson and Danny Devine made the bench.

With the match being screened live on BBC Alba the teams lined up in front of the main stand for the cameras before Thistle kicked off attacking the goal at the McCathie Stand end. Both sides started warily and the first move to create any sort of danger did not come until eighth minute when Christie Elliot’s run up the right playing in both Blair Spittal and Miles Storey set the Thistle captain up to deliver a low ball in towards the Fifers six yard box but Mark Durnan cleared effectively.

The home side forced the first corner of the match but Malaury Martin’s cross from the right was met by Blair Spittal who headed clear. A second Pars corner two minutes later was cleared before Lee Ashcroft could despatch it at goal. There followed a two minute stoppage while Niall Keown received treatment for a head knock.

When play resumed slick passing from Thistle, from James Penrice to Kris Doolan to Storey required the Pars to intervene and prevent a strike from Doolan.

Next Faissal El Bakhtaoui switched the ball out left for Aidan Connolly and he forced a 17th minute corner on the left but again the Glasgow side cleared. On 20 minutes Andy Ryan played a neat pass in from the left for Jackson Longridge but Scobbie blocked the cross.

Doolan looked set to fire a shot on target 15 yards out but failed and Ashcroft swept the ball clear. The visitors were beginning to put together lengthy strings of successful passes but none that took them anywhere near Lee Robinson’s goal.

Dunfermline were not getting any closer and El Bakhtaoui’s off target shot from 20 yards in 32 minutes was well wide left and reflected the frustrations both on and off the park. Four minutes later Louis Longridge burst through but his final ball to Connolly on the edge of the box got intercepted.

Thistle broke and forced a corner on the left but Ashcroft had no difficulty in heading that away. A mistake by the same player almost let Spittal in on 38 minutes but his left footed shot dropped wide right.

Bannigan collected a 42nd minute yellow card when flattening Ryan and from the setpiece L Longridge was able to loft a high ball towards the back post and Ashcroft’s header had to be palmed over his crossbar by Cammy Bell. That was the closest that either side came to scoring in what was a fairly flat first 45 minutes.

Half time: Dunfermline 0 Partick Thistle 0

The second half resumed in much the same way as the first but two El Bakhtaoui deliveries into the Partick box created some threat, the second allowing J Longridge to crash a shot on target from an angle but he hit Ryan and the visitors survived.

Play swiftly switched to the other end and in 54 minutes Robinson had to pull off a fine save from Bannigan after he avoided the offside trap. Referee Clancy blew up against Dunfermline as Martin played in a 61st minute corner. Two minutes later El Bakhtaoui passed wide for Connolly but he could only win a corner on the left that L Longridge took but that cleared the box and went out for a goal kick.

Ryan fizzed a cross in front of goal, J Longridge had no luck with a diagonal ball in from in front of the Jags dugout before L Longridge’s cross from the right travelled all the way across to Elliott whose miskicked clearance set up CONNOLLY to stick the ball in net. 1-0

In reply sub Jai Quitongo rounded the right side and forced a 76 minute corner but Clancy noticed Ashcroft pulled over by Keown and the corner would come to nothing.

The goal had brought the game to life and the Pars tried hard to finish it as a contest. Martin and Ryan combined to let J Longridge drive an effort that just escaped wide right. Ryan headed narrowly wide from a Martin corner and L Longridge’s 82nd minute shot was beaten away for a corner.

Dunfermline piled on the pressure and Connolly hit the post from a L Longridge cross. J Longridge tried an attempt but was blocked. Craigen flashed the ball across goal and El Bakhtaoui also had a crack a goal but that was blotted out.

Sub Joe Thomson flicked the ball back from the right byeline but L Longridge could not keep his shot down. Next the same player was caught in an offside position after Connolly had forced the ball through.

Robinson came out fast to thwart Mbuyi-Mutombo in added time after the striker had forced his way into a good position just to the right off goal. There was one final chance for Mbuyi-Mutombo but again the defence kept him out and the Pars were to seal their first home win of this season’s league campaign. For Thistle it was a fourth consecutive away defeat in the league.

DUNFERMLINE: Lee Robinson: James Craigen, Lee Ashcroft (c), Mark Durnan, Jackson Longridge: Louis Longridge, James Vincent, Malaury Martin, Aidan Connolly (Myles Hippolyte 90+2): Andy Ryan (Joe Thomson 80), Faissal El Bakhtaoui.
SUBS NOT USED: Tom Beadling, Ryan Williamson, Danny Devine, Robbie Muirhead Cammy Gill (GK).
SCORERS: Connolly (69)

PARTICK THISTLE: Cammy Bell, Christie Elliott (c), Niall Keown, Sean McGinty, James Penrice, Tam Scobbie (Chris Erskine 73), Stuart Bannigan, Craig Slater, Blair Spittal (Andrea Mbuyi-Mutombo 78), Miles Storey, Kris Doolan (Jai Quitongo 67).
SUBS NOT USED: Brice Ntambwe, Max Melbourne, Aidan Fitzpatrick, Jamie Sneddon (GK)
YELLOW CARD: Bannigan (42), Keown (44)

REFEREE: Kevin Clancy

NEXT MATCH: Ladbrokes Championship: (away) v Falkirk, Saturday 6th October 2018, kick off 3.00pm at The Falkirk Stadium.

50/50 half time draw - the winning ticket is number 301759 for the prize of £404

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