Partick Thistle 1 Dunfermline 1Saturday, 15th Dec 2007
Penalty miss gives Thistle lift to go on and cancel out Burchill opener
Jim McIntyre`s selection for his second match in charge saw two changes from the side that drew against Clyde. With a whole team out injured the options were restricted. Calum Woods and Scott Morrison dropped out, making way for Michael McGlinchey and Kevin Harper. Thistle brought in Simon Storey for Ryan McStay for their first home league match against the Pars for four years.
There were only a few hundred travelling supporters in the north stand as the visitors kicked off attacking the goal at the opposite end. Apart from a Danny Murphy free kick that allowed Jim Hamilton some keepie uppy on the edge of the box most of the early play was towards Paul Gallacher.
Hammy headed a corner from the left up into the air and his keeper had to turn the ball over from under his crossbar. In sixth minute Mark Roberts fired in a quick effort from 30 yards that slipped wide of the right post. Four minutes later Mark Burchill latched on to a through ball from Stephen Simmons to win a corner on the right but that was blown up for pushing.
The game did little to warm the fans as misplaced and over-struck passes were the norm. However in 18th minute Scott Chaplain took advantage when Harper failed to cut out a pass in a central position and Kevin McKinlay found himself in space on the left. The Thistle no.4`s shot was deflected on to the roof of the net by Wilson and the resultant corner was not totally cleared to safety.
Roberts rounded Stevie Crawford on the right to send in a cross that McKinlay headed on target forcing Gallacher to pull off a great save to keep the score blank. Five minutes later Simon Storey pulled another good chance wide of Gallacher`s right hand post.
The Jags were denied by a fantastic Gallacher save in 29 minutes when Harper was too short to cut out a high ball and a cut in from the left allowed Scott Chaplain to burst into the top of the Pars box to release a cracker of a shot that Gall beat away. Immediately after that full back John Robertson found himself in space on the right side of the Pars box but he chose to square rather than shoot and the danger was over.
Dunfermline then came into the game a bit more with McGlinchey shooting wide, Glass pumping a free kick into the Thistle box and the offside flag coming to the home side`s benefit. Murphy slid the ball to McGlinchey who did well to turn his man out at the left corner flag but Burchill was well off target with the cross from the on loan player`s delivery.
A good run from Harper won a corner two minutes from the break but again Hamilton was penalised for `climbing` when the ball came over from the left. David Rowson was penalised when Murphy slipped on the left but Glass`s free kick travelled all the way to Thomson on the far side and his return was easily cleared.
Certainly Dunfermline had come back into the game after an indifferent start but as the setting sun reddened the west sky it remained 0-0 at the break.
Half Time: Partick Thistle 0 Dunfermline 0
Dunfermline were first out after the interval for a change with Stevie Crawford substituted by Tam McManus. Thistle also made a change preferring Ryan McStay for Simon Storey and the second 45 got off to a lively start with both teams looking much more interested.
In 55th minute Chaplain found himself with only Wilson blocking his route to goal. The Thistle player beat is man and although he got the ball past Gallacher, Scott Thomson was on hand to clear the ball off the goal line. From the resultant corner Liam Buchanan powered a header that the keeper and defence someone kept out.
The Maryhill side kept up the pressure with Buchanan producing a good shot that Gallacher turned over the bar but on the hour Dunfermline grabbed the lead. A ball in from the left seemed to have caught Hamilton out as he struggled to get the shot at goal but Glass grabbed the initiative and belted the shot at goal from 16 yards. Keeper Jonny Tuffey fisted clear to his right but BURCHILL met the clearance to head the ball home with what was virtually the Pars first scoring opportunity of the afternoon.
Dunfermline looked better with the lead and Hamilton sent an inviting ball through the opposition box that just needed a touch. It was the ex Motherwell striker who picked out McManus in 70th minute. Tam accepted the pass from the centre of the Partick half out to the right side. The second half sub drove in and fired a fine shot that Tuffey did well to stop but with the ball lying stuck in the mud in front of goal the former Coventry City stopper tumbled Burchill as he tried to convert the chance ahead of Archibald. Mike McCurry pointed to the penalty spot.
Stephen Glass stepped up to take the award but slipped as he took it and the ball flew well wide of goal, hitting the advertising boards on the left side of the goal. Glass was left inspecting his footwear and studying the pitch but the possibilty of a two goal lead had gone, with it came renewed optimism on the Jags part.
Simmons was yellow carded for a crude challenge giving Marc Twaddle the chance from a free kick but the Fife wall did its job. It was one way traffic now towards Gallacher`s goal, Thomson closed out Buchanan and the corner that followed was wasted.
Scott Wilson was forced to retire with a hamstring injury as Dunfermline were defending deeper and deeper with Jim Hamilton puting in a great shift defensively. The home support grew increasingly frustrated and referee Mike McCurry was rapidly falling out of their favour. With five minutes remaining Iain Williamson`s foul on Twaddle set up Thistle for a quickly taken setpiece that picked out McStay on the right but Hamilton got his squared ball away.
Almost right away a big ball back into the box was headed down for Liam BUCHANAN to turn in with ease. Thistle had their equaliser and they pushed for a winner in the remaining four minutes plus two and a half added. When a Thistle player ran into Morrison on the right the free kick raised the hope of the Thistle supporters but Rowson`s shot was blocked and in the final attack Hamilton again cleared the danger.
There is no doubt that the home side were on top for large periods of this match but had the penalty not been missed their chances of winning even a point would have been so much less. Positives for the Pars - great performance from their goalie, the return after three months out of Kevin Harper and signs of better cohesion at least during their brief purple patch midway through the second half.
SUBS NOT USED: Stevie Murray, Gary Harkins, Jamie Barclay (GK)
SCORERS: Buchanan (85)
DUNFERMLINE: Paul Gallacher; Kevin Harper, Scott Wilson (c) (Scott Morrison 82), Scott Thomson, Danny Murphy; Michael McGlinchey, Stephen Simmons, Stephen Glass, Stevie Crawford (Tam McManus HT); Mark Burchill (Iain Williamson 72), Jim Hamilton.
SUBS NOT USED: Nick Phinn, Sean Murdoch (GK)
SCORERS: Burchill (60)
YELLOW CARD: Glass (48), Simmons (72)
REFEREE: Mike McCurry
WEATHER: Dry overcast 4°C
NEXT MATCH: (home) v Queen of the South Saturday 22nd December 2007, kick off 3.00pm
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