Partick Thistle’s defence lets down good performance

Motherwell v Partick Thistle - francis-angol
Motherwell v Partick Thistle - francis-angol

Partick Thistle lead 3-2 with only six minutes remaining when hosts Motherwell came back to score two late goals.

After a fortnight’s absence from competitive action Thistle manager Alan Archibald made just the one change to the side that had drawn with Dundee United. Chris Erskine had been ineligible for that match and he returned at the expense of Christie Elliott who dropped to the bench.

There had been some concern over the waterlogged pitch, but it passed an inspection, although was still very stodgy which resulted in a very slow start.

Motherwell had the better of the opening exchanges; McFadden sending a Francis-Angol cross over the bar in the fifth minute and Lee Mair halting John Sutton’s progress towards goal with a perfectly timed challenge nine minutes later.

Conrad Balatoni Thistle’s first chance didn’t arrive until the 29th minute when Conrad Balatoni was able to get his head to a Kallum Higginbotham corner but his header dropped the wrong side of the post.

Thistle though took the lead seven minutes later. Kallum Higginbotham was able to find himself in a promising position at the edge of the Motherwell box where he, after ignoring Jordan McMillan to his right, threaded through a pass to Chris Erskine. Erskine took a touch to control the ball before steering it past Nielsen and into the back of the net.

Thistle threatened a second just four minutes later when Higginbotham was able to gather Gary Fraser’s superb crossfield pass before squaring the ball to Prince Buaben whose effort at goal was blocked by a Motherwell defender.

The scores, however, were level again with half-time just three minutes away. It was a cruel equaliser for Thistle to lose with Keith Lasley’s deflected shot looping over a helpless Paul Gallacher and into the net.

Seven minutes into the second half and the home side took the lead for the first time. Thistle gave Lionel Ainsworth far too much time and space inside their own penalty area and the Motherwell player was able to shoot confidently past Gallacher.

Prince Buaben was close to netting his first Thistle goal in the 61st minute but saw his effort smothered by Nielsen at close range.

But a determined Thistle levelled four minutes later. Erskine had a big hand in the second goal with his excellent pass picking out Taylor-Sinclair, but when he was fouled by Ainsworth, Thistle were awarded a clear and obvious penalty. Higginbotham made no mistake from the spot.

Thistle pushed for another goal and it came following a number of good attempts. Higginbotham was again involved. His run took him past a couple of defenders and deep into the Motherwell box where he found the back of the net with a low drive from a tight angle.

Motherwell fought back. A McFadden effort was deflected into the side netting and from the corner that followed Gallacher produced an excellent save to deny McManus.

However with six minutes to go Motherwell levelled. A cross from the right found the head of John Sutton and found the back of the net.

But worse was to follow three minutes later. Stephen McManus was able to climb above Jordan McMillan to plant a header firmly past Gallacher in the Thistle goal.

James Craigen’s foul gave Thistle fans some hope, but despite Taylor-Sinclair getting a touch to Gary Fraser’s free kick, that touch took the ball over the bar.

Thistle: Gallacher, McMillan, Mair, Balatoni, Sinclair, Erskine (Elliot 81), Bannigan, Higginbotham (Craigen 84), Buaben Fraser, Taylor (Doolan 78). Subs not used: fox, O’Donnell, Muirhead, Lawless.