Partick Thistle 1 - 0 Morton

Partick Thistle 1 - Cairney (74)
Morton 0

Att: 2190

There may be trouble ahead: Morton remain mired in a three way relegation battle after they were beaten 1-0 by Partick Thistle in front of the BBC Alba television cameras.

James Grady made two changes to the team that lost to Dundee before Christmas; Neil MacFarlane took Carlo Monti's place in midfield and Brian Wake replaced Iain Russell in attack. Russell wasn't even included in the match squad which was bit of a surprise considering Grady had previously stated that he was looking forward to getting him back from his loan at Alloa.

It's almost getting to the stage where I can copy and paste the previous week's match report such is the repetitiveness of the patterns of play in our matches. We usually start brightly, create a few good chances (and miss them) before the opposition take over in the second half and score the necessary goal(s) to take all three points. Unfortunately, this match was no exception.

Erik Paartalu was influential in the opening period and almost opened the scoring on three occasions. His first opportunity arrived in the 5th minute, but he could only header Kevin Finlayson's free-kick from wide on the right over the bar.

A minute later the Australian nodded down a high ball down to Brian Wake who took a touch before smashing the ball over the bar.

Partick Thistle goalkeeper Jonny Tuffey proved why he is involved with Northern Ireland's international squad when he flew across goal to tip Peter Weatherson half-volley wide of the upright in the 14th minute. This was a sensational save that drew appreciation from everyone in the stadium.

Morton were all over the home side at this point and were unfortunate not to take the lead just a minute after Tuffey denied Weatherson. Paartalu strode onto a Wake lay off and side footed a strong effort towards goal. The shot appeared to be heading into the postage stamp top corner, but Ian Maxwell bravely stuck his head in the way to deflect the ball over for a corner.

It was the posts turn to deny the big midfielder in the 19th minute. He met McAlister's corner from the left with a flashing header that cannoned off the inside off the post and across goal to safety. From our seat in the stand at the other end of the pitch it looked like a goal; I don't think I was the only Ton fan who jumped out of his seat in premature celebration.

This signalled the end of Morton's period of dominance and from then on the match was pretty even. However, Thistle did have two excellent chances to take the lead before half-time. In the 24th minute Liam Buchanan headered a Simon Donelly cross straight at Colin Stewart from six yards. The diminutive striker was totally unmarked and should have scored. Buchanan turned provider in the 37th minute, but Jamie Adams could only volley his cross high over the bar after it had dropped to him over the head of Ton right-back David van Zanten.

Morton will have been disappointed to have gone in at half-time level based on chances created. But, on the balance of play, it was probably just about a fair scoreline.

The Jags took control of the match two minutes into the second half when substitute Marc Corcoran almost made an immediate impact by dancing through the Morton defence before unleashing a shot that Neil MacFarlane did well to block.

There was a sense of Déjà vu when, on the hour, Buchanan passed up another glorious chance by placing his free header from a Donnelly corner into the ground and past the post. The nippy striker, who'd terrorised us in the 5-0 defeat at Firhill, was getting very frustrated - probably because the superb Dominic Shimmin had him safely tucked into his back pocket for much of the match - and he demonstrated this when he threw his shirt into the dugout and stormed to the dressing room in response to being replaced by Chris Ersline in the 66th minute.

Three minutes earlier McAlister passed up what was arguably our best chance of the match. Wake charged down a poor back pass, but he could only stretch and knock the ball against the on-rushing Tuffey. The rebound fell to Weatherson who took his time to assess his options before intelligently clipping the into the path of McAlister who'd timed his run to perfection. Unfortunately, Jim couldn't adjust his body and his side footed volley crept agonisingly past the post.

Morton were coming back into the game a little at this point and it was just two minutes later that Peter danced past a couple of defenders in the Thistle box before hitting a fresh air swipe with his left foot. He really should have laid the ball off to McAlister who was unmarked to his left. Then, two minutes after that, he had another chance when he controlled a MacFarlane header before swivelling and firing off a powerful half volley, but fortunately for Ian McCall's men it was straight down Tuffey's throat.

Thistle's winner came in the 74th minute. Alan Archibald adavanced down the left and passed to the feet of Donnelly. The former Celtic man intelligently hooked the ball into the path of Paul Cairney who burst past MacFarlane's desperate lunge before taking advantage of Shimmin's hesitancy by firing low past Stewart and into the back of the net.

McAlister wasted a couple of attacks in the last ten minutes. He mishit a shot from close range in the 85th minute and failed to find Wake with a lobbed pass three minutes later.

At the other end Stewart Greacen and Shimmin bothmade crucial blocks to deny Stevie Lovell in two seperate incidents.

Morton created enough good chances to win two matches, but in a familiar sequence of events we failed to take them and were punished for our proligacy when the opposition managed to score in their spell of dominance. A new striker please, James.

Morton (4-4-2):

1. Stewart - 7
2. Van Zanten - 6
3. Reid - 6 (14. MacGregor - 86 mins)
4. Shimmin - 8
5. Greacen - 6
6. Paartalu - 7
7. Finlayson - 5
8. MacFarlane - 5
9. Weatherson - 6
10. Wake - 3 (16. Jenkins - 77 mins)
11. McAlister - 4

Unused Subs:

12. Graham
15. Monti
20. McWilliams

van Zanten Greacen Shimmin Reid
Finlayson Paartalu MacFarlane McAlister
Weatherson Wake

Partick Thistle: Tuffey, Paton, Maxwell, Archibald, Adams (Corcoran, 46), Cairney, Rowson, Robertson, Buchanan (Erskine, 66), Lovell, Donnelly (Hodge, 78).

Subs Not Used: Boyle, Hinchcliffe.

My man of the match: Dominic Shimmin

Sponsor's man of the match: Paul Cairney (Partick)

BBC Alba man of the match: Dominic Shimmin

Matchday Programme (Click to enlarge)

Daily Record - Match Report

The Scotsman - Match Report

ptfc.co.uk - Match Report

bbc sport - Match Report

Tontastic pictures

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