2013: Partick Thistle 3 Dunfermline 3
Memorable Match #12
IRN BRU First Division
Saturday 27th April 2013
With two matches of the 2012-13 season remaining Dunfermline sat eighth in the First Division. They had 15 points deducted for going into administration and had only taken 13 points out of a possible 57 before they remembered how to win at Cappielow two weeks before. Then a win over Cowdenbeath had put destiny in their own hands. The final two matches were away to new First Division champions Partick Thistle and a home match against an already relegated Airdrie United side who had only won four league games that season.
Six points from the last two games would assure they stayed in the First Division and avoid the play offs. Indeed if ninth placed Cowdenbeath lost and Dunfermline took three points at Firhill then the Pars would be safe. The opposition would be formidable and the fans of the north Glasgow side will be in a mood to celebrate their club`s promotion to the SPL. Could the Pars spoil the party?
John Potter came in for the suspended Chris Kane in a Pars starting line up that was otherwise unchanged from the side that faced Cowdenbeath the previous Saturday. Pleasingly after being kept out through injury, Andy Geggan and Ryan Wallace both made the bench.
The Pars re-emerged through the yellow and red chequered flags and they formed a guard of honour for Alan Archibald`s league winners.
"Championees" was chanted by the home support and the music suggested that "Tonight is going to be a good night" but for the next 95 minutes Dunfermline set out to do their best to spoil the party.
Allan Smith and Ryan Thomson took the kick off attacking the goal at the open south end.
Thistle created the kind of chances that had made them runaway league leaders and it was no real surprise when they went ahead in 27 minutes. Chris Erskine did all the hard work to lay off a fine ball for former Pars captain Jordan McMILLAN to shoot across Michal Hrivnak and find the net to the keeper`s right. 1-0
The Pars replied with Alex Whittle forcing a corner but the trip up the park was short lived. Lawless had a dangerous run into the Dunfermline box and the pressure continued. A 41st minute Andy Dowie was forward for a Ross Forbes corner and Hrivnak did really well to keep out the downward header. Forbes tried a 30 yarder but the Slovakian keeper held easily. Partick at times seemed to want to work the ball too much. Right on half time Falkingham had a glorious chance but Thistle managed to limit the damage to a corner.
The finish to the first half gave the 500+ travelling support much optimism for the second half.
Half Time: Partick Thistle 1 Dunfermline 0
Jim Jefferies changed his system for the restart moving away from the 5-3-2 to 4-3-1-2 with Ryan Wallace coming on to sit just behind the front two. Dunfermline had a great chance on 55 minutes when Thomson dispossessed Aaron Sinclair out on the right wing and set off towards goal, the chance fell for Smith just six yards out but he was denied when Conrad Balatoni cleared off the line.
Erskine and then Lawless had opportunities but Wallace was then provided with a glorious chance. Smith made the break up through the right channel and as he reached the penalty box sent a diagonal ball that Thomson dummied to set up the sub but he drove his shot at the keeper.
The Dunfermline goal did come in 65 minutes and it was as a result of great work by Stephen Husband on the right edge of the Thistle box. He picked out WALLACE who took a touch and found the net at the bottom right. 1-1
It may have been the Thistle fans who were singing but it was Dunfermline who were on tune. Andy Geggan had replaced Shaun Byrne and with him came a further injection of energy. Ryan Thomson had a shot but a second goal was to come his way in 72 minutes. Wallace had his shot parried by Fox but THOMSON was well placed to slot home. 1-2
Then from an 80 minute corner that Wallace sent in from the left, Husband could not control the ball first time but he toed it back towards the left post where THOMSON headed in the Pars third! 1-3.
Four minutes later ERSKINE squeezed in a second for Thistle to create another nervy end to a game. With news of Cowdenbeath getting a goal to make it 3-2 to Dumbarton at Central Park, the Pars only needed to see the game out to ensure their First Division status.
That was delayed by injuries to Thomson and Hrivnak that both required physio Kenny Murray`s attentions. The added time went on and on and Thistle kept coming. There was 49 minutes 15 seconds of the second half gone when a ball from the left just could not be cleared and LAWLESS was able to sink the ball into the net low to the left. 3-3.
It was a cruel end to the match but meant that a win over Airdrie United at home the following Saturday would be needed to ensure safety. The outcome that Dunfermline should have secured had it not been for the late late Thistle equaliser and worse still the Pars would go down 2-1 to the Diamonds and be relegated by losing to Alloa Athletic in the play off final.
PARTICK THISTLE: Scott Fox, Jordan McMillan, Andy Dowie, Aaron Sinclair, Christie Elliott (Stephen O`Donnell 60), Conrad Balatoni, Mark McGuigan (Kris Doolan 68), Chris Erskine (c), Stuart Bannigan, Ross Forbes (Steven Craig, 81), Steve Lawless
SUBS NOT USED David Wilson, Glenn Daniels (GK)
SCORERS: McMillan (27), Erskine (84) Lawless (95)
YELLOW CARD: Bannigan (82)
DUNFERMLINE: Michal Hrivnak, Ross Millen, Kerr Young, John Potter (Ryan Wallace HT), Callum Morris, Alex Whittle; Shaun Byrne (Andy Geggan 62), Stephen Husband, Josh Falkingham (c), Allan Smith, Ryan Thomson (Grant Munro 91).
SUBS NOT USED: Ross Drummond, Ryan Goodfellow (GK).
YELLOW CARD: Young (18), Husband (66), Wallace (76), Falkingham (89)
SCORERS: Wallace (65), Thomson (72, 80)
REFEREE: Willie Collum
WEATHER: Sunny 11C
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