Dunfermline Athletic

Partick Thistle 1 Dunfermline 3

Friday, 23rd Feb 2024

cinch Championship: Comrie, O’Halloran and Summers out, Todd, Allan and Holmes start. Brian Graham (30) 1-0: Malachi Fagan-Walcott (37) 1-1: Matthew Todd (55) 1-2: Xavier Benjamin (65) 1-3:

Friday night`s opponents Partick Thistle sat third in the league and were undefeated in that competition in 2024. It was five league visits back in 2021 since the Fifers won a league match at Firhill.

Dunfermline travelled west wondering just when their luck might change. Nine matches without a win had seen them slide from fourth place to ninth place and although reluctant to blame their eight player injury list there was little doubt that it had an impact. Again it was a case of two back and two out. Aaron Comrie`s absence was down to a training ground injury, Michael O’Halloran illness. Matty Todd started his first game since before Christmas, Paul Allan came in and on-loan Brad Holmes was handed his starting debut.

Partick gave former Hearts keeper Ross Stewart a starting debut and Jack McMillan started in place of Wasiri Williams. Otherwise Kris Doolan’s selection was the same as at Inverness last time out.

In their blue third strip, Chris Hamilton led the team out with everyone wearing a black armband to respect former player and manager Harry Melrose who sadly passed away this week. Harry scored six against Partick in 1959 and how the travelling support would like to see the ball hit the Thistle net in this match. The Fifers, again deploying a back four, kicked off attacking the goal at the open end.

Dunfermline threatened as early as the fourth minute. A Thistle ball up the left was neatly defended and four passes later Todd burst towards the home goal. He got in a shot and Chris Kane and Ewan Otoo had follow ups but every time the attempt was blocked. Then in ninth minute Luke McBeth’s foul on Kane awarded Lewis McCann a chance to fire a 35 yard out free kick on target. Stewart dived to his right to keep him out.

Thistle had the ball in the net in 12 minute, McMillan taking advantage of a Holmes’ slip to get in behind and tee up a tap in for Brian Graham but fortune favoured the Pars as the offside flag was raised with the home fans shouting ‘we want VAR’!

Play switched from end to end with both keepers required to hold dangerous crosses. Next from a free kick deep down the right Hamilton blasted a shot that was deflected over and then from an Allan corner from the right again it was Hamilton who got a header on target but referee David Munro blew for an infringement in the box.

A Thistle corner midway through the first half created alarm in the Dunfermline six yard box but they survived to clear. Deniz Mehmet pulled off a good save to keep out a powerful McBeth shot and then in 26 minutes Thistle fans got ready to celebrate as McInroy drove a shot on target from ten yards out but that got blocked by Edwards.

A Steven Lawless effort was deflected for a 29th minute corner that McCann cleared. However Partick went ahead on the half hour when a headed Edwards clearance dropped towards McBeth to head forward and Brian GRAHAM head down to make it 1-0.

Malachi Fagan-Walcott made a telling block and Mehmet raced out to snuff out the threat from McInroy. FAGAN-WALCOTT then got on the scoresheet for the second match running. Allan sent a 37th minute corner over from the right, the Jags cleared but Edwards latched on to the clearance, advancing before launching a seriously good shot at goal. Stewart could not hold it and the Cardiff City loanee stepped in to sidefoot it into net from six yards.. 1-1

When Stewart slipped kicking the ball out, Todd accepted the ‘pass’, played the ball off Kane before testing the debut keeper. The first half stats showed the Fifers possession at 43% but they had put in a really good first 45 with eight shots to Thistle’s five. Dunfermline thoroughly deserved to be on level terms at the break.

Half time: Partick Thistle 1 Dunfermline 1

The Pars restarted strongly Todd and Kane creating the opening for McCann to cross and Todd’s header hit the inside of the left goalpost before the relieved defence cleared. After a few overhit balls up the park Thistle got their game together in the visitors half but on 55 minutes they were caught out by a long Edwards ball from the left. TODD was onside just inside the opposition half, he was facing the ball as it dropped towards him midway into the Thistle half, he turned and raced forward to dink the ball home. 1-2

The Thistle fans were enraged but the decision was correct but that was just a taste of what was to follow just four minutes later. Milne drove the ball towards the right post and Graham stepped in to net. Mehmet remonstrated when referee Munro gave the ‘goal’ but as Graham led celebrations the ref consulted his assistant and gave the offside decision amidst a cauldron of outrage. The home fans would only be silenced when Xavier BENJAMIN rose to force home a 65th minute header from a Paul Allan corner. 1-3

Alex Jakubiak replaced Holmes, Owen Moffat Matty Todd and the home side threw on attacking threats Tomi Adeloye and Ricco Diack. Mehmet fisted away a dangerous cross goal delivery from Fitzpatrick and at the other end Jakubiak’s shot from 18 yards was tipped around his left hand post by Stewart. Kane smashed a shot into the sidenetting as Dunfermline’s attacking managed the match out.

Jakubiak earned an 86th minute corner that Stewart held and even with the home side trying hard to hit back in the five added minutes it would be the Fifers first league win at Firhill since 2019. The three points would take the Pars up to seventh.

PARTICK THISTLE: Ross Stewart, Jack McMillan (Blair Alston 89), Aaron Muirhead, Lewis Neilson, Harry Milne, Luke McBeth, Stuart Bannigan (Tomi Adeloye 71), Steven Lawless (Scott Robinson HT), Kerr McInroy (Rocco Diack 71), Aidan Fitzpatrick, Brian Graham
SUBS NOT USED: Wasiri Williams, Kieran Ngwenya, Ben Stanway, Zander Mackenzie, David Mitchell (GK).
SCORERS: Graham (30)
YELLOW CARD: Bannigan (64), Robinson (73)

DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet, Xavier Benjamin (Miles Welch-Hayes 80), Malachi Fagan-Walcott, Chris Hamilton (c), Josh Edwards, Matty Todd (Owen Moffat 67), Paul Allan, Ewan Otoo, Brad Holmes (Alex Jakubiak 61), Chris Kane, Lewis McCann
SUBS NOT USED: Joe Chalmers, Ben Summers, Taylor Sutherland, Max Little (GK)
SCORERS: Fagan-Walcott (37), Todd (55), Benjamin (65)
YELLOW CARD: Kane (87)

REFEREE: David Munro
WEATHER: Cloudy 3°C
ATTENDANCE 3350

NEXT MATCH: cinch Championship: (away) v Inverness Caley Thistle, Tuesday 27th Februarty 2024, 7.45pm kick off at the Caledonian Stadium.

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