Partick Thistle 2 Dunfermline 4Saturday, 10th Jul 2021
Premier Sports Cup: Brian Graham (16) 1-0: Nikolay Todorov (30) 1-1: Aaron Comrie (35) 1-2: Kyle Macdonald (43) 1-3: Nikolay Todorov (53) 1-4: Zak Rudden (65) 2-4:
Dunfermline opened their Premier Sports Cup campaign at Firhill hoping to have another successful season in this competition. Last season they went out at the quarter final stage, losing 5-4 on penalties to eventual winners St Johnstone. The Pars had won 11 of their last 12 group stage matches in this competition and were hoping to kick off by winning three points in the first competitive match of the Peter Grant managerial era.
Six players who started the play off match at Stark’s Park in May started this match. Into the side came Deniz Mehmet, Ross Graham, Kyle Macdonald, Nikolay Todorov and Paul Allan. That meant keeper Owain Fôn Williams was on the bench alongside Vytas Gašpuitis, Miller Fenton, Matty Todd and new signing Dan Pybus.
It was Dom Thomas who led the Fifers out from the old entrance at the centre of the South Stand. He was welcomed on to the park by fans! It was for the first time fans, albeit all home fans, had attended a competitive match since March 2020 when these two teams last met in the Championship.
First showing came from the home side in third minute when Richard Foster evaded Josh Edwards attentions to cross. Thistle captain Ross Docherty blasted the chance over the crossbar from eight yards. The Dunfermline response was a good break by Kevin O’Hara but his ball into the box from the left met with no takers.
Mehmet was called upon to make a double save in sixth minute when Thistle threatened again. The home side continued to push and in 13th minute a poor pass by the Pars keeper allowed Tiffoney to win possession on the edge of the box and when he fed Brian Graham the Pars stopper pulled off a great save to make up for his mistake.
Three minutes later a Kyle Turner pass set up GRAHAM on the right side and he cooly found the far side of net to put the Jags ahead. 1-0
Murray provided another good opportunity his cross ball headed wide left and then in 22 minutes when Dunfermline could not clear properly from a Murray cross, Turner was able to crash a shot on to the crossbar from 20 yards out.
In 24 minutes Macdonald retrieved an Edwards cross that Todorov had failed to connect with but his shot at an angle was deflected out for a Pars corner on the left. When Allan delivered O’Hara may have been taken by surprise as the ball travelled to him at the far post and he could not direct the ball towards the net.
Five minutes later another shot was rocketed wide of the Pars goal by Tam O’Ware but on the half hour Nikolay Todorov latched on to an O’Hara pass to slot the ball home at the left goalpost and it was all level. A good finish made it 1-1.
A 33rd minute Allan free kick from the left was held by Jamie Sneddon and his clearance sent Tiffoney away and he forced a corner that Mehmet held. Two minutes later the Fifers shocked the 665 Thistle fans into silence as Aaron COMRIE met a Thomas free kick from the right, to head his side into the lead. 1-2
Before half time Foster made Mehmet pull off a fine save and in the follow up Docherty headed the returned ball over the crossbar. Then there was still time for another Dunfermline goal. Fantastic turn of pace from Edwards outstripped Foster, the chance looked gone as Todorov didn’t get a touch on the cross but Kyle MACDONALD was on hand to thrash home his first ever Dunfermline goal. It was cleared but Referee Bobby Madden was in no doubt and the goal was given with little protest. 1-3
Half time: Partick Thistle 1 Dunfermline 3
After two minutes of the second half there were half hearted cries for hand ball in the penalty box when Graham’s shot might have hit Comrie’s arm but no whistle. Thistle did start the better after the break and a couple of balls went narrowly wide of the left goalpost.
Dunfermline then struck again when a ball over the top TODOROV was sent through one on one against Sneddon. A controlled finish chipping the keeper from 18 yards out made it 1-4.
Zak Rudden came on for Thistle replacing Scott Tiffoney in 53 minutes and the sub immediately provided fodder for Brian Graham with a cross from the right but Mehmet was down to hold at his near post.
RUDDEN was to make his impact felt however as he headed home a Murray cross in 65 minutes. The ball from the left being squeezed in at the near post. 2-4
Dan Pybus was introduced in place of Nikolay Todorov with just under 20 minutes left to play. Comrie kept out an effort by sub Ross MacIver as he attacked a Murray cross from the right. In 81 minutes Pybus and O’Hara worked the ball in from the left for Craig Wighton and his effort from the edge of the six yard box was blocked.
Paul Watson was subbed by Vytas Gašpuitis for the final five minutes and Matty Todd for Craig Wighton in 89 minutes. Dunfermline saw the match out and it was to be the Pars first League Cup tie win at Firhill since 1966.
It’s 50 years since Partick Thistle famously lifted the League Cup but despite their warm up tops all branded 71 on their backs, the Jags fans were not yet singing anything about it “Coming Home”.
SUBS NOT USED: Harry Stone, Gospel Ocholi
SCORERS: Graham (16), Rudden (65)
DUNFERMLINE: Deniz Mehmet: Aaron Comrie, Paul Watson (Vytas Gašpuitis 85), Ross Graham: Kyle Macdonald, Paul Allan, Dom Thomas (c), Josh Edwards: Kevin O’Hara, Craig Wighton (Matty Todd 89), Nikolay Todorov (Dan Pybus 71).
SUBS NOT USED: Miller Fenton, Owain Fôn Williams (GK)
SCORERS: Todorov (30, 53), Comrie (35), Macdonald (43)
REFEREE: Bobby Madden
WEATHER: Overcast 21°C
NEXT MATCH: Premier Sports Cup; (away) v St Mirren, Tuesday 13th July 2021, kick off 7.45pm at SMiSA Stadium.
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