Martin McConnell’s report from Firhill on Saturday
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow
Saturday 14th May 2016
Partick Thistle 2 Hamilton Academical 2
We finished our league campaign in this Saturday lunchtime fixture with a well-deserved share of the points, in a highly entertaining match for both sets of fans and the neutral alike. And if a little luck had gone our way, we may have won it with the amount of decent chances created by the side in second half. And all four goals in the 2-2 draw came within twenty minutes of the kick off.
Kris Doolan opened the scoring for Partick in the 3rd minute, when his header beat Allan Martin at the back post. In no time at all, Accies youngster Eamonn Brophy squared things up from the penalty spot. David Amoo put the home side ahead again nine minutes later, before Brophy levelled things again after rounding Jags keeper Ryan Scully.
Hamilton boss Martin Canning named four changes to Wednesday night’s starting XI, most notable being Alan Martin’s debut in place of Michael McGovern. And with Danny Redmond, Ali Crawford and Greg Docherty, replacing Darian MacKinnon, Carlton Morris and Jesus Garcia Tena. While Thistle started with Gary Miller and on loan Celtic starlet Aidan Nesbitt in place of Welsh and Lindsay.
Accies keeper Alan Martin was called into action almost immediately when he had to block at the near post. Doolan fed the ball into the penalty area and the 12 yard Amoo strike was saved for a corner. From the corner kick, the Hamilton defence failed to clear and the ball was headed home at the back post by Kris Doolan.
Accies wasted no time in fighting back. Brophy had a strike blocked, Gillespie shot over the cross bar and then a Crawford free kick sailed wide. Then with only ten minutes on the clock, Accies equalised from the penalty spot after Danny Redmond was brought down by keeper Ryan Scully. The referee awarded the kick straight away, and Brophy confidently stroked the ball straight past the keeper.
Thistle threatened with a move up the left hand side, when Lawless broke through the Hamilton defence and shot from fifteen yards but Martin saved brilliantly for a corner kick. 17 year old James Penrice swung the ball in, Frederic Frans headed on, and David Amoo headed in from close range whilst indecision crept into the Accies ranks.
However the Jags lead wasn’t to last, and Hamilton pulled level for a second time. Midfielder Greg Docherty played the ball through into the penalty area for a completely unmarked Eamonn Brophy. He managed to round Partick keeper Ryan Scully and slotted the ball into an empty net for his fourth goal of the season.
Thistle used the whole park in a move that started on the right, and saw almost everyone in midfield stroke the ball nicely across the park to Penrice on the left. The Jags defender then crossed to space at the Accies back post, that Doolan met and headed just over the cross bar. In answer, Ziggy Gordon headed wide of the post and Docherty shot high and wide.
Within three minutes of the second half, Eamonn Brophy went close to putting Accies in front and securing his first Accies hat trick, after striking the upright from 22 yards. Brophy and Ali Crawford then both had long range attempts blocked. Steven Boyd shot past the back post from 8 yards with only the keeper to beat, after Crawford gathered and cut back from the bye line.
Aussie midfielder Ryan Edward and Aidan Nesbitt both managed to test Alan Martin with decent strikes from 20 yards. Then an up field Ryan Scully punt was flicked on and then gathered by Nesbitt who lobbed Alan Martin form 15 yards. Fortunately though for Accies, the ball struck the cross bar and rebounded into the awaiting arms of the Hamilton keeper.
Brophy and Gillespie combined well to pull off a nice little move after Brophy laid wide to the midfielder, gathered and then curled a shot that struck the cross bar. Nesbitt countered after managing to intercept from a Devlin clearance. He skilfully cut back past a defender, turn and curl a shot just a little high of the bar.
Greg Docherty showed that he could be light on his toes after he skipped past Penrice on the right wing. Ran with the ball to the bye line and skinned the defender for a second time, before crossing to Alex D’Acol who spectacularly volleyed over the cross bar. Gordon went close after heading over the bar, Boyd had an attempt blocked and D’Acol struck the post but was ruled offside.
Martin Canning commented, “I’ll probably sign another one year contract to play in the U20s, helping the kids and being available for the first team if needed. People tell me you’re ready to retire when pre-season makes you feel sick, but I’m not at that stage yet. I thought the game was a decent spectacle given there was nothing at stake. Performance wise both teams tried to play, and I thought we were excellent at times.
”We created enough opportunities and on another day we could have won. Eamonn Brophy scored twice and struck the woodwork twice, so he was very unlucky not to get his hat trick. But his performance all round was excellent, along with Greg Docherty who was excellent in the middle of the park. Hopefully he’ll be involved a bit more next season and hopefully they can have an impact as well. Twelve of the players today have come through the academy.”
Thistle: Scully, Miller (McInally 89), Seaborne, Amoo (Nisbet 61), Doolan (Pogba 73), Lawless, Frans, Nesbitt, Wilson, Edwards, Penrice. Subs Unused: Gallacher, Lindsay, Leyden, Pogba.
Goals: Doolan 3, Amoo 19.
Accies: Martin, Gordon (c), Kurakins, Devlin, Gillespie, Redmond (Cunningham 77), Crawford (Hughes 80), Kurtaj (D’Acol 70), Brophy, Docherty, Boyd. Subs Unused: McGovern, Tierney, Kelly, Reilly.
Goals: Brophy 10 pen, 20.
Referee: Alan Muir Assistants: Alan Mulvanny & Stuart Stevenson 4th Official: Crawford Allan.
Attendance: 2971 (376 Accies)