Web reporter Martin McConnell gives his take on Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Firhill, our second successive 2-2 draw there with Eamonn Brophy having netted three of our four goals….
Firhill Stadium, Glasgow
Saturday 15th October 2016 at 3pm.
Partick Thistle 2 Hamilton Academical 2
We made as good as start to a match as we’ve done in a long time. In what was a thrill a minute ride that at times saw any pre match game plans go right out the window, as both sides gave it everything in an attempt to take something from a game that swung one way then another. It was played like a typical old fashioned cup tie.
Accies peppered the Thistle goalmouth with plenty of chances before Massimo Donati eventually opened the scoring for Hamilton on 12 minutes. But despite being well in front on anyone’s score card, they went into the break 2-1 down after allowing Thistle back into the match with a couple of soft goals.
Come the second half Accies survived a couple of early scares to make a few changes just after the hour. And it was one of those changes, Eamonn Brophy, that showed remarkable skill and composure to slide the ball past the keeper and in at the back post to rescue a point for his side.
Accies boss Martin Canning said “It’s another one of those games for us where we go 1-0 up and with the opportunities we’re creating, we can probably find ourselves further ahead. I’m standing saying the same thing to you. You could take my interview from last week and the week before and I’m just repeating myself.
“We’re playing well and creating lot of chances but not taking the points, which we need to do. Today is slightly different, we’ve gone behind and managed to come back, so it feels like a better point. But again, I think we’ve got to take three. In that first 20-25 minute spell, we could have been two or three nil up and the game would’ve been dead and buried. We didn’t do that and kept them in the game.”
Accies made four changes to their starting line-up, with two debuts (Woods and Sowah) and three making a start for the first time. Lennard Sowah started in place of the injured Dan Seaborne, Rakish Bingham for Louis Longridge and Gary Woods in goal for Remi Matthews. And not forgetting Massimo Donati back in the side for Scott McMann.
Rakish Bingham had a fantastic opportunity to open the scoring in 45 seconds without a Thistle player taking a touch, when he volleyed inches wide from 12 yards. Within minutes Grant Gillespie then sent a powerfully placed header just wide from a perfectly placed Alex D’Acol cross.
Docherty went close with a 20-yard strike wide of the post, then sent in a looping ball for D’Acol to test Scully with a headed effort. But Thistle did eventually succumb when skipper Massimo Donati was in position to head in at the near post from an Ali Crawford corner kick.
It didn’t look as if the 1-0 lead would last for long when Kris Doolan found himself one on one with Gary Woods, but the keeper managed stand his ground to block his ten yard strike. But the equaliser did come when Ryan Edwards knocked the ball over the line from an unkind and fortunate deflection.
The match really opened up with loose balls aplenty as the match went from one end to the other, but it was Scully in the Thistle goal who really earned his money. Firstly, saving from a Bingham strike, then another D’Acol header and finally parrying away a 30 yard Ali Crawford rocket.
As the approach of the half time whistle drew near, Thistle began to edge themselves on top and managed to take full advantage when Abdul Osman jinked one way then another before swinging the ball into the near post for Liam Lindsay to nod the simplest of headers over the Hamilton goal line.
It was almost 3-1 Thistle inside the first minute of the second half after the ball broke for Chris Erskine to blast at goal from eight yards, but Woods parried to safety. The danger didn’t end as Thistle went close moments later when Kris Doolan’s shot across goal inched agonisingly wide of the back post.
A barrel load of goals looked likely when the match opened right up once again. After some great play down the left from Accies, the ball came inside to Alex D’Acol. His shot was sliced across goal and a Thistle defender went close to equalising for Accies when his clearance skimmed the cross bar.
Thistle had a chance to extend their lead when Erskine sent a great ball through for Doolan, who had managed to sneak behind the Accies back line. With only the keeper to beat from 10 yards, the Thistle striker showed a little too much of the ball and Woods made another save to keep his side in the game.
With 15 minutes remaining, the ball broke too Darian MacKinnon on the edge of the Thistle penalty area but sent his shot sailing wide. But the equaliser did come when Eamonn Brophy got onto the end of an Imrie ball forward to skilfully roll it past Scully.
The end to end nature of the match had the fans hearts in their mouths, and more goals seemed likely. And within a minute of pulling level they’d almost gone behind once again, when Christie Elliot blasted a back post header on target giving Gary Woods only a fraction of a second to make the save.
Thistle: Scully, Booth, Lindsay, Osman, Doolan (Azeez 73), Erskine (Elliot 77), Lawless (Amoo 65), Barton, Devine, Edwards, Gordon. Subs Unused: Stuckmann, Welsh, Wilson, McDaid.
Goals: Edwards 20, Lindsay 42.
Accies: Woods, Gillespie, Imrie, Docherty (McMann 76), D’Acol (Kurtaj 74), Crawford, Bingham (Brophy 62), MacKinnon, Donati, Sowah, Sarris. Subs Unused: Thomson, Redmond, Longridge, Want.
Goals: Donati 12, Brophy 81.
Cautions: Sarris, Docherty.
Referee: Greig Aitken. Assistants: Gavin Harris & Gordon Crawford. 4th Official: Euan Anderson.
Attendance: 2843 (330 Accies, including the West Ham supporters team who had travelled north to play our fans from the Vaults in a cup tie, our fans winning 10-2).