By Blair McNally
League One promotion rivals Partick Thistle and Airdrieonians played out an end-to-end encounter at Firhill as a Blair Spittal wonder-strike proved the difference in a 2-1 Jags victory.
The home side started in similar fashion to previous weeks, holding possession but producing no end product. The first chance of the day fell to Airdrie’s Craig Thomson in the 12th minute, dropping to him on the edge of the box with a free shot at goal, but he failed to hit the target.
Chances continued for the Diamonds 10 minutes later, a goalmouth scramble from a corner had the Airdrie directors on edge of their seats, Thistle’s defenders eventually managing to clear. Thistle finally broke through on goal in the 27th minute with a Shea Gordon knockdown playing Murray in on goal, bringing a remarkable save out of Airdrie’s Max Currie.
Airdrie deservedly took the lead in the 36th minute. A cross from the right looped over the Thistle backline, leaving former Hearts striker Dale Carrick free at the back post to head home into the bottom left corner of the Jags goal to make it 1-0.
A controversial Thistle equaliser followed shortly after as two appeals from the Airdrie players were ignored. A through ball on the right found Gordon in on goal as the Airdrie players stopped to claim an offside call. Gordon looked over at the referee who waved play on, which led to Brian Graham slotting calmly past the keeper to level the score. Thistle went on to dominate the half as Airdrie’s high press loosened off after the equaliser.
Ian McCall’s men started the second half the better of the pair as the Firhill boss opted to use the wings again, identical to the Queen’s Park game, after a diamond formation in the first half didn’t have the desired effect. Murray caused problems on the right wing from the off, creating several chances with crosses, the pic of the bunch coming to Gordon who was found free and headed wide.
The Jags nearly took the lead soon after. A thrashing strike from a clearance fell to Spittal on the edge of the box who cracked the frame of the goal with a sweetly struck shot. In the 59th minute Airdrie were again controversially denied an important decision in the game as the ball dropped to Gallagher in front of the Jags goal. He was met by a desperate sliding challenge from behind by Rhys Breen, sending the Airdrie players bonkers after it was waved away.
Thistle went on to break from this tackle. Spittal found plenty of room on the left wing to cut inside and emphatically curled the ball into the top right corner leaving a stretching Currie no chance this time. In the end a dominant Brownlie display helped Thistle cling on to a one goal lead, much to the dismay of Airdrie, who may feel an equaliser was deserved, after missing several chances. Here are three things we learned.
The first half of this game was a continued pattern for Thistle as they failed to create any promising chances and fell on the back foot to an energetic Airdrie side, who looked keen to build on their 2-0 win over Peterhead last week.
The Jags will need to start faster and avoid going behind to poor goals but they’ll be pleased with three points regardless.
Airdrie confident and energetic
After a summer of heavy recruitment from Scotland and abroad, the Diamonds looked a real threat in the first half and could have easily been 2 or 3 ahead.
Despite this defeat there are plenty of positives to take away for Ian Murray and his men as they may feel deserving of a draw and were at the receiving end of some controversial decisions by the officials.
No game will be easy this season
After a 1-0 defeat and a narrow victory, Thistle have rapidly found out that if they are to win in League One, they will have to be at their near best. A Spittal wonder-strike proved the difference today. Thistle were pegged back for much of this game and things could have been a lot different at full-time on a different day.