Partick Thistle suffered a setback in their quest for promotion to the Championship on Saturday with a frustrating 1-0 home defeat to Peterhead.
Thistle took control of the game early on by holding onto possession and shutting Peterhead out of having any chances. Ian McCall’s side were creating nice passages of play, The Jags finding most of their rhythm through exploiting the wings and allowing both Ryan Williamson and Richard Foster to join Joe Cardle and James Penrice in bombing down the wide areas.
Arguably Thistle’s best chance of the half came when Williamson found some space on the edge of the box and fired a shot towards Joshua Rae. He could only parry it towards Cardle, but the keeper parried his shot as well in an incredible double save.
Perhaps it gave Jim McInally’s side that slight bit of hope that they needed to get themselves into the match. A few minutes later, in dramatic fashion, a fumble from the Thistle defenders gave Kieran Freeman the ball just outside the box and the full-back laid Scott Brown off to slot the ball neatly passed Kieran Wright.
Peterhead continued to batten down the hatches at the back and were very well disciplined, allowing very little by them. However, it was obvious they were still struggling to keep up with the wide areas.
Williamson was having joy on his side and Freeman was caught out a few times against his opposition. All the attack’s didn’t result in end product, much to the frustration of the Jags.
A final chance of the half fell to Thistle when Stuart Bannigan found space in Peterhead’s half and played Penrice through with a lovely, weighted ball. The winger was through one-on-one with Rae, but the 21-year-old was caught in two minds and was unsure whether to shoot or lay Connor Murray off and he ended up doing neither of the two and put the ball out for a goal kick.
Whilst the first half ended with the game played at a high tempo, the second half started off slowly. Thistle stayed in control of possession but were still struggling to break down the Blue Toon’s defence to create any real chances.
Peterhead continued to hold their discipline but were not shutting up shop just yet as they were still trying to catch their opponents on the counter to further their lead. McCall opted for Zak Rudden and Shea Gordon to liven things up, while McInally looked towards Alan Cook and Lyall Cameron to bolster his team’s chances of holding onto their win.
Thistle had a shout for a penalty with 15 minutes to play. Graham looked to have been brought down in the box, but the referee was having none of the appeals.
The home side were rushing forward to find an equaliser though. They had a flurry of chances from corners and it just looked like it wasn’t meant to be for them with multiple missed opportunities. Peterhead stayed strong to deny any chances after that, getting a hard-earned three points. Here are three things we learned.
Peterhead on the rise
Following this result, Jim McInally’s team are now fifth place in the league – one place away from a play-off spot.
This sets them in good stead as they now know they can take three points off the best teams in the league and away from their home turf no less. It will give them confidence for their tough games against Montrose and Cove Rangers coming up next.
Another clean sheet for Peterhead makes it their third of the season and it is a promising sign for the Blue Toon as they hope to kickstart a promotion challenge. Their defence was well disciplined, with Brown and McKenzie not letting any balls by them and holding strong throughout the whole 90.
Partick Thistle and aerial threat
The home side continued to launch ball after ball into the Peterhead box but very few reached a teammate or even got past the first blue shirt.
Williamson, Cardle and Penrice were all having so much joy on the flanks, but every time they wanted to play a ball in, that’s when the move was cut short. McCall will want to add end product to this approach.