By Blair McNally
Partick Thistle and Dumbarton met, in competitive action, for the first time since Thistle’s promotion party on the last day of the 2012/13 season – but this 0-0 meeting provided far less Jags joy.
The first chance of the match fell the way of the home side, as expected. A powerful Joe Cardle cross landed inches away from Ross Docherty’s stretching foot as Maciej Dabrowski parried away the resulting bounce.
In the 25th minute Thistle nearly broke the deadlock. An experienced Richard Foster, filling in at left back, found James Penrice in a lovely exchange, however, the latter dragged his effort narrowly wide of the right post.
The continued intensity caused problems for The Sons as the former Dunfermline link-up of Cardle and Ryan Williamson came close to lighting the spark on numerous occasions.
Thistle eventually had the chance to get the goal they certainly deserved, five minutes before half-time. A Foster volley from a Brian Graham knockdown was judged to have hit the hand of a Dumbarton player whilst goal bound, resulting in David Lowe pointing to the penalty spot.
A confident Graham stepped up to the spot and was denied by a remarkable save. The rebound fell back to the Jags striker with only a tap-in needed, however, he blazed over the bar from five yards.
The second half was a continued tale as Dumbarton were pegged back, still defending well as a pack, limiting Thistle to any real chances. In the 55th minute Graham had yet another chance as he struck the post after a flick from Joe Cardle’s inch perfect corner, leading to a yelp that could be heard the other side of Firhill.
Thistle’s frustrations continued as numerous searching crosses came narrowly close to finding the pivotal player, a resolute Dumbarton side remaining strong, winning every ball fired into their 18-yard box.
There would be a final chance for Graham at the death as a searching cross the back post left him with a free header in the Sons goalmouth area. That man again, Dabrowski, produced another heroic save to make sure of the clean sheet.
In the end a frustrated Thistle headed home with a point, the Sons holding out well in great fashion. Here are three things we learned.
Dumbarton should hold their heads high
The Sons once again showed they can compete with the top teams in this league which could go a long way come the end of the season.
A dominant performance against Falkirk paired with today’s convincing defensive display means Duffy’s men should hold their head high and aim to build on such positive performances against other teams.
Promise in Maryhill
A swing of two wins and a draw has turned things around for the Maryhill team. After today’s result they will need to retrace their steps to the pre-season goals set and place their sights back on promotion back to Scotland’s second tier once again.
Rivals Falkirk, Cove Rangers and Airdrie have been the ones at the top in recent weeks, but with a bit of luck their way, Thistle look very likely to challenge this season after yet another dominant performance.
It didn’t happen in attack for Thistle in this one. Numerous chances were missed as they racked up over 20 shots at the net, including an open goal miss from all of five yards and a penalty.
Manager Ian McCall will look to make amends next week as the Jags look to climb closer to the top.