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Partick Thistle 3 - 1 Aberdeen

HT Score: Partick Thistle 0 - 0 Aberdeen

Scottish Premiership
Partick Thistle scorers: Balatoni 59, Taylor 64, Taylor 72.
Aberdeen scorers: Rooney 66.

22/02/2014 | KO: 15:00

Dons Stung by Thistle in Second Half

Derek McInnes was forced to make a change as Shaleum Logan did not travel with the side to Glasgow. Barry Robson and Jonny Hayes as expected came back into the team with Nicky Low dropping to the bench. The Dons therefore lined up in the usual 4-4-1-1 formation with Langfield in goal, Shaughnessy at right back, Anderson and Reynolds in central defence with Considine at left back. Flood and Robson were the sitting midfielders with Hayes on the right and McGinn on the left. Pawlett was playing in behind Rooney.

The game kicked off in cold and windy conditions with drizzly rain.

Partick Thistle lined up with ex Don Lee Mair in defence. The Dons had scored seven goals in there two previous league encounters so he had the job of trying to improve Thistle's fortunes. Whilst Aberdeen sat in second spot, the Glasgow side had worryingly for them dropped into the play-off spot. They had not won a home game all season which was a very surprising statistic considering the quality of football they have played at times.

The opening stages were not terribly exciting. Similar to last week, you felt the weather and heavy pitch were not going to make this a great spectacle. The first shot of the game came from Gary Fraser on 7 minutes. His effort from 25 yards was a bit of a trundler and Langfield was able to make an easy save. On 9 minutes McGinn did well to keep a Robson long ball in play and he managed to put a good ball into the box but there was no one there. A minute later Partick won the first corner of the game when Langfield was adjudged not to have kept the ball in play. Reynolds though headed the ball set piece away. On 11 minutes a promising move down the right hand side resulted in Flood doing well and getting a cross over. Pawlett challenged for the ball but he could not connect properly and ball bounced up nicely for Gallacher to claim. Two minutes later a long Langfield ball went all the way through to the Partick keeper who did well to read the situation, get off his line quickly and dive bravely at feet of Rooney.

After a slow start Aberdeen started to find their range with their passes.

On 16 minutes Niall McGinn played an excellent though ball for Adam Rooney to latch onto. The striker got to the ball ahead of Gallacher this time and after rounding the keeper he was brought down. Referee Alan Muir immediately pointed to the spot and booked the Partick keeper. A yellow card was probably right as defenders were getting back. Rooney took the spot kick last week, but with Robson back in the side he decided he was taking it. Barry as usual went for power but he did not connect properly with it and the ball was certainly not in the bottom corner. Gallacher guested correctly and in the end made a comfortable save. The keeper was unable to hold the shot and the ball bounced up. Rooney was the first player to the rebound but he failed to score as the keeper did well to get up quickly and narrow the angle.

The penalty miss seemed to knock the Dons confidence whilst it gave the home side, and in particular the home support, a massive lift.

On 23 minutes Rooney and McGinn linked up well. McGinn created a yard of space for himself in the box but Mair blocked well. On 24 minutes there was another moment of controversy. A simple long ball over the top was not dealt with by the home defence. Rooney appeared to win the ball and it clearly looked like Gallacher, who had come rushing off his line, pushed him off the ball but this time referee Muir waved play on. The players then had a verbal disagreement, Rooney was convinced though that he had been impeded. It should have been another penalty and a red card for Gallacher.

On 29 minutes the Dons won their first corner. Barry Robson curled in an in swinger but his dangerous ball was punched clear by Gallacher. Three minutes later a let off for the Dons. A cross came over from the left. The ball was headed half clear by Considine and McGinn covering in behind him had time to take a touch but he rushed his clearance and the ball went straight to Prince Buaben. His first time shot though was brilliantly block by Anderson who stopped an almost certain goal. On 34 minutes Aberdeen won their second corner but Mair headed clear.

On 36 minutes another turning point in the game. After a spell of possession Joe Shaughnessy played in an excellent ball from the right. The ball landed on the head of Rooney who from close range headed the ball in the direction of the far post. It seemed almost certain he would score but Gallacher showed tremendous reactions to dive to his left and put the ball round the post.

On 38 minutes Robson had a chance to redeem himself when the Dons won a free kick 25 yards out. His free kick beat the wall but the ball kept rising and went well over the bar. Seconds later though Robson made a vital tackle as Thistle hit on the break. The ball went down the right before being played into Prince Buaben on the edge of the area. He was just away to shoot but Robson had read the situation and was able to get a foot in and make the tackle. Seconds later the ball came back over from the left and Buaben hit a powerful shot which looked to be heading goalwards but thankfully the ball hit his own player - Lyle Taylor. The pace the ball was travelling, he had no chance of getting out of the way.

On 43 minutes another good spell of possession from the Dons ended when Shaughnessy went down just inside the area but Muir waved away the appeals. It certainly looked like he was tripped. As the Dons appealed Thistle broke and Lyle Taylor showed a good turn of pace to break clear. Even with Reynolds and Hayes giving chase he managed to hold them off but as Langfield came out he pulled his shot wide. At this level you have to at least hit the target from that close.

At half time the Dons should have been ahead. It was clear though Thistle were well up for the fight this afternoon.

HT

On 46 minutes a good cross from Pawlett almost found Shaughnessy who had made a late run into the area. A minute later Shaughnessy did get on the end of a cross from the left but at the back post area he put his header wide. His reaction told you that this was a chance missed. And as it turned out it was a miss that would prove to be costly.

Partick then started to get on top.

On 52 minutes Higginbotham hit a powerful drive after the Dons failed to clear their lines. Langfield though made a great save, the Dons keeper also did really well to push the ball to safety. Two minutes later Buaben shot just wide. Thistle continued to dominate so when they took the lead on 58 minutes you have to say the goal was deserved. Again the Dons defence did not look convincing when dealing with a cross. Although an initial shot was blocked the ball fell to Balatoni who produced a very good finish into the corner of the net to give Langfield no chance.

On 63 minutes the Dons pushed for an equaliser and they had the ball in a promising area but the move broke down on the edge of the area. The ball was worked to Taylor-Sinclair who went flying down the left wing. His cross was met by Reynolds but the Dons defender mistimed his clearance and failed to connect properly. The ball went to safety but Aberdeen failed to recover the situation and when the ball was played back in Taylor at the near post was able to bundle the ball home

The home support were going wild but a minute later they were quiet again as Aberdeen pulled a goal back. McGinn played the ball into the area and Rooney was on hand to head the ball home for his fourth Aberdeen goal in five games. A very simple goal, and suddenly it was game on again. On 67 minutes McGinn had the ball in the net but Rooney though was penalised for challenge in the box on the last defender.

The Dons continued to push for an equaliser but on 71 minutes it was game over. Taylor beat Anderson, who was the last defender and from a slight angle he then fired a great shot across Langfield which hit in off the post and went into the net. A minute later, with the Dons is disarray, Taylor then missed a great chance for his hat-trick. The ball come over from the right, he was completely unmarked in the area but put his shot over the bar. By 73 minutes Derek McInnes had seen enough and made a change that saw Zola come on for Robson. The Dons took a minute or two to sort themselves out tactically and Thistle had another clear chance. Taylor was through one on one with Langfield but the keeper stayed big for as long as he could and then made a brilliant save with his foot. On 77 minutes Taylor had yet another great chance after stepping inside Anderson but he put his shot into the side netting. The home support could barely believe what they watching.

On 85 minutes the Dons made another change when Considine was replaced by Low. A minute later low's corner went right across the face of goal and incredibly no one was able to get a touch. Aberdeen had one final chance when Hayes hit a powerful shot and Gallacher could only parry but Rooney could not gather the rebound.

The Partick fans were still nervous at the end but the Dons never looked like getting anything out of this one and the home deservedly held on to claim the three points. The Dons should have been ahead at half time but Thistle's second half performance was impressive.

Partick Thistle Teamsheet
Paul Gallacher, Jordan McMillan, Lee Mair, Conrad Balatoni, Aaron Sinclair, Gary Fraser, Prince Buaben (Stephen O'Donnell 88), Kallum Higginbotham, Chris Erskine, Stuart Bannigan, Lyle Taylor (Kris Doolan 85). Unused Subs: Christie Elliot Gabriel Piccolo Steven Lawless George Moncur Scott Fox 85

Bookings:  Paul Gallacher (17),   Lee Mair (44),   Stuart Bannigan (55),   Prince Buaben (67).
Aberdeen Teamsheet
Langfield, Shaughnessy, Anderson, Reynolds, Considine (Low 85), Flood, Robson (Zola 74), McGinn, Pawlett, Hayes, Rooney.

Unused Subs: Weaver, Tate, McManus, Vernon, Smith.
Attendance: 4,554
Visitors:1,581
Venue: Firhill, Glasgow
Referee: Allan Muir