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Saturday February 23, 2013

Irn Bru SFL Division 1

Partick Thistle




Erskine 76

Airdrie United


Airdrie suffered another frustrating defeat in their third visit to Firhill this season, but the Diamonds fans will be thankful it wasn't as bad as last time's record 7-0 rout.

Despite Airdrie holding the Jags for more than an hour, Chris Erskine scored a wonderful volley from almost 30 yards out as Partick Thistle kept their promotion hopes alive.

The Diamonds changed things up a bit for the game with ex-Jag Gavin Griffin starting at left-back while John Boyle returned to the starting line-up, playing on the left.

Former Albion Rovers player Steven Lawless started for the home side.

After last week's 2-2 draw with Hamilton, there were signs that the frustration had carried over as within the first half an hour three of the four defenders found themselves in the book of referee Mike Tumilty.

The only defender not booked was Chris O'Neill, who was once again impressive for the visitors. Grant Drummond who came on in the second half for his competitive debut.

In the first half Partick dominated in possession but couldn't find the killer touch.

Ross Forbes kept Celtic loanee Robbie Thomson busy, starting with a free kick just ten minutes in, which Thomson could only punch away.

One of the few Airdrie chances of the match also came from a free-kick - Jamie Bain's delivery found Gregor Buchanan who had a shot saved by another former Celtic goalie Scott Fox.

Thomson was called upon again when Stephen O'Donnell sent in a cross from the right, but it was met by Airdrie's Grant Evans. Fortunately there was to be no embarrassing own goal.

Minutes later Airdrie fans thought they had a penalty when Jamie Bain was challenged around the edge of the box, but referee Tumilty waved away claims.

Airdrie seemed to gain more confidence, and a good ball from John Boyle was cleverly dummied by Jordan Moore, leaving Liam Watt to have a chance, but the young midfielder was easily muscled off the ball.

At the end of the first half Thomson was forced into another cracking save after a header from Lawless.

Ten minutes into the second half and Airdrie showed another glimpse of what they can do on the break. But again the ball came to Watt on the right wing and his indecisiveness gave the Thistle defence time to regain the ball and clear any danger.

With a quarter of an hour to go Jags' substitute Steven Craig had his first touch of the ball saved by Thomson, who could easily have contended for man of the match.

However there was nothing the young goalie could do minutes later when the ball fell to Chris Erskine, hitting the ball on the volley from about 30 yards out it clipped the top left hand side of the crossbar and rolled in for what was to be the winning goal.

Despite some chances later on, the Diamonds couldn't replicate the previous week's injury time heroics and go into next week's game at Livingston adrift at the bottom.

Douglas Barrie at Firhill.

Photographs © Robert Dalzell. Click to view full size.

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