It was another disappointing defeat, with a performance very similar to that seen at Palmerston on Tuesday night. Again we got ahead, again we blew our lead but again we could have no complaints. Thistle could have been out of sight before half-time and how they didn't equalise before the 80th minute is a mystery. I don't feel the normal low I do when we've conceded a late goal because you could see this coming. It was not a surprise that we lost.
We have two weeks until our next game and you wonder what will have happened by then. The pressure on Danny Lennon has increased even further and you wonder if that will be enough to force the board to act. If not, then he has to get back to basics and get the problems sorted. Stop playing people out of position. Play our strongest team and system, regardless of loan situations. For starters, get Gary Teale and Paul McGowan back in the team. Neither started today, Teale dropped to make way for new signing Stephane Bahoken in the only change from the midweek defeat.
In fairness he did nearly score inside the first 10 minutes. Steven Thompson's flick-on looked a lost cost but Bahoken outmuscled Conrad Balatoni and then got a shot away that passed Scott Fox, before Balatoni managed to get back to clear it and deny the Frenchman his dream start. Worryingly, Thistle looked the better side without managing anything more than some poor shots from miles out. Ours weren't much better - Bahoken's two being awful with Conor Newton failing to cause Scott Fox any problems in between.
Baird was giving us problems, the offside flag saving us on a few occasions, and we had a penalty scare when he hit the deck after a challenge from Goodwin. With Willie Collum in charge it wouldn't have been a surprise to see it given, but Collum indicated for a goal-kick. Bahoken and Kenny McLean both failed in their bids to force a loose ball towards Fox's goal as they got in each other's way before a good through ball from McLean found the forward, who shot wide from a tight position.
Thistle were getting plenty of corners but were unable to do anything of note with them until Aaron Taylor-Sinclair flashed a volley a few yards wide. James Craigen should then have done far better than head over when Stuart Bannigan's cross found him unmarked in a great position. There was still time for another huge let off as a free-kick wasn't dealt with properly and Baird headed the ball back down for Lawless, whose bouncing volley went wide, before Baird just failed to get onto the end of a cross when a touch would have forced it over the line. All in all a good half for Thistle and a poor one from ourselves.
Teale came on for Bahoken at the break - a strange move as while we needed Teale, the forward wasn't the obvious candidate to come off. Baird should have put us a goal down within minutes of hostilities resuming when McLean's dreadful pass went straight to him, but he lifted the ball over both David Cornell and the goal. Perhaps that was the final wake-up call we needed as within seconds we were in front - Teale exchanging passes with Gary Harkins who released David van Zanten. His cross in found McLean and it looked like his shot would be dealt with by Fox, but somehow it ended up going under him and we could celebrate a rare lead.
Craigen should maybe have drawn his side level when he sent a header wide, although it was a difficult chance and he was quite far out at the time. Baird, who'd been causing us problems, was surprisingly replaced by Kris Doolan after an hour, while we finally introduced McGowan at the expense of Harkins. It was still Thistle who looked most like scoring, Cornell beating away Craigen's shot and Doolan heading wide, before we managed a chance when Teale's put a free-kick into the box and McLean, at full stretch, sent his shot over. Thistle took the American football approach with their next free-kick as Ross Forbes replaced Isaac Osbourne and set his sights, but it was poor and Cornell dealt with it comfortably.
We should have had a second when Thompson made his way to goal after a poor Thistle pass, but he opted to pass to McGowan - who complicated things further by trying to pass back to Thompson. Unsurprisingly, the chance was gone and Thistle began to push once more, Higginbotham's shot fizzing over and Doolan drawing a decent save from Cornell. Lawless was replaced by Christie Elliott who fancied his chances with a shot from the edge of the box that McAusland headed away. We just couldn't cope and it was no surprise when Thistle finally drew level with 10 minutes left, Higginbotham exchanging passes with Stephen O'Donnell before bending a fine shot past Cornell.
That was bad for us, but worse was to follow a few minutes later when Thistle completed the fightback, We'd already had the warning when Cornell saved from Doolan but once again it wasn't heeded and Forbes pinged in the winner from the edge of the box with little more than five minutes to go. It had been another poor Saints display and we'd rarely looked like getting a second, so there was no great surprise that the Jags had turned it round so quickly - in fact, the only shock was it had taken them so long to score. The response involved putting Caprice on for McLean before Thompson headed straight at Fox, Thistle then nearly adding a third when O'Donnell flashed a ball across goal that Doolan almost got on the end of.
Full-time was unsurprisingly met with boos. Who knows what the fortnight until our next game will bring - hopefully firm answers one way or the other than needless speculation.
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