In the game of relegation poker this was a resounding victory for stick over twist. These two hugely underperforming sides went into this game without a win in their opening five fixtures and with unhappiness from their fans pouring out on every social media platform. Dunfermline decided to give Stevie Crawford – without a victory in a league game since the beginning of March – another go while Partick took the time-honoured axe to Gary Caldwell’s mostly unhappy tenure. For once patience proved to be a virtue as the Fifers ended up strolling to a dearly craved three points.
Crawford will welcome the breathing space as his side suddenly discovered how to make and take chances, doubling their goals for tally for the campaign in one fell swoop. “It gets the monkey off our back and we can enjoy our Saturday night,” he reflected. “I thought the team were together and the attitude of the boys was different class. The Championship is that tight – the games that we’ve lost there’s been nothing in them – but this allows us to kick-start our season.”
Remarkably, in view of the final outcome, only Thistle looked likely to open the scoring in the opening 20 minutes, but when presented with a number of plausible openings someone invariably lost his balance or a final pass was just too rushed.
Dunfermline were barely seen as an attacking force in the early stages so there was a degree of astonishment when they snatched the lead out of nothing. Aaron Comrie burst down the right flank, squared across the box and Kevin Nisbet hit a crisp first time shot beyond Scott Fox.
The hosts were shell-shocked and within ten minutes any confidence they had built up during the early stages disintegrated when Ryan Dow ploughed upfield and sent an angled drive into the bottom corner of the net to double the visitors’ advantage.
The interval probably couldn’t come quickly enough for Gerry Britton and the rest of Thistle’s stand-in management team. Whatever words they imparted, it all unravelled almost immediately on the restart as Kyle Turner thumped a 30-yard shot towards the Partick goal which took a devilish deflection to end up in the net. The gleeful Dunfermline fans could barely believe their eyes.
It would have been an act of mercy for their opposite number if referee Euan Anderson had called a halt there. Alas the Thistle fans had to endure more than half an hour of their side’s utterly feckless attempts to recover anything from this game. Whoever takes over the reins at Firhill has one heck of a job on his hands.