Dundee 1 Partick Thistle 3 - Brian Graham nets double at Dens as Jags beat second-placed Dees in promotion race
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Partick Thistle boosted their Championship promotion hopes with a vital 3-1 victory over second-placed Dundee at Dens Park last night.
Frontman Brian Graham scored twice in either half to give the Jags a two-goal lead in Tayside before Jordan McGhee trimmed the deficit with 10 minutes remaining after firing home Ben Williamson’s cross.
However, Harry Milne wrapped up maximum points for the visitors less than 60 seconds later when he raced clean through on goal before finishing low past Adam Legzdins to move the Firhill club to the cusp of the play-off places.
The result saw fifth-placed Thistle move within three points of the Dark Blues who trail leaders Queen’s Park by four points having played the same number of games.
Since taking interim charge of the Maryhill side following Ian McCall’s dismissal, club legend Kris Doolan has now registered two wins and a draw. He said: “I’m absolutely delighted and I am really proud of the players because this isn’t an easy place to come. I think we all know how well the boys can play but tonight they out-worked Dundee and their quality shone through.
“We scored our goals at the right times when we were on top and, more often than not in the Championship, if you get your nose in front then you normally go on to win the game. Those chances will come along because of the type of players we’ve got on the pitch and when you look at the goals we’ve scored, they’re all good finishes. They’re well-worked so it’s great to see the things we’re identifying really paying off.
Asked if he would consider accepting the role on a permanent basis should he be offered it, Doolan responded: “I haven’t thought about the future. We have a day off on Wednesday and I will enjoy that. I’ll actually see my children so my wife will be happy about that!”
The out-of-form hosts, who have now picked up just a solitary point from their last three league games, started slowly but neither side could create many clear-cut opportunities. It took until the 25th minute for the match to produce it’s first attempt on target when Kyle Turner’s free-kick from 25-yards flew narrowly wide of the post with Legzdins rooted to the spot.
At the opposite end, visiting goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon was called into action to save Paul McMullan’s low effort at full stretch before the opening arrived after 41 minutes.
The impressive Turner’s corner was headed down into the path of veteran striker Graham, who rifled home from close range.
Dundee came close to equalising on the stroke of half-time when Sneddon fumbled the ball from a corner, allowing captain Ryan Sweeney to connect but his header was blocked by a Thistle defender and referee Don Robertson’s whistle was met by a chorus of boos from the frustrated Dees support.
The home side improved after the interval and Zach Robinson passed up a decent chance when he fired straight at Sneddon shortly after the restart before Graham’s tame volley from six-yards out was comfortably saved by Legzidins.
Graham doubled his tally with 15 minutes remaining to the delight of the travelling fans as Dundee failed to clear another Turner corner. The 35-year-old found himself unmarked at the back post to prod home.
Five minutes later, Jordan McGhee gave the home side a lifeline when he found the roof of the net from substitute Josh Mulligan’s knock down after clever play on the left from Rangers loanee Ben Williamson.
However, that glimmer of hope was immediately extinguished within a matter of seconds as Harry Milne rounded off a quickfire attack with a composed low finish past Legzidins into the net to ensure the Dees night went from bad to worse.
Dundee continued to probe for a route back into the contest in the closing stages and Sneddon had to be alert to turn Alex Jakubiak’s shot over the crossbar but Partick managed to see the game out and secure a vital three points to move them level on points with Morton and Ayr United.
Furious Dark Blues boss Gary Bowyer was surprised by his side’s lack of intensity and hunger after they failed to cut the gap on Queen’s Park at the summit. He said: “It’s not good enough. The goals we conceded are atrocious. You can’t put in displays like that.
“Then we get back into the game at 2-1 but to concede so quickly is criminal. The ease in which they score goals all night is not good enough. It’s not acceptable and we told them that. Partick deserved it, they were better than us all over the pitch. The performance came right out of the blue – you look at how well we played on Saturday. We let them get into a rhythm.
“I asked the players if I missed something, if something happened over the weekend that we weren’t aware of, some in-house fighting or something but they said no. We went through the same preparation so hopefully we can just put it down to one of those days. We need a reaction now.”
Dundee (4-2-3-1): Legzdins, Kerr (Jakubiak; 82), Sweeney, McGhee, Hannant (McCowan; 64), Ashcroft, Robinson, McMullan (Mulligan; 45), Cameron (Anderson; 65), Clampin, Maguire (Williamson; 65)
Unused: Sharp (GK), Marshall, Fisher, Tolaj
Partick Thistle (4-5-1): Sneddon, McMillan, Milne, Turner (Mackenzie; 81), Tiffoney (Mullen; 82), Bannigan, Graham (Hodson; 84), Lawless (Fitzpatrick; 64), McAvoy, Muirhead, Docherty
Unused: Mitchell (GK), McKinnon, Owens, Lyon, Stevenson
Referee: Don Robertson
Attendance: 4,622 (323 away)
GlasgowWorld Man of the Match: Brian Graham (Partick Thistle)