Dundee stage stunning comeback to floor 10-man Partick Thistle in five-goal thriller at Firhill

The Jags continue to slide down the Championship table after falling to a fifth consecutive defeat in all competitions.
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Partick Thistle allowed a two-goal advantage to slip through their grasp as Dundee staged an impressive comeback at Firhill to leapfrog their hosts in the Scottish Premiership table.

The Jags succumbed to their fifth straight defeat in a reversal of the scoreline at Dens Park in July as they slipped down to seventh spot, while the Dark Blues jumped back up into fourth.

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Two strikes from defender Harry Milne had the hosts seemingly in control at the interval, but half-time substitute Zach Robinson headed Dundee back into the game before Ryan Sweeney’s close-range equaliser hauled the visitors back on level terms.

Dundee captain Ryan Sweeney converted from close range to haul the visitors back on level termsDundee captain Ryan Sweeney converted from close range to haul the visitors back on level terms
Dundee captain Ryan Sweeney converted from close range to haul the visitors back on level terms

Thistle were reduced to ten men when Aaron Muirhead was shown a second yellow and Cammy Kerr’s driven effort ensured the points headed back up to Tayside.

Jags assistant manager Neil Scally said: “I thought we looked quite solid in the first-half and scored two good goals which was pleasing. They never really had any attempts at goal or put us under much pressure. They went for it after the break and from our point of view the first goal is a poor one to lose.

“We were under a bit of pressure at that point and when they scored a second goal and we get a man sent off, it’s obviously not ideal in the current situation we find ourselves in. We’re already down to the bare bones so to go down to ten men with still plenty of time to play wasn’t ideal.

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“The referee probably gets the big calls right, so I’ve got no complaints about that. I thought Aero (Aaron Muirhead’s) first yellow card on the halfway line was maybe a bit soft. I haven’t seen it back but the second booking didn’t help us. Dundee had the momentum at that point and then (Stuart) Bannigan goes down and can’t continue.

“I supposed the good thing for us is how unpredictable the league is. We’re not a million miles away from getting back up there and challenging, but we’ve got big players injured right down the spine of our team that we need to get back as soon as possible.

“It’s totally understandable (the fans frustration), I get where they’re coming from. What I would say, if they’re going to most of the games they’ll see we’ve been in every game, we’ve had opportunities and big moments to win games. We’ve missed a few penalties and had a few thing go against us, so we just need to hope that they’ll be patient with us. We can be judged properly when players return from injury.”

In what was arguably the biggest match of the season to date for both clubs as they looked to return to winning ways, the two side’s could be forgiven for taking a while to settle into this game. Thistle enjoyed more possession in the early stages without seriously troubling Ian Lawlor in the visitors goal.

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That was until the 20th minute when the home side broke the deadlock with their first attempt on goal. Left-back Harry Milne found himself in an advanced position at the edge of the box. He cut inside before unleashing a shot which took a slight deflection of Lee Ashcroft and looped over the outstretched Lawlor.

Defender Cammy Kerr netted the match-winner for Dundee at FirhillDefender Cammy Kerr netted the match-winner for Dundee at Firhill
Defender Cammy Kerr netted the match-winner for Dundee at Firhill

Thistle extended their lead on 36 minutes when Kyle Turner picked up a loose ball on the left and floated a pass across to Danny Mullen. The former Dundee striker cushioned a header into the path of the unmarked Milne who swept home his second of the afternoon.

Dundee had looked disorganised defensively and offered little going foward in the first-half, prompting manager Gary Bowyer into making a triple substitution at the break. He introduced former Thistle fans favourite Zak Rudden, who was continuously booed by the home support after leaving the Firhill club in controversial circumstances over an unpaid compensation fee, which led to a subsequent SPFL Tribunal.

Those changes had the desired effect as the visitors hauled themselves back into the contest after 57 minutes. Paul McMullan’s flighted cross towards the back post was met in the air by Robinson, who collided with Jags keeper David Mitchell in the process. The latter allowed the ball to spill out of his hands and over the line. Despite several appeals for a foul, referee Craig Napier allowed the goal to stand.

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That seemed to inject fresh life into Dundee and they were back on level terms 11 minutes later. Joe Grayson’s corner sparked a goalmouth scramble in the box and the ball was eventually turned home from point-blank range by captain Ryan Sweeney. Things went from bad to worse for the home side when defender Aaron Muirhead was sent off for his reaction towards Cammy Kerr in the aftermath to the goal.

Aaron Muirhead was sent off for Partick Thistle in the aftermath of Dundee’s equalising goalAaron Muirhead was sent off for Partick Thistle in the aftermath of Dundee’s equalising goal
Aaron Muirhead was sent off for Partick Thistle in the aftermath of Dundee’s equalising goal

Thistle’s misery was compiled further on 76 minutes when left-back Kerr received the ball on the edge of the penalty area before drilling a low first-time shot past Mitchell into the net, sparking wild celebrations from the 500-strong travelling support.

Dundee continued to press forward in search of a fourth goal and McMullan wasted a good opportunity as he curled over the top from a promising position, before seeing a 25-yard strike pushed unconvincingly round the post by Mitchell moments later.

Dees boss Bowyer admitted: “I didn’t think we were very good in the first-half. We made the changes, altered the shape a bit and demanded a response. There was no ranting or raving at half-time, we spoke about playing for pride and getting the next goal and we did all of those things in the second half.

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“I thought we managed the game especially well when they lost a man and went down to ten. Our fitness levels are incredible and I think that really came to the fore late on. It was a massive effort from everybody.

“We need to use this result now to really kick on. We shouldn’t have to give teams a two-goal head start but there’s a fight and a spirit in this group of players that you saw again today.”

Partick Thistle: Mitchell, McMillan, Milne, Brownlie, Turner, Bannigan (MacKenzie; 59), Dowds, McKinnon (Stanway; 77), Hodson, Mullen (Lawless; 62), Muirhead

Unused: Sneddon (GK), Smith, Weston, Akinola, Fitzpatrick, Lyon

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Dundee: Lawlor, Kerr, French, Sweeney, McGhee, Ashcroft, Mulligan (Anderson; 45), McCowan (Rudden; 45), McMullan, Osei (Robinson; 45), Grayson (Williamson; 90)

Unused: Legzdins (GK), Jakubiak, Byrne, Sheridan, Cameron

Referee: Craig Napier

Attendance: 3,046 (534 away)

GlasgowWorld Man of the Match: Harry Milne (Partick Thistle)

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