Partick Thistle’s nine-match unbeaten Championship run ended by dominant Arbroath as Jags slip out of play-off spots

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The Jags have now failed to beat the Angus part-timers in their last eight meetings, spanning 20 years

Partick Thistle’s nine-match unbeaten run came to an end as Arbroath eased to a 2-0 victory at rain-sodden Firhill to leapfrog their opponents into third spot the Championship table.

In a battle of the two form teams in the league, the Red Lichties produced a dominant display to enhance their promotion credentials.

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The Jags had chalked up eight consecutive clean sheets previously but goals from Anton Dowds and Liam Henderson in either half saw Thistle slip out of the top four.

Despite the defeat, Jags manager Ian McCall admitted he could not be overly critical of his players.

He said: “I thought there was nothing in the game in the first half until they got their first goal.

“Arbroath deserved to win and we lost two goals from set plays, but I can’t be too hard on the players after the run we were on.

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“It’s our first defeat in 10 games. I thought we were the better side in the first half hour.”

The home side were first to threaten after 14 minutes when Kevin Holt’s Crossfield pass found the on-rushing Kyle Turner, who forced visiting keeper Derek Gaston to push the ball round his near post from his angled drive.

McCall was forced into a substitution ten minutes later when Cammy Smith picked up a knock and was unable to continue with Ross MacIver coming on as his replacement.

Thistle goalkeeper Jamie Sneddon conceded for the first time in 766 minutes right on the stroke of half time when unmarked Falkirk loanee Anton Dowds headed home a James Craigen corner.

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Lewis Mayo should have levelled the contest after 49 minutes, but he headed Scott Tiffoney’s floated free-kick straight at Gaston.

However, the part-timers created the better opportunities and Craigen somehow failed to hit the target from eight yards after Scott Stewart’s powerful drive was pushed out by Sneddon on the hour mark.

In a thrilling contest, Brian Graham then teed up strike partner MacIver who cracked a shot off the underside of the crossbar as Thistle came close to an equaliser.

The rebound fell to Turner who went to ground inside the box under a challenge, but referee Alan Newlands waved play on.

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Arbroath wrapped up the points after 77 minutes when imposing centre-half Liam Henderson rose highest to bullet a header from Michael McKenna’s free-kick into the net.

Joel Nouble passed up a glorious chance to add a third with in the closing stages as he raced clean through on goal but pulled his effort inches wide.

Arbroath have now lost just once in their last 19 games as they moved two points off top spot in the table but boss Dick Campbell insists survival is still the only target for the Angus club this season.

He said: “It’s as good as we have played this season and we utterly deserved to win the game. I didn’t see them as a threat at all. We were well on top and nobody could deny us. We were outstanding.

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“We are a unit and you couldn’t say anything negative about my team. We’re getting even closer to 40 points and once we get there I’ll tell you what’s on my mind.”

Partick Thistle: Sneddon, Foster, Holt, Mayo, Turner, Tiffoney (Hendrie; 68), Bannigan (Gordon; 74), Graham, Smith (MacIver; 25), Akinola, Docherty

Unused: Stone (GK), McKenna, Murray, Hastie

Arbroath: Gaston, Thomson, Hamilton, O’Brien, McKenna, Stewart (Gold; 87), Nouble, Hamilton, Dowds (Hilson; 73), Henderson, Craigen

Unused: Antell (GK), Swankie, Linn, Donnelly, Clark

Referee: Alan Newlands

Attendance: 2,505

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