Partick Thistle ground out another result at home to keep their title hopes alive as a sensational Chris Erskine volley gave them a 1-0 win over Airdrie United.
Partick Thistle started off the stronger of the two sides, penning Airdrie back in their own half for much of the opening stages but struggling to create many chances.
Their first shot came in the 23rd minute when Aaron Muirhead found space in the box from a corner but headed just over the bar.
Thistle continued to dominate proceedings but Airdrie defended solidly. Their defenders put in several heavy challenges with three-quarters of the back four getting booked before the half-hour mark.
Thistle nearly made the breakthrough in the 37th minute when Stephen O’Donnell’s dangerous ball in was mishit by Grant Evans. The defender’s clearance could have went anywhere but fortunately for him the ball went straight into the arms of Robbie Thomson.
Chris Erskine then had three good chances for the home side just before half-time. His first was a shot from just inside the box which Thomson held easily. The second came after he knocked the ball past both Airdrie centre-backs before curling a 25-yard shot at goal which went just past the post. And the third was an excellent looping header which Thomson had to tip over the bar.
The Airdrie keeper was called into action again almost straight after the restart as he made an excellent save with his feet to deny Kris Doolan from just outside the six-yard box.
Airdrie then had their best chance of the match as Nathan Blockley robbed Stuart Bannigan of the ball in midfield and ran at the Thistle defence. Blockley managed to get a shot away from just inside the box but it went just over the bar.
In the 64th minute Ross Forbes was played through by substitute Sean Welsh and had a one-on-one opportunity but he chipped the ball over the on-rushing Thomson but it went just wide of the post.
Thistle continued to pile on the pressure as Thomson pulled off another fantastic save from Erskine who got a shot away from just outside the six-yard box. The keeper was putting in an outstanding display but could do nothing about the goal when it finally came in the 76th minute. A Bannigan free-kick was nodded out of defence, before the ball fell to Erskine who hit a stunning 25-yard volley which hit the inside of the post before going in.
Thistle continued to control the rest of the match but struggled to create many chances and the home side held out for all three points, keeping up with league leaders Morton.
After the match Partick Thistle player/caretaker manager Alan Archibald said: “I said I didn’t mind winning ugly but I didn’t mean it had to happen all the time. Still it’s a great three points. We were very, very poor in the first half. We spoke about it at half-time and we felt they addressed that and they lifted the tempo in the second-half and created a number of chances in the second-half. I know the pitch doesn’t make for great football but that doesn’t excuse not having a good tempo about the game and not being up for the game.”
Airdrie United’s manager Jimmy Boyle felt his side were unlucky with the way the match panned out, he added: “We worked really, really hard. We didn’t really create a great deal but we had a couple of wee moments in the second half with a bit more of an end product could have helped us out. But, if you’re going to get beat, I don’t mind getting beat to a goal like that to be honest. But I was really pleased, to come here and defend and work the way we did was really good.”
Partick Thistle (4-1-4-1): Scott Fox, Stephen O’Donnell, Aaron Muirhead, Conrad Balatoni, Aaron Sinclair, Paul Paton (James Craigen 87’), Steven Lawless (Sean Welsh 58’) Ross Forbes (Steven Craig 72’), Chris Erskine, Stuart Bannigan, Kris Doolan.
Subs not used: Glenn Daniels, Alan Archibald.
Airdrie United (4-4-1-1): Robbie Thomson, Chris O’Neil, Gregor Buchanan, Grant Evans, Gavin Griffin (Grant Drummond 66’), Jamie Bain, Nathan Blockley, Steve Hetherington, John Boyle, Liam Watt (Jordan Kirkpatrick 81), Jordan Moore (Ryan Donnelly 78’).
Subs not used: Jack Boyle, Kenny Arthur
Referee: Mike Tumilty