Partick Thistle made it five league wins on the bounce today with a goal in either half against a scrappy Accies side at New Douglas Park.
A first half goal from Conrad Balatoni and a fantastic strike from super sub Christie Elliot with only a few minutes of the game remaining means Partick Thistle still remain only two points behind top of the table Morton.
Partick Thistle made one change from its comfortable win last weekend at home against Dumbarton by bringing back Chris Erskine into the team with James Craigen moved to the bench. Hamilton also made just one change from its draw away at Cowdenbeath last weekend by bringing in Louis Longridge with Andy Ryan moving to the bench.
The game kicked off in horrendous conditions with sleet making the playing surface almost unplayable. The first chance of the match fell to Hamilton right-back Ziggy Gordon who had a powerful shot on the edge of the box deflected off a Partick defender before crashing off the post.
Accies were getting the rub of the green early on and could have taken the lead had someone got on the end of a great cross from the line by Stevie May however Scott Fox jumped out from his goal to catch the ball.
Next to pass up a chance at goal for Accies was Fisher on 18 minute when he found himself with plenty of space in the Partick box but could only shoot wide.
Patrick’s first real chance of the game didn’t come until the 39th minute, Steven Craig made a howler of a miss when he volleyed wide from 5 yards. The Partick captain was set up perfectly after Cuthbert’s save from a Lawless strike meant he only had to bundle the ball into an empty net however he panicked and blasted it wide.
However he was left off as Partick took the lead a minute from half time through Conrad Balatoni. A Forbes corner was whipped into the near post where the midfielder was to chest the ball down and into the net to put Thistle in front at the break.
Into the second half and Partick had a penalty claim on 49 minutes when a Walsh cross seemed to have being handled by Ziggy Gordon however Finnie the referee waved away the Thistle players protests.
Hamilton could have equalised with an hour gone, a Stevie May cross found Fisher at the back post who played the ball back to captain Alex Neil who fired in a shot but it only managed to deflect off the chest of a diving Partick defender.
Cuthbert managed to make a couple of great saves on 68 minutes first from Steven Craig then from Steve Lawless who was found at the back post but could only lash his shot off an incoming Cuthbert.
Young Christie Elliott joined the action with ten minutes to go and nearly had a goal three minutes later when his shot from eight yards out was tipped over the bar by Cuthbert.
But the super sub was not to be denied as he scored a minute later. Elliott came in from the goal line, turned Ziggy Gordon before unleashing a cracking strike from 18 yards which curled into the side net past a helpless Cuthbert to seal the three points for Partick Thistle.
Next up for Partick Thistle is the rearranged fixture away to Cowdenbeath this Tuesday while for Hamilton Accies are also on their travels as they head to Livingston this Tuesday.
After the game Hamilton manager Billy Reid was happy with the performance but not losing the goals: “I thought it was a good game, I thought the first half was a right good game. It was a very even first half, off the two teams I thought we started really well, hitting the post and they weren’t really getting into it. But obviously to lose the goal from a set piece a couple of minutes before half time was frustrating for us because other than that I thought we matched Thistle in every department. It was a real kick in the teeth and it took us a while to get back into it second half. The second goal was a great finish.”
Partick Thistle interim manager Alan Archibald said today’s result was vital for their promotion push: “It was a pretty even game. For the first 40 they dominated and coped with the conditions better than we did. I thought we were slow starting but in the second half I thought we won the battle in the midfield and that’s how we won the game. It’s a very hard place to come, we have already lost here twice one nil and they makes things very difficult. It was a vital result.”
Hamilton: Kevin Cuthbert, Ziggy Gordon, Grant Gillespie (Stephen Hendrie), Martin Canning, Mikey Devlin, Jon Routledge, Louis Longridge, Gary Fisher, Stevie May, Alex Neil (Ali Crawford), Darian Mackinnon (Andy Ryan)
Subs not used: Scott Christie, Jonathan Page
Partick Thistle: Scott Fox, Stephen O’Donnell, Aaron Sinclair, Ross Forbes (James Craigen), Aaron Muirhead, Conrad Balatoni, Sean Welsh, Stuart Bannigan, Steven Craig (Kris Doolan), Steve Lawless, Chris Erskine (Christie Elliott)
Subs not used: Glen Daniels, Alan Archibald
Referee: Stephen Finnie