On Tuesday afternoon at the Highland Football Academy the Ross County Development squad suffered a 3-2 loss in a thriller of an SPFL Development game which they might have won on any other day.
A lively opening period saw Partick Thistle earn a corner which was well cleared by Ross MacIver. And a great saving tackle from Tom Grivosti on Thistle captain, Kevin Nisbet, rescued what would've been a 1-on-1 with County keeper, Ross Munro.
As the game wore on - seeing Thistle’s Aidan Fitzpatrick and Neil McLaughlin replaced by James Stokes and Connor Higgins due to injury - Stuart Kettlewell’s charges settled into it. On 19 minutes centre half and captain, Sam Morrison, rattled the Partick post with an overhead kick from a corner.
Five minutes later Thistle’s Nisbet struck the County post after a lovely through ball from Mark Lamont. The breakthrough came on the half hour mark, though, when Tom Grivosti put through his own goal after reacting to a brilliant drilled cross from the visitors’ Ross Fleming.
As the first half wore on the Young Staggies pushed for an equaliser and a Russell Dingwall cross forced a corner from which Nathan Turner shot directly at the Thistle stopper.
Just before the break Reghan Tumilty had a chance to level too, but was deemed to have fouled the keeper, and soon after County left back, Kyle Johnson, was injured in a tackle and was replaced by Jack Murray.
County came out in the second half with the bit between their teeth and less than ten minutes after the interval Greg Morrison equalised with a lovely cushioned header from a pinpoint Tumilty cross. The home side looked the most likely to push on and win the game as they started to control possession and on the 63rd minute Morrison shot just wide and Tumilty saw his shot sting the keeper’s palms.
It was MacIver’s turn to go close next but he failed to finish off a decent counter attack for the Staggies. Then Ashmore hit his powerful shot straight at the Thistle keeper after Morrison nicked possession in the final third.
When Callum Wilson put Thistle ahead again on 71 minutes it came very much against the run of play, a fact that was reinforced when, within minutes, a brilliant multi-pass move by County saw Tom Kelly drill home from 15 yards for the equaliser.
At 2-2 the game was anyone’s and, as both teams pushed for a winner, play opened up. First Munro saved well at close range from the advancing Thistle attacker before Nisbet again forced an excellent save from the young County keeper. With Mark Gallager replacing Max Ashmore, County pushed for a winner but no sooner had Morrison headed wide from close range (only to be flagged for offside) than the impressive Nisbet put the visitors ahead again.
With five minutes to play James Wallace replaced Nathan Turner and much of the game began to be played in the Thistle half. Tumilty had a great chance to equalise on 87 minutes but again the keeper found the ball coming straight to him. In the dying minutes first Dingwall then MacIver saw free kicks rebound off the Thistle defensive wall.
A late red card for Thistle’s Andrew McCarthey, for pulling back Greg Morrison as he bore down on the Partick goal, made no difference to the outcome and Thistle ran out 3-2 victors.
12. Wallace, 14. Johnstone, 15. Gallagher, 16. Murray, 17. Macbeath
12. Kerr, 13. I Stokes, 14. J Stokes, 15. Higgins