Jags stung by an­other late come­back

By Graeme McGarry Kil­marnock Partick This­tle

Sunday Herald - - 19.03.17 SPORT -

PARTICK This­tle sup­port­ers could prob­a­bly do their blood pres­sure a favour by leav­ing matches a few min­utes early. I sup­pose we should be grate­ful that the Firhill side seem de­ter­mined to go out of their way to keep the race for the top six in­ter­est­ing, but even by their stan­dards, the man­ner in which they let vic­tory slip from their grasp here would have been hard to stom­ach.

Chris Ersk­ine had the visi­tors ahead with a lit­tle over 20 min­utes re­main­ing with a goal that had been com­ing since the start of a sec­ond

Phalf that This­tle had dom­i­nated. No one could have pre­dicted what would hap­pen next though, as the nor­mally re­li­able Cerny han­dled a pow­der-puff shot from Con­nor Sam­mon like a salmon on a trawler deck, let­ting the ball squirm from his grasp and nes­tle into the bot­tom cor­ner of the net.

That is suc­ces­sive weeks now that This­tle have blown win­ning po­si­tions late on, but de­spite their ob­vi­ous frus­tra­tions, no one was point­ing the fin­ger at their crest­fallen goal­keeper.

“To­mas has been out­stand­ing and has saved us points into dou­ble fig­ures in the last two sea­sons,” said his man­ager, Alan Archibald.

“It’s one er­ror and, hope­fully, that’s him done – I don’t re­mem­ber him mak­ing one at all last sea­son.”

Kil­marnock had started brightly, and Sean Longstaff al­most re­deemed him­self for wear­ing gloves on a positively balmy Ayr­shire af­ter­noon by fir­ing an early shot just over.

One of Lee McCul­loch’s trade­mark ‘conga cor­ners’ al­most paid off as Scott Boyd broke free from the line of play­ers on the edge of the box to head to­wards the top cor­ner, but Cerny was able to tip over, be­fore Christie El­liott did enough to de­flect a Sam­mon ef­fort over from a cou­ple of yards out. The visi­tors were grow­ing into the game as the half wore on though, and Ste­vie Law­less looped a shot over Fred­die Wood­man on the bounce that crashed back off the face of the cross­bar.

It was This­tle who were in the as­cen­dency from then on, and were able to cel­e­brate when a clever ball down the line with the out­side of his boot from Ste­vie Law­less found El­liott charg­ing for­ward, and his cross into the area was headed at goal by Ersk­ine. The ball was blocked but landed back at his feet, and he swept home un­der Wood­man.

They looked to be coast­ing to­wards the vic­tory from there, but the crush­ing blow that the 1000-plus trav­el­ling sup­port feared ar­rived with three min­utes re­main­ing, as Sam­mon hit a spec­u­la­tive shot from 25 yards that Cerny could have thrown his cap on. In­stead, he helped it into the net, and from there the home side might even have won it.

Kris Boyd had a goal ruled out for a foul, but as it was, the for­tu­itous draw was wel­comed by a re­lieved Lee McCul­loch. “In the sec­ond half up un­til 75 min­utes, Partick were bril­liant,” he said. “They prob­a­bly feel like we were a bit lucky but with the amount of hard work we have put in, I be­lieve in this game you make your own luck.”

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