Thistle are stung by Sutton strike

A first half goal from John Sutton was enough to give Motherwell their first home win of the season over SPL new boys Partick Thistle.

Stuart McCall made changes made changes to the side who lost to Inverness with Iain Vigurs, Paul Lawson and Bob McHugh dropping to the bench in favour of Zaine Francis-Angol, Stuart Carswell and Henri Anier.

Francis-Angol set up Anier for the first chance of the match, but the Estonian scuffed wide from 20 yards.

’Well took the lead in 19 minutes, Anier created space on the right and his low cross found Francis-Angol who helped the ball on for SUTTON side-footed in at the back post.

Anier was denied by a brilliant diving save from Scott Fox as he met a James McFadden cross on the half volley.

Anier proved a real handful for the Thistle defence and had another effort blocked by Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, with his rebound gathered by Fox.

Just before the break Lee Hollis was finally called into action, but wasn’t tested by Isaac Osbourne’s volley.

’Well continued to dominate after the break as they looked for a second.

A long ball by Shaun Hutchinson was headed into the path of Anier by Sutton,but he couldn’t find the target.

Hollis had to get his body behind a fierce drive from Osbourne, while at the other end McFadden blazed wide from Sutton’s low cross and then drove forward but failed to test Fox.

A fierce cross by Taylor-Sinclair was taken off the toe of Kris Doolan by Stephen McManus while Kallum Higginbotham caught Simon Ramsden sleeping but James Craigen’s shot was blocked by Stevie Hammell.

The home side were dealt a blow as Carswell was forced off with suspected ankle ligament damage, but his midfield partner Keith Lasley had a glorious chance to make it 2-0, but one-on-one with Fox, the ’keeper saved with his foot.

As time ticked down Thistle threw everything at Hollis’s goal but ’Well were determined to keep a clean sheet.

Another block by Hammell denied Higginbotham and then McManus poked the ball behind as Balatoni looked to knock the ball in from two yards as they held on for the three points.

Motherwell: Hollis, Hammell, Ramsden, Hutchinson, McManus, McFadden, Sutton, Lasley, Francis-Angol (Vigurs 81), Carswell (Lawson 62), Anier (Kerr 73). Subs not used: Nielsen, Cummins, McHugh, Moore.

Partick Thistle: Fox, O’Donnell, Taylor-Sinclair, Muirhead, Balatoni, Craigen, Bannigan, Doolan (Baird 66), Lawless, Osbourne (Forbes 79), Fraser (Higginbotham 52). Subs not used: Gallacher, Piccolo, Elliot, Kerr.

Referee: Euan Norris.

Attendance: 5.527.