’Well’s slump continues at Firhill as Jags hit three

Lionel Ainsworth
Lionel Ainsworth

Lionel Ainsworth scored a memorable wonder goal, but it was another one to forget for Motherwell at Firhill on Saturday.

After last week’s disaster against in the Lanarkshire derby ’Well were able to call upon the services of Stevie Hammell for the first time this season.

He was joined in the starting line-up by Keith Lasley, Iain Vugurs and Mark O’Brien who had recovered from injury, as had Stephen McManus who went off at half-time against Accies.

Although Thistle would eventually run out fairly comfortable winners, the match might have been very different had ’Well taken the lead in 11 minutes.

Josh Law got to byeline and crossed to the near post for Henrik Ojamaa who was waiting six yards out, but Scott Fox showed great reflexes to tip his header up onto the bar.

Former ’Well winger Steven lawless fired a warning shot inches wide and then on 16 minutes turned provider with a neat, if straight forward through ball.

STUART BANNIGAN held off the challenge of Vigurs and fired past Dan Twardzik to give Thistle the lead.

The goal had come slightly against the run of play, but gave the home side impetus and Kris Doolan showed their increasing confidence with a volley from the edge of the box that Twardzik had to deal with.

Although at the other end Fox had to look lively to deny John Sutton as he met Mark O’Brien knock-on form a Vigurs corner.

Then just before half-time ’Well put together a lovely passing move which culminated in Vigurs backheeling for Law but he curled over from 20 yards.

At the start of the second half Ojamaa chipped the ball in from the left and Sutton got between two defenders but his diving header was wide.

Ainsworth replaced Vigurs, but before he could make an impact Thistle doubled their lead on 62 minutes as Stephen O’Donnell teed up DOOLAN who fired into the net.

Twardzik pulled off a great save to palm away James Craigen’s angled effort and then on 72 minutes a glimmer of hope.

Reminiscent of his goal at Tannadice last season, AINSWORTH picked up the ball 30 yards out and lashed it into the top corner giving Fox no chance.

Within a minute Aisnworth then had a shot clawed away at the near post by Fox, as eh looked the most likely outlet for a ’Well equaliser.

However, it was not to be and eight minutes from time as they pressed for parity the back door was left open and Nathan Eccleston sent O’DONNELL free to slot past Twardzik.

The visitors continued to push, but when Fox somehow clawed a Lee Erwin hammer over the bar after it had taken a wicked deflection off Jack Carroll everyone knew it was a forlorn task.

Partick Thistle: Fox, O’Donnell, Seaborne, Balatoni, Craigen, Bannigan, Doolan (Eccleston 80), Lawless (Carroll 77), Elliot (McDaid 93), McMillan, Osman. Subs not used: Gallacher, Stevenson, Wilson, Lindsay.

Motherwell: Twardzik, Hammell (Francis-Angol 74), Carswell, McManus, Sutton, Vigurs (Ainsworth 56), Lasley, O’Brien, Law (Erwin 65), Kerr, Ojamaa. Subs not used: Nielsen, Ramsden, McHugh, Cadden.

Referee: Bobby Madden.

Attendance: 3,405.