Penalty save secures draw for Thistle

Aberdeen 0 Partick 0

Aberdeen 0 Partick 0

Jamie Langfield’s first-half penalty save kept the Jags’ slim chances of survival alive – and almost certainly condemned Aberdeen to the bottom six in the Bank of Scotland Premier League.

The former Dundee goalkeeper beat away Paul Sheerin’s poor effort in 35 minutes and kept the Dons at bay until the final whistle.

He pulled off a great save from David Zdrilic after the break and saw his good play rewarded with some luck as Phil McGuire missed two great chances from close range.

This result probably goes little way to revive the Jags’ season, but it certainly gave the 50-odd fans who travelled north a sense of pride, as they celebrated the hard-earned point like it was three.

Aberdeen had the first chance after Scott Muirhead showed pace and good crossing ability to cross in front of Zdrilic inside the six-yard box – but the Australian could not stretch far enough and the chance went begging.

The Jags fought back and came close in the eighth minute when Jean Yves Anis picked out Billy Gibson inside the penalty box. He leapt above Michael Hart and made good contact with the ball, but could not direct it on target.

The home side, despite missing six first-team regulars, gradually started to control the midfield area and used their dominance to create the best opportunity from open play in the first 45 minutes.

Leigh Hinds broke down the left and sent a low ball zipping through the penalty area for Chris Clark, who had peeled off to the back post.

The youngster showed great composure side-footing his shot towards the bottom corner, but was left frustrated as Ian Ross threw himself along the goal-line to block.

Steve Paterson’s side had the perfect opportunity to take the lead in the 35th minute when referee John Rowbotham awarded them a penalty in response to Adrian Madaschi’s rash tackle on Hinds inside the area.

However, recalled goalkeeper Langfield justified his inclusion by beating away Paul Sheerin’s powerful but otherwise poor effort.

Partick made a change at the interval with Italian defender Daniel Chiarini, who rejoined the club in January after short spell at Dundee United, came on for Madaschi.

Chiarini was needed almost instantly when some slovenly play from Anis allowed Muirhead space on the left – but the tall defender positioned himself perfectly to knock the low cross to safety.

Thistle made their second change in the 57th minute, introducing Andy Gibson for the tiring Jorge Cadete.

Langfield then embarked on a moment of madness which would have undid his earlier heroics by dropping a fairly innocuous Clark shot.

The former Dundee man fumbled around on the floor trying to gather and eventually did at the third attempt.

Clark was at the heart of much of what Aberdeen were doing and showed super close control to dance past four defenders en route to goal – but Hinds was unable to show such quick footwork and blundered into him as he lined up a shot.

It was all Aberdeen at this stage, although Langfield steadfastly refused to be beaten – as he showed in the 65th minute by diving at full stretch to save Zdrilic’s flick from a Kevin McNaughton cross.

Thistle resorted to underhand tactics in an attempt to stop the irrepressible Clark, who had terrorised them all evening.

As a result, Ross became the first player to go into the referee’s book for tearing him down from behind as he tried to race down the flank.

Aberdeen’s failure to turn their dominance into goals was beginning to frustrate the Pittodrie fans and Phil McGuire raised their anxiety twice in five minutes by missing from point-blank range.

After knocking Hinds’ low drilled cross wide of the post, despite being only three yards from goal, he headed over five minutes later after Zdrilic flicked a perfect ball into his path from Morrison’s corner.

Desperate Paterson introduced John Stewart for Zdrilic for the final few minutes, but it was too late for him to make an impact as the game reached the outcome of no use to anyone – a draw.

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