The Saturday team began their pre-season matches schedule on a fine sunny evening in Longridge against Sunday morning outfit Meadow Park. Previous matches had seen Thistle come out on top but with a much changed squad and new management of Welsh, Pettigrew and Coyne in charge it was a chance to see if the hard-work done in pre-season so far was paying off.
The early stages saw both teams knock the ball about on a good surface without too many clear cut chances. Some good attacking play from Thistle saw some over hit balls in the final third whilst the players got the rustiness out of the boots. Meadow Park also had some chances in the early part of the game as that same rustiness extended to defence – some poor clearances, indecision and over-elaborate play being the cause.
Thistle took the lead in the 20th minute when Paul Clarkson was able to fire the ball home with some good instinctive striker play after the ball broke to him after a good attack. That settled the nerves and Bathgate were able to exert a bit more pressure and further chances arrived for Burke and Clarkson upfront but the score remained 1-0 at half-time.
Into the second half and with substitutions being made to give everybody some game time it took a while to find the second goal to kill the game off. Before that though there was further chances created and the Meadow Park keeper made some good stops from Love and Gardiner in particular. As the pressure grew on Meadow Park it was vital that the defence kept its concentration and Spence and Fannin marshalled it well. It was also noted that the long diagonal passes from Fannin, and deep crosses from Andrew McAlpine could be a useful asset once the team gels further.
The second goal arrived around the 65th minute when good work down the right saw a cutback for Gardiner to apply the finishing touch. This was followed just a few minutes later when Pollock did well to rob a defender just inside the box and drive a rising finish in off the post.
No further goals arrived despite more chances for Love and Pollock but overall a good win on the team’s first outing of the season.