Bathgate made their first away trip of the new season with a short trip to Polbeth. Despite being out nice and early for a good warm-up the team were very slow to start as Polbeth were quick out of the blocks and tested the Bathgate defence with a couple of good early chances.
Bathgate almost snatched a lead after 10 minutes when a long range shot from Sean Southall came back off the bar. With the keeper beaten, the rebound came quickly to Glen McMahon but he was only able to direct his header over the bar. Polbeth then took the lead just after the 20 minute mark when a ball into the box was only partially cleared and fell to the Polbeth midfielder on the edge of the area who directed a low curving shot past Gordon Clark in the Bathgate goal. It was to get worse for Thistle a short time later when a long ball caused indecisiveness between defence and midfield that allowed the Polbeth striker the chance to seize the ball and run in and bury a shot past Clark.
It was only after this that Bathgate seemed to realise that they were in a game and had a succession of chances. Neil Davey had a back post header hacked away as it made its way too goal, then a poor clearance from the keeper saw Mark Neil race in on goal but pull his shot wide. After that a nice move saw the ball played to Southall who got a cross in which Davey was almost able to take advantage of following a bit of hesitation from the Polbeth defence. Southall again had a chance when he drove a low shot across the face of goal with nobody there to take advantage of it.
The second half presented Polbeth with an early chance that saw Bathgate’s defence exposed and a cross in which the striker headed wide when he could have done better. The game settled into a variety of half-chances for both teams before Bathgate gave themselves a chance when a free-kick broke to Dean Byle in the box who had a shot which McMahon was able to bundle in on his first start of the season after suspension.
That was as good as it got for Bathgate with the best chances falling to Grant McDonald with a header wide from corner, and then a fine Michael Tugman free-kick from long range which struck the underside of the bar and was cleared to safety. It wasn’t all Bathgate though as Polbeth also created chances as near the end as Thistle pushed forward in search of an equalizer.
Overall, a disappointing result and one which leaves Thistle still looking for its first 3 points of the season.