10-man Fife Thistle see off Glenrothes
With the weather not looking too favourable Thistle opted to switch the tie to the University 3G pitch as they looked to make a winning start to 2022 when they faced a Glenrothes side which had romped to a 4-1 victory in the reverse fixture.
Thistle were dominating the possession in the opening exchanges as they retained the ball for large periods however the possession was lacking directness with only half chances on goal from Tulleth and Harris the reward for their play in the early part of the game and indeed they were almost caught on the counter when Edmondson got in behind the Thistle defence to force a good save from Wortley.
It took Thistle until the 38th minute to finally break the deadlock when a neat turn and lay off from Tulleth set Harris up and the on-form striker did not disappoint as he rifled the ball into the roof of the net from just inside the box.
There was controversy in the 42nd minute when the referee awarded the visitors a penalty when James seemed to trip up over his own feet however the referee pointed to the spot despite there not being a challenge on him. The same player stepped up and sent Wortley the wrong way from the spot. Worse was to follow when the referee sent Thistle keeper Wortley off for comments after the spot kick leaving the home side down to 10 men with Anderson replacing him in the sticks at the expense of Gary Spence.
Thistle knew they were going to have to dig deep to get anything from the tie and came out for the 2nd half flying when firstly Gray sent Allan through on goal and although the midfielder beat the keeper his effort curled inches wide of the upright but in the 47th minute Thistle were back in front and it was through that man Harris again when an inviting ball from Bell was met by the striker who once again showed fine composure to send the ball past Brown.
Glenrothes came close to levelling the tie again in the 55th minute when they surged forward with a quick counter attack but Anderson produced an excellent stop to deny Davidson however in the 66th minute the visitors were back on level terms when Allan was caught napping allowing Forrest to deliver the ball into the box where McAllister was poised to fire home.
Despite the set back and their numerical disadvantage Thistle continued to press their visitors and within 2 minutes of conceding they were back in front when a long ball from Finlay landed in the box with Harris forcing a defender and the keeper into an error leaving him with a simple tap in to complete his hat-trick.
The effort and work rate from Thistle was commendable and substitute Rintoul was millimetres away from increasing the lead when Tulleth and Whatmore combined well to set him through on goal but although his effort beat the keeper it shaved the base of the outside of the post.
Glenrothes pushed forward in numbers for the final minutes of the game but Thistle dug in and held out to take the full points with a gritty 2nd half performance that showed a lot of heart and fight.
LM Joinery Man of the Match – Steven Harris
Team – Ross Wortley, Gary Spence (Sam Anderson 43), Liam Carson (Capt.), Fraser Spence, James Bell, Davy Whatmore, Ryan Gray, Scott Finlay, Sean Allan (David Rintoul 71), Alan Tulleth (Scott Nicolson 86), Steven Harris.
Subs not used – Aaron Leadbetter & Martin Brown
Tomorrow (Saturday) Thistle travel to face St. Monans Swallows with a 2pm kick off at Recreation Park.