No. of Shots
Shots on Target
|Goals||Doolan (9, 78)||McKenzie (38)
21: Jamie MacDonald, 12: Darryl Westlake , 06: Mark Connolly ,
18: Lee Ashcroft, 03: Steven Smith, 04: Jamie Hamill (17: Aaron Splaine 80)
14: Mark OHara, 23: Greg Kiltie (09: Kris Boyd 69), 07: Rory McKenzie,
11: Kallum Higginbotham , 28: Josh Magennis.
Alan Walker @ Firhill
After a battling performance against champions Celtic midweek, around 1500 Killie fans made the short journey up the M8 to see the team match up against Thistle. Optimism was running high and the thought of coming home with the first three points of the season seemed very likely in many Killie fan’s mind. Thistle, however, had other intentions.
Killie started the game, with O’Hara in place of Robinson, much the same way they did midweek: dreadfully. Thistle were first to every loose ball, dangerous in the attack, and knew that by getting in the Killie players’ faces, opportunities would arise.
One such opportunity came in the 9th minute. A Killie throw-in deep in their own half was headed around a couple of times before Thistle pumped an aimless ball towards Doolan. Ashcroft missed his clearance header allowing Doolan to nip into the box with the ball. Captain Connolly breenged in, as is what is becoming an all-too-familiar sight, and was easily side-stepped by Doolan who then picked his spot to MacDonald’s bottom-right hand corner. 1-0 Thistle and another early goal conceded by Killie.
Kallum Higginbotham was given a decent reception from his ex-team’s supporters; however they were not so cheery when he picked up a booking immediately after the goal for some less-than-sporting elbows to his old team-mates. They’d be even less welcoming to Higginbotham by the end of the game.
Killie were being overrun across the pitch in the first thirty minutes, with Booth, Doolan, Lindsay and Welsh having shots blocked or saved by the impressive MacDonald as they peppered the Killie goal. One such blocked shot fell kindly to goal-scorer Doolan at the end of the six-yard box, however he could only turn the ball on to the outside of the far post.
Steven Smith was having a decent game in defence and showed his attacking attributes on the 35th minute in Killie’s first meaningful foray up the pitch. Jamie Hamill, who had been toiling for most of the half, laid the ball off to Smith on the wing. His first time low cross to Josh Magennis allowed the midweek scorer to try for two in a row. However, his shot was straight at ‘keeper Cerny for an easy save. Mark O’Hara’s header on the rebound was also easily saved.
Not to be outdone, MacDonald had a great save with his trailing foot from a Lawless shot after some fine trickery on the wing from Thistle’s Amoo.
Killie did learn one thing from midweek though, and that was how effective a quick freekick can be. Not unlike the goal they conceded on Wednesday, Panenka showboater Kallum Higinbotham took a quick free-kick form the half way line which sailed over the Thistle defence and on to the on rushing Rory McKenzie. McKenzie showed great composure and natural talent to bend the ball past Cerny to equalize for Killie with only 8 minutes of the first half to go. Let’s hope Magennis is learning from McKenzie as well as Boyd.
Killie ended the first half on a high with a shot from Smith being saved when it was destined for the top corner, and Magennis hitting the post.
Into the second half and Killie started brightly, with both Magennis and Higginbotham having shots, although both missing the target, Magennis’ excruciatingly so. Magennis and McKenzie then both had a couple of shots on target, but were easily saved by Cerny. Killie were putting real pressure on Thistle and it paid off on the 65th minute. O’Hara bustled the ball of young defender Liam Lindsay and was through on goal. However, while trying to atone for his slack possession, Lindsay tugged O’Hara back and conceded the foul. The red card followed the whistle blast.
Killie didn’t capitalise on their numerical advantage, although both Higginbotham and O’Hara came close with shots. Thistle weren’t out of the race though, and a cross in from the right (where Thistle were getting the lion’s share of possession) allowed Gary Fraser a shot at MacDonald’s goal. The ‘keeper was well beaten but the ball smashed off the crossbar.
Thistle kept at it and were awarded for their attacking play on the 78th minute. With time to kill in possession on the right, a cross was whipped in for Doolan to casually slot past MacDonald while the Killie defence stood motionless, but with their hands in the air in appeals for offside. The goal stood and Killie found themselves back to square one, although with an extra player to help the cause.
Thistle’s lead lasted only seven minutes. Following a corner, Higginbotham found himself with another opportunity to cross from the right. Boyd, on for Kiltie on the 69th minute, found himself a little space to head past Cerny. You don’t need to teach an old dog new tricks, when the old tricks work so well.
So after four games, it’s two defeats, two draws, ten goals conceded, four scored with four different goal scorers. Not ideal for Killie who still sit bottom of the table, but they have shown real resilience to come back from a goal behind four times in two games. Now to sort out the problem of conceding those goals in the first instance, particularly from ex-Killie players. Oh, look who we have next…
All images © Sandy Ferguson and should not be reproduced without his permission