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  • Jags force five past Cromarty

    Robbie Ross named a strong starting XI for the visit of fellow Ross-shire Welfare side Cromarty, with only Martyn Farquhar and Darran Goller missing from the regular starting eleven. Ross named a familiar back four of Cameron, Sutherland, Arron Christie and Johnston. Making his season debut for the club, Marc Munro slotted in at midfield alongside Brand, with Durrand and Graham on the wings. Up front, Burry was paired with Daniel Christie.<br /><br />When last the sides met in August last year, Thistle were handed an embarrassing 9-1 defeat at the end of the season with Cromarty enjoying some great form and an appearance in the Cordiner and Coronation Cup finals.<br /><br />It was centre half Christie who could well have put the home side ahead after only 5 minutes, but his strike flew over the bar. <br /><br />After persistent attacks, the opener came mid way through the first half. Colin Burry, again taking up a striking role, led by great example with a terrific predator's goal on 26 minutes, first knocking a high ball beyond the Cromarty's stopper's grasp with his head, then finishing with a precise left foot tap-in to hand Thistle a 1-0 lead.<br /><br />Andy Durrand, who had the most torrid of times for most of the game where it concerned being adjudged offside by referee Dave Cowie, seemed to have scored before the whistler again pulled play back just after the half hour mark. <br /><br />History repeated itself on the stroke of half time as Kevin Graham added the finishing touch to a clever move into the Cromarty area but his goal was quickly chalked off for offside.<br /><br />Cromarty - a side usually renowned for second half comebacks - showed no sign of stunning Thistle at the restart and before long the Cromarty defence again underestimated Burry to their peril, as the forward man lobbed a ball over the top for midfielder Michael Brand to turn the ball home.<br /><br />Former Cromarty man Brian Cameron, playing at right-back for Thistle could very well have made it 3-0 with a clever cut into the centre of the park, but the defender could only fire wide.<br /><br />Between the sticks, the gaffer Robbie Ross looked comfortable and organised the defence well, having to deal with a number of challenging crosses despite not being tested with a shot on goal during his hour on the field. It was his replacement, Stephen Wemyss, who was first tested though and unfortunately for the substitute and Thistle, the shot resulted in a goal, giving Cromarty hope of a comeback at 2-1 on 77 minutes. Any chance of an instant leveller was soon put to bed moments later however, as the comfortable paws of Wemyss held a looped free kick.<br /><br />Thistle's other substitutes however, in Goller, Reid and Maclellan were quickly wreaking havoc on the Cromarty defence upon their introduction. Goller, recovering from a hamstring injury, showed no signs of letting up as he galloped into the Cromarty box on a solo run to rattle the ball home for Thistle's third.<br /><br />The third goal sent the Jags into a comfort zone and soon Maclellan had added to the tally with the easiest of finishes after the ball rebounded from a Goller strike. Minutes later, Reid added a fifth as he added the final touch to a long ball laid off by Maclellan.<br /><br />Goller could very well have added a sixth just short of time but saw little fortune in striking the ball on target, giving the Cromarty keeper a final reprieve.<br /><br />The win sets Thistle up for a final round of pre-season training to begin next week, before they head into their season opener on April 30th against neighbouring Inver.<br /><br /><b>Team:</b><br />Ross, Cameron, Johnston, Sutherland, A Christie, Brand, Munro, Durrand, D Christie, Burry, Graham<br /><br /><b>Subs (all used):</b><br />Wemyss, Wood, Stein, Goller, Maclellan, Reid<br /><br /><b>Subs (not used):</b><br />Murray<br /><br /><b>Goals:</b><br />Burry 26, Brand 58, Goller 82, Maclellan 85, Reid 89<br /><br /><img border="0" align="none" alt="" src="http://www.tainthistle.co.uk/news/data/upimages/avatar-croms.jpg">

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