Motherwell 1-0 Partick Thistle

By Jonathan SutherlandBBC Scotland at Fir Park

John Sutton netted his first goal since returning to Motherwell as the Fir Park side brushed aside Partick Thistle.

After an inauspicious start, 'Well gained the lead when Zaine Francis-Angol centred for Sutton to sidefoot past goalkeeper Scott Fox.

Henri Anier's volley was well saved as the hosts threatened a second.

Kallum Higginbotham, John Baird and Conrad Balatoni had chances for Thistle but they could not find a Scottish Premiership equaliser.

Motherwell set out immediately to use Sutton's aerial presence, with Anier attempting to work off any knockdowns, while at the other end an early cross from Aaron Taylor-Sinclair found the head of Kris Doolan but he could not direct his header on target.

The early exchanges failed to match the cracking atmosphere created by both sets of fans, with Francis-Angol's 13th-minute shot the first attempt on goal.

Shorn of the pace of Chris Humphrey down the ride, Motherwell at first struggled to open up Thistle but that changed in the 20th minute when Francis-Angol passed into the path of Sutton to fire home his first goal of the season.

After their excellent start to the Scottish Premiership season Partick Thistle were not their usual swashbuckling selves and they could have been 2-0 down when Anier's goalbound shot from the edge of the box was well saved by diving goalkeeper Scott Fox.

At the start of the second half Anier sent another effort wide, while Isaac Osbourne tried his luck from 25 yards but the ball flew into the welcoming arms of Motherwell keeper Lee Hollis.

At the other end Sutton suddenly got himself in behind the Thistle defence and cut back for Scotland international James McFadden but he pulled his shot high and wide and in 56 minutes his 20-yard shot drifted just wide.

Partick Thistle improved when their full-backs moved up the field and this put the Motherwell defence under real pressure for the first time in the match.

But it was the hosts who were next to threaten when, in 67 minutes, Anier found skipper Keith Lasley in the box but Fox again pulled off another fine block.

An effort from Taylor-Sinclair from inside the box was blocked as Partick Thistle continued to probe. Stephen O'Donnell met a Steven Lawless cross but he failed to control the ball and the chance for a clear attempt on goal was gone.

Former Motherwell player Ross Forbes came off the bench for Partick Thistle and was immediately involved with 10 minutes to play, but his shot from range, although deflected, was comfortable enough for Hollis.

Thistle's attacks were troubling Motherwell as the match wore on. Higginbotham had a shot blocked but the rebound fell to Lawless who shot wide from 18 yards.

Forbes then found substitute Baird deep inside the Motherwell box, but his shot went straight to the keeper.

Thistle were now creating chance after chance. Conrad Balatoni was the next player to come close, but his effort from inside the six-yard box was forced wide.

And despite all the endeavour Partick Thistle just could not find a way through to prevent their first defeat of the season and Motherwell held on for their second win of the Scottish Premiership campaign.

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