Match Report by Alex Cormac. Photo by @TommyTaylorPTFC via Twitter.
Thistle Weir looked to secure promotion to the SWPL 2 with victory against Blackburn ladies knowing that failure to grab all three points would leave the door open to Queens Park to snatch that spot away from them.
Thistle got the game underway at Lochinch Pavilion in Pollock Park and immediately applied pressure to their opponents. Both Mhairi Hawksworth and Loren Christie had shots from within the box saved by Blackburn keeper Aliyyali Aziz within the first five minutes.
It wasn’t long until Thistle had their first goal of the game with Christie making a surging run down the right-hand side, beating her defenders and cutting inside before slotting a well-placed shot down past the keepers right in the 8th minute.
This goal seemed to wake the Blackburn players up as they looked to push on and get out of their own half. A foul just outside the Thistle penalty area in the 10th minute allowed Jade Farquhar to have a pop at goal that was gathered by Thistle keeper Nicolle Andrews.
Thistle would respond however with another powerful run from Christie down the right, opening up a chance for her to shoot. Aziz did well to get down and collect the ball just on the line but not one minute later Thistle came again this time with Yasmin Boyce making a good run down the right-hand side playing in Hawksworth who then rounded her defender and powered a shot straight past the keeper to give Thistle a 2-0 lead in only the 16th minute.
There was a worrying moment for both teams later in the half as Jade Farquhar went down holding her ankle after what looked like a nasty tackle from a Thistle defender. She was able to return to the pitch a few minutes later but clearly was feeling the effects of the tackle. While all the attention was on this incident just outside the Thistle area, Boyce was being treated in the Blackburn half for a head injury and subsequently taken off after an earlier head collision seemingly led to her losing vision in her left eye.
Play continued and the remainder of the half saw Thistle pushing hard for a third goal before the half-time whistle. Captain Rebecca Richardson made a brilliant run deep from her own half getting through the entire of the Blackburn midfield before taking a speculative shot that went straight into the hands of Aziz.
There was also a couple more chances for Thistle before half-time and Christie again was causing problems down the right-hand side having one shot saved by the keeper from just inside the side of the penalty area and then one more just before half-time sent flying high over the crossbar.
It was more of the same in the second half as Thistle continued to exert their dominance. Taylor McGlashan had a header saved from an in-direct free-kick just four minutes into the half. But Thistle would have to wait until the 61st minute to grab their third goal.
Natasha Farew had a brilliant shot from about 30-yards out bounce down from the underside of the crossbar and narrowly land just on the wrong side of the line. The following counter attack from Thistle resulted in Loren Christie trying her own luck from a similar distance and blasting a shot past the Blackburn keeper to show Farew how it was done for her second of the afternoon.
With the result all but sealed Thistle appeared to then relax and start playing the ball around more comfortably.
Thistle substitutie, Debra McLeod, would fire a fabulous shot from just outside the area powerfully past Aziz for what had to be the goal of the game. This the set up to start what would be a dominant last ten minutes for Thistle that highlighted exactly why they deserve their place in SWPL 2 next season.
In the 83rd minute Christie would secure her hat-trick after being left in acres of space inside the Blackburn box following poor defending. It was clever play between Lawton and Christie who dutifully slotted home past the keepers right for 5-0.
Christie wasn’t contempt with just three goals however as she would bag herself a fourth and Thistle’s sixth of the game after a poor back pass from the defender allowed her to snatch the ball and again put it into her favourite spot low into the bottom left-hand corner past Aziz to round of a truly brilliant display from herself and the Thistle Weir team.
After the game chant’s of “Thistles going up” could be heard as the players fully appreciated what they had just achieved today. Queens parks 5-2 victory at Cumbernauld showcased exactly why Thistle had to be on their game today and they certainly were.
After the match Captain Rebecca Richardson and quadruple goal-scorer Loren Christie were in high spirits when asked how it felt to earn promotion in such fashion. “Absolutely phenomenal, no better feeling what-so-ever!” said Richardson/
Christie herself expressed her joy for the team and her feeling of redemption after bagging the four goals.“I think just after all the hard work this season it’s good to come out with; I know it’s nervy at the end of the season on the last day but it’s good to come out with a win like that. You can’t beat that feeling.
“I feel amazing, I feel like I’ve made up for all the sitters I’ve missed this season, so I think putting it in the last day is not too bad.”
Manager James McCafferty and Head Coach Beth Adamson were both full of praise for the team with McCafferty saying: “I’m really proud of the girls they’ve worked really hard all season and to be honest they’ve deserved it today…”
Adamson was equally as excited about the potential the team has for next season in the Premier League: “I think if we go into next season with the same group of girls we’ll do really well, they work hard and they have a great desire and they’re passionate about Thistle. Going into next season I think it’ll be exciting I don’t think you can look at that table and can say anybody’s going to win it or anyone won’t do great so it’ll be great to be in amongst that and go for three points every game.”