Aberdeen close gap on Celtic with win over Partick Thistle
ABERDEEN moved to within one point of Ladbrokes Premiership leaders Celtic after battling from behind to beat Partick Thistle 2-1 at Firhill.
After a blank first-half, midfielder Steven Lawless gave the home side the lead on the hour mark with a thunderous drive and the visitors wobbled. Derek McInnes' side had passed up several chances to put the Hoops under pressure this season and it looked like another would be missed.
However, two headers in three minutes from defender Andrew Considine and striker Simon Church turned the match in the Pittodrie men's favour and bolstered their title hopes, albeit they have played one more game than Celtic.
The original match was postponed due to a waterlogged pitch and the surface was asked to withstand another deluge in the early stages, in which the Jags looked more eager. It took Aberdeen, boosted by the return of influential midfielder Jonny Hayes from a hamstring injury, some time to get warmed up.
In the 21st minute, Graeme Shinnie released fellow midfielder Kenny McLean with a perfectly-weighted pass but, under pressure from Partick centre-back Liam Lindsay, he shot weakly at keeper Tomas Cerny.
The game slowly came to life. Moments later, Hayes' angled-drive from 16 yards flew wide of the far post before Lindsay headed a Gary Fraser corner tamely into the arms of visiting goalkeeper Scott Brown.
The men from the Granite city came close in the 37th minute when Hayes' free-kick into the Thistle box was headed on by defender Mark Reynolds, with Church clipping the crossbar with his close-range shot.
Fraser had cleared the Dons crossbar earlier with a chip with only Brown to beat and, just before the break, the Pittodrie 'keeper blocked his drive from a tight angle before the Thistle player curled the shot just wide. Cerny parried a shot from Hayes at the other end just before the break.
Both teams went at each other from the start of the second-half and, in the 54th minute, Craig Storie's driven free-kick from the left was cleared off the line by the back-tracking midfielder Sean Welsh. The travelling support urged their side on, but the home fans were equally enthusiastic and roared in delight when Lawless, from 25 yards, hammered the ball high past the flailing Brown.
Aberdeen had now to contend with title anxiety as they fought back and they became increasingly disjointed. In the 68th minute, after great work by forward David Amoo in the Aberdeen area, only a great save from Brown prevented Mathias Pogba heading in a second.
The points looked to be slipping away from Aberdeen, but they dramatically drew themselves level when Hayes' cross from the left ended up at the back post, where the unmarked Considine headed in from four yards out.
The Dons fans went wild, but there was more drama just two minutes later when Church glanced in a corner from Barry Robson, who had replaced Storie, leaving Thistle stunned. Jags substitute Kris Doolan, on for Pogba, missed a great chance to equalise, dragging a shot from 10 yards wide, but Aberdeen held out for the win which puts pressure on Celtic.