Scorers: Partick Thistle – Fitzpatrick (17), Cardle (50), Saunders (74) and Spittal (81); Stranraer – Crossan (52)

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CLINICAL Partick Thistle ended Stranraer’s Scottish Cup adventure for another year.

The Blues put in a spirited performance, particularly after pulling a goal back to make it 2-1, but, ultimately, the home side ran out reasonably comfortable winners.

Both sides had chances in the opening five minutes with Ally Roy denied by Max Currie.

Then, moments later, PJ Crossan used his pace to escape down the left before picking out Innes Cameron in the box.

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The frontman has been in good form in front of goal and managed to turn the ball towards the target but Conor Hazard made himself big and made the block from close range.

The only goal of the first half would arrive on 17 minutes and would come for the home side.

The vastly experienced Joe Cardle, making his first start for the club, was the provider with a defence-splitting pass through to Aidan Fitzpatrick.

The 17-year-old snuck in behind the Stranraer defence and fired home – just like he did at Stair Park back in August.

Partick enjoyed plenty of the ball for the rest of the first half, with a number of shots on goal.

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However, the majority were from outside the box and proved comfortable for Currie to deal with.

Mark Lamont pulled a shot wide of the left post at the other end but Partick certainly looked the more dangerous side.

It looked like that would be the case in the second half with the home side doubling their advantage.

This time it was Cardle who got his name on the scoresheet.

He cut in from the left and his shot seemed to take a deflection to deceive Currie and find its way into the net.

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Far from being game over, Stranraer immediately hit back.

Partick failed to clear the ball from Cameron and it fell back to Crossan, who smashed home a first time effort from the edge of the box.

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The Jags sit bottom of the Scottish Championship and all of a sudden looked vulnerable.

A long ball into the box was flicked on and then fell to Jamie Hamill, who nodded it into the path of David Brownlie.

The defender has been on the scoresheet already this term but Hazard was out quick and again made the brave block.

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Lamont then saw a shot blocked but again Thistle could not clear and it fell kindly to Crossan.

He managed again to get a quick shot away but this time the slightest of deflections carried the ball the wrong side of the upright.

Unfortunately, with just over 15 minutes to go, the Jags put the game to bed once and for all.

Gary Harkins had proved a thorn in Stranraer’s side on the opening day when he was lining up for Queen of the South.

Back at Firhill for a second spell, he again played a role in tormenting the Blues, with a clever free-kick to Stuart Bannigan.

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He then hung the ball up to the back post for Steven Saunders to nod home.

It knocked the stuffing out of Stranraer and Gary Caldwell’s men added number four with nine minutes left.

The home players were queuing up in the box and when the ball was cut back to Blair Spittal, he made no mistake from six yards.

Partick were the better team over the 90 minutes, but Stranraer served up a fright along the way to give their 181 away supporters something to cheer.

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Now, attention must turn to the remaining games in League One with the Blues aiming to move up the table.

Partick Thistle: Hazard, Penrice, McGinty, Saunders, Spittal, Bannigan, Slater (Harkins 70), Fitzpatrick, Cardle (Coulibaly 85), Christie Elliott, Roy (Doolan 61).
Not used: McCarthy, Wilson, Storey and Sneddon.

Stranraer: Currie, Brownlie, Smith, Hamill, Cummins, McManus, Turner, Cameron, O’Keefe (Cameron Elliott 78), Lamont (Anderson 70), Crossan.
Not used: McGowan, McDonald and Avci.

Referee: Alan Newlands
Attendance: 2254
HT: 1-0

Photos: Bill McCandlish, Stranraer FC

Gallery 1
Gallery 2

SPFL 3L1 6474

1 Raith Rovers 28 53
2 Falkirk 28 52
3 Airdrieonians 28 48
4 Montrose 28 47
5 East Fife 28 45
6 Dumbarton 28 38
7 Clyde 28 34
8 Peterhead 27 26
9 Forfar Athletic 28 24
10 Stranraer 27 16