Jennings beauty earns Caldwell’s men draw at Firhill as three new players blooded.
- Ryan Jennings scores first goal at senior level for Latics.
- Jonjoe Kenny, Francisco Junior in starting line-up, alongside trialist John Lundstram.
- First appearance for Craig Davies as Will Grigg gets half an hour.
PARTICK THISTLE 1
WIGAN ATHLETIC 1
A much changed Latics enjoyed the toughest pre-season test to date and came away with a more than creditable draw against their Scottish Premiership hosts courtesy of a great equaliser from Ryan Jennings minutes after Steven Lawless had fired Thistle in front.
There were debuts Jonjoe Kenny and Francisco Junior after their respective loans from Everton were finalised an hour before kick off, who both began alongside their former Goodison Park team mate, England Under 19 midfielder John Lundstram, who was a trialist for Latics.
Other positives for Caldwell’s men came in the shape of a first appearance in Latics colours for Craig Davies in the final minutes, and after appearing for the final quarter of an hour against Southport, Will Grigg was given twice as long to improve his fitness. Davies’ power and movement was immediately evident, while Grigg’s trickery forged two great chances, the first well saved by Thistle keeper Tomas Cerny, while the second completely wrong-footed the Czech keeper but brushed the wrong side of the post. All good signs.
As well as Jennings, Caldwell chose to field an inexperienced team also comprising the ever-improving Jordan Flores, tonight operating in a left wing-back role, and young striker Louis Robles, whose willingness to chase after lost causes was impressive.
It was in fact Robles and Jennings who combined exquisitely for Latics’ best moment of the match in a terrific response having gone down to a very disappointing strike from the hosts just minutes earlier, Steven Lawless firing through the legs of Leon Barnett past a helpless Lee Nicholls.
Craig Morgan, Junior and Leon Barnett started the move, Barnett eventually playing a good ball up to Robles’ feet on the edge of the box. His delicate control and sharp lay-off to the feet of Jennings was inch perfect, Jennings dropped a shoulder to glide past his marker and he shot hard and low past Cerny.
Latics came close in the first half when Robles chased down the ball near the goal line and pulled it back, only for Billy Mckay to fire wide from near the penalty spot. Flores also played a neat one-two with Mckay as he drove into the box but the ball was nicked off his feet as he set up to shoot.
In the second half, substitute Max Power’s free-kick stung Cerny’s hands after more trickery from Jennings saw him upended on the edge of the box.
At the other end, an experienced back three of Barnett, Morgan and Chris McCann protected Nicholls pretty effectively throughout, although he did have to dive at full stretch to parry Stuart Bannigan’s first half drive onto the upright, and saved well from Lawless after the break.
Partick Thistle: Cerny, Elliott (Miller 64), Booth, Osman (Nisbet 78), Hendry, Frans, Amoo (Fraser 70), Bannigan (Leyden 86), Doolan (Stevenson 62), Welsh (Wilson 46), Lawless
Subs: Scully, McDaid, Penrice, McInally
Latics: Nicholls, Kenny (Chow 77), Barnett, McCann, Morgan, Flores, Lundstram (Trialist) (Perkins 46), Junior, Jennings (Davies 77), Mckay (Grigg 60), Robles (Power 60)
Subs: O'Donnell, Perch, Taylor, McNaughton (Trialist), Daniels
REACTION: Gary Caldwell reflects on draw with Partick Thistle.
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