Mensing Potter McLaughlin
Ross Millen Fraser Hagen
Gilhaney Keogh McConalogue
SUBS: Cosgrove, Morrison, Bossy (Fraser 85), Baird (Gilhaney 80), Shields.
With results like this we obviously don't want the season to end. The big question about today's encounter was could Clyde perform without Kernaghan directing operations at the back? The answer was an emphatic yes. Either Clyde are really quite a competent side or Ayr are a poor team. It's probably a combination of both but this was an unexpectedly easy 3 points considering the injustice felt by Ayr during our last encounter a few weeks ago.
Clyde reverted to the 3-4-3 again with Potter stepping into Kernaghan's boots. He was flanked by Mensing and McLaughlin while up front the productive trio of Keogh, McConalogue and Gilhaney were tried once more. It didn't take long for Clyde to show their intent as a after 2 minutes Gilhaney broke down the right and floated over the perfect cross for McConalogue. Sadly for him he missed the target with his free header. Minutes later McConalogue was put clear but pulled out of a 50-50 with Nelson in the Ayr goal. One sage noted that Neil Hood would have put both ball and keeper into the net. Ayr couldn't mount an attack as Clyde pulled the Ayr defence all over the pitch and eventually the breakthrough came. A cross was nodded down by Keogh into the path of McConalogue and he steadied himself before sidefooting the ball past Nelson. Ayr were all at sea as twice more McConalogue was clean through but on both occasions he couldn't lift the ball over Nelson. It took fully 30 minutes for Ayr to mount some pressure as McLaughlin in particular began to look very nervous with poor passing and bad decisions. As is often the case Clyde soaked up the pressure and ran up the pitch to score the second. This time David Hagen drove into the box from the left. In heavy traffic he let fly but didn't connect properly and possibly with the aid of a deflection the ball squirmed past Nelson and trundled into the net. As half time came Clyde were 2 goals up and coasting.
Clyde didn't make any changes at half time and within 5 minutes had sealed the game with another goal from McConalogue. A seemingly aimless punt up the park from McLaughlin was latched onto by McConalogue and he lobbed Nelson from outside the box with a really cool finish. After that Clyde reverted to type and withdrew Keogh into the midfield and allowed Ayr to come at them. Ayr kept trying with Whalen in particular having several attempts on goal but they were all tame and easily dealt with by Halliwell. Clyde stroked the ball about neatly at times but without Keogh up front there was no target to aim for. With time running out Bossy replaced a tired Gilhaney and Baird got his debut in a Clyde shirt.
Overall a very easy win with Potter and McConalogue having great games. Just why Clyde go into their shell when 3-0 up remains a mystery. Today also proved that Clyde can cope without the presence of A.K. at the back and to Halliwell's delight they can also keep a clean sheet.
STAR RATINGS (*****)
Halliwell **** Dealt with everything although there wasn't much.
Mensing *** Reasonable game but passing a bit wayward today.
McLaughlin *** Looked a bit nervous and distribution was woeful at times.
Potter ***** Excellent defensive play in the middle of the back three.
Fraser *** Quietly effective in snuffing out Ayr's midfield.
Ross *** In a game made for his forward raids he didn't do much.
Hagen *** Scored but again not seen much going forward.
Millen **** A fine example to others on how to press the opposition.
Keogh **** Played well both in the front and in midfield.
McConalogue **** Fine cool finishes but a touch of aggression wouldn't go amiss.
Gilhaney *** Buzzed about as we now expect him to.
Campbell Money - "We were well beaten by a better team today. The three goals we lost were pathetic. The last one sums it up - they had one player up the park and we had four guys round about him, and he still had time to bring the ball down and score. Our players learned a lesson today, but there's nothing positive I can take out of the game. Clyde are playing well and with confidence so it was going to be hard enough without missing every single tackle."
Alan Kernaghan - "I'm delighted, it was a really professional performance. Everyone wrongly thinks I've been the difference in the team, so I was delighted to see the back three defend really well today. It's our first clean sheet for a while. I might get dropped now, the Chairman says he's had an offer for me and they're listening to it!! We said before the match that is was important we didn't just get remembered for the last two games as opposed to the 34 before that. The players responded really well, from the word go we were magnificent from back to front."
"Stephen McConalogue was superb today. We will have to look into his future at the club, I have yet to sit down and talk to him as with a number of players. On today's showing he did really well though."
"Gilhaney was superb again today and we're fortunate to have him. He's kept his momentum going from his first game which is superb. I'm not worried about the attention he is getting."
"At 3-0 up we had a chance to give John Baird ten minutes and a wee bit of experience. He came on and ran around with getting many touches, but he will have enjoyed it."
"I expect us to go anywhere and win. The players should have no doubts of their own ability, and not be scared of anybody. Our target is to finish first next season, it's as simple as that."
Bryn Halliwell - "We came here today knowing what we had to do. They had a great win during the week and probably thought they could do a job in their last home game. We knew if we got the first goal early on we could push on and make it quite easy. I was a bit silly in the second half, because if they had scored I would have looked a bit stupid. I was just giving the fans a little bit of fun; it's been a long season. It won't be happening next season though! The Manager likes to keep people on their toes, but we had Andy on the park and everyone talked to each through the game rather than listening to Alan all the time. I'm pleased with the clean sheet, we haven't had many this season. If we can get another one next week we have second place, so that's my aim."
Scottish League Two
Saturday, 31st January
3:00pm kick-off at Ochilview