The tide appears to be turning at Alloa as Clyde recorded their third consecutive victory there. However there was a heavy price to pay with the sending-off of Bryn Halliwell and a probable 3 match ban that leaves the management with a goalkeeping headache. Clyde began with their usual team and formation apart from the inclusion of Harty playing tucked in behind Keogh and McConalogue. Kernaghan was on the subs bench as was Gilhaney.
Clyde began knocking the ball about brightly enough but against Alloa's defensive formation little happened for the opening 15 minutes. The game was brought to life when McConalogue was played through with only the keeper to beat. He seemed to scuff his shot and it rebounded off the post to safety. As if to make up for the glaring miss he carved out another chance for himself minutes later and unluckily saw it come off the face of the post as well. A surging break by Ross saw him brought down outside the box and the Alloa defender was fortunate to remain on the park as he looked to be the last man. In the final 15 minutes of the half Clyde ran out of ideas and Alloa at last came out of their defensive shell. Little was getting through to trouble Halliwell though and in fact Alloa's attacking ambition was to lead to Clyde's first goal. Just before the interval Alloa moved men up for a set piece. Fraser broke the move up and quickly put Clyde away on a 3-on-3 break. The ball was swept into the box and McConalogue stooped to put a diving header into the net from around the penalty spot much to everyone's relief.
Clyde didn't make any changes after the interval and began quite strongly. An angled drive from Ross was tipped around the post by the Alloa keeper as more goals looked possible. Sadly after the initial surge the game seemed to be going nowhere as Clyde struggled to break down Alloa and Alloa seemed determined not to be caught out again by pushing too many men forward. Gilhaney replaced Harty to try and introduce some spark into the game but sadly the sparks were to appear in the Clyde goalmouth. An aimless cross was plucked out of the air by Halliwell under a typically niggly challenge by Gareth Evans. Both fell to the ground and, as seems inevitable with Evans, a scuffle developed. Halliwell lunged at Evans and the experienced forward made the most of it. Whether Halliwell had connected or not, Hugh Dallas had seen enough intent and showed the red card (and a probable 3 match ban!) and gave Alloa a penalty. So Clyde's very young substitute keeper, Clark, was given a baptism of fire as McConalogue was sacrificed. He got something on the penalty but it had enough power to find the corner of the net. Suddenly Clyde were at panic stations and a couple of flaps from the keeper allied to some farcical defending turned the game very much in Alloa's favour. To his credit Clark did have one great save when he turned a cross/shot onto the face of the crossbar. Clyde's response was some very tame shots from Millen and Keogh as extra time and a probable defeat on penalties looked inevitable. To their credit Clyde gathered themselves and put Alloa under the cosh for the final 5 minutes. Millen came close with an angled drive and Hagen's shot from the edge of the box went through about 6 sets of legs before it went just wide. Then in the dying seconds Gilhaney was sent away down the left. He held the ball up and cut inside before laying the ball into the path of the advancing Fraser. His 20 yard drive crashed into the roof of the net and sent everybody home happy.
Overall this was a bit like a lot of games last season. Clyde were hardly playing the 'beautiful' game for large periods of time but they held it together and emerged with a victory. Halliwell will have to learn the hard way to curb his macho posturing and Clyde now face the first month of the season with a goalkeeping problem. Still it could have been worse as at least nobody sustained serious injury.
STAR RATINGS *****
Halliwell * Little to do but the red mist descended and off he went.
Mensing *** Steady enough at the back.
McLaughlin *** Fine game on the road to recovery.
Potter *** Solid stuff in the middle.
Fraser **** Industrious and a great goal to round it off.
Ross *** Quiet first half but always looked for action in the second.
Hagen *** Busy first half but faded in the second.
Millen *** No sign of age catching up yet
Keogh ** Bit of a struggle and tired towards the end.
Harty ** Not a sniff at goal - probably in wrong position.
McConalogue *** Excellent goal and some fine turns and runs.
Gilhaney *** Up to the expected standard.
Clark ** Nervous start (can't blame him!) but settled down to his task.
ALAN KERNAGHAN - "We were very poor today. We started ok but we took way too long to get the ball forward, and our deliveries - especially from corners and free-kicks - weren't good enough. There is a lot to improve on. Having said that, they never threatened our goal at any stage.
"This time last year we would have been on the opposite end of that result, and it shows that the players have great character, but in general terms we'll have to pick things up in a big way.
"John Fraser was probably the best player on the pitch today so it was fitting that he got the winning goal.
"Bryn's red card was stupid and he will be fined two weeks wages. He says he didn't touch him but he took a swing. Allan Morrison is a while away from match fitness yet but Charlie has come on and done a great job for us."
TERRY CHRISTIE - "The first half was played at a great pace and Clyde were excellent. We were second best and they were very unlucky with a shot that hit the post, so I thought that 0-0 would have been a big bonus at half-time but we lost a late goal due to an individual error. Both teams tired in the second half and the game looked to be over until their keeper has done something pretty silly. At 1-1 I thought we were going to go on and win the match but another individual error has cost us."