Clyde earned their place in the semi-finals of this seasons Challenge Cup with a 1-0 victory over a resilient Ayr United side.
The Bully Wee received a pre-match boost when Dougie Imrie was named in the starting line up. It has no doubt been a difficult few days for Dougie and reports earlier in the day suggested he was not in the right frame of mind to start the game. The home support cheered when his name was announced prior to kick off and Dougie responded with the kind of display that has endeared him to the Clyde faithful this season. He worked tirelessly on the left flank with endeavour and skill, and he was a major factor in Clyde overcoming a hard working Ayr team.
Joe Miller made four changes to the team that started against Hamilton on Saturday. David Hutton made his debut and Ryan McCann, Stephen O'Donnell and Gary Arbuckle were all given starts as Joe went for a more attacking formation.
Ayr suffered a blow before the match when their leading goal scorer Jerome Vareille failed a late fitness test and was forced to watch the match from the stand.
Clyde started brightly but both teams failed to settle and struggled to keep a hold of the ball in a high tempo first half. There was little football played on the deck and Ayr coped well with the high balls up to Ferguson who was working hard to lead the line without much reward. Frustration probably got the better of the Clyde number 9 and in the 26th minute he was booked after a tangle with an Ayr United defender.
The first attempt on target came on the half hour mark after good work from Imrie on the left wing resulted in the ball falling for the impressive Ryan McCann on the edge of the box. His shot bounced awkwardly in front of the Ayr goalkeeper McGeown who managed to collect at the second attempt. The Clyde players, much to the consternation of their manager, maintained the high tempo with a number of quick free kicks and corners that failed to produce any more shots on target.
Clyde improved in the second half and occasionally managed to get the ball down and play some football. In the 51st minute the Ayr goalkeeper McGeown was left exposed when Arbuckle intercepted a short back pass. McGeown appeared to trip the Clyde forward in the box but Kenny Clark saw it differently and booked Arbuckle for diving.
The breakthrough came in the 60th minute. Clyde were putting pressure on Ayr and after some good work on the right wing the ball broke nicely to Paul McHale on the edge of the box. The Clyde captain struck the ball hard and low into the corner of the net.
In the 81st minute Dougie Imrie latched onto the end of a pass in the box. The Ayr player Mark Casey slid in and appeared to win the ball cleanly, however, Kenny Clark pointed to the spot and awarded Clyde a penalty. Stephen O'Donnell stepped up and saw his penalty well saved by McGeown who dived low to his left to keep the Honest Men in the game.
Overall it was a poor game but a decent performance against lower league opposition who have already knocked out Livingston and Queen of the South in previous rounds of this competition. Joe Miller can now look forward to a semi-final place and, more importantly, taking the team's winning form in the cup into their league campaign.