Bossy Potter Kernaghan Mensing
Ross Fraser Millen Hagen
SUBS: Cosgrove, Morrison, Convery (Falconer 70), McLaughlin, McConalogue (Ross 89).
After kicking their heels for the past two weeks, Clyde were finally able to get back to league action on Saturday and did so in style taking all three points from a resurgent St Johnstone. With St Johnstone playing three up front, Clyde boss Alan Kernaghan changed to a 4-4-2 formation from the usual 3-5-2 line-up as he was worried about going man for man against the pacy Connolly, Parker and Lovenkrands.
Unfortunately the new system did not gel immediately and the home side were ahead in only four minutes. A loose David Hagen pass let in Tommy Lovenkrands down the left. The Dane's cross was left by John Potter but Paddy Connolly stole in to stab the ball home. Clyde were eager to get back on terms but only Willie Falconer tested Alan Main with a stinging shot from the edge of the box. Meanwhile, Bryn Halliwell in the Clyde goal had to look lively to keep out efforts from Lovenkrands, an Ian Maxwell header and a Keigan Parker shot after the young striker had nutmegged Fabian Bossy. Minutes earlier Parker had nutmegged Simon Mensing and went down, referee Kenny Clark though was unimpressed and booked Parker for diving. Then, against the run of play, on 29 minutes Clyde equalised. A looping cross by Hagen was headed down at the back post by Falconer and John Fraser appeared to smash the ball beyond Main. St Johnstone were shocked by the goal but tried to get back in front before the half ended. A low Lovenkrands shot was well held by Halliwell, a curling shot by Parker went just over and with seconds of the half remaining a Paul Hartley drive from fully 40 yards flashed just wide.
The Perth side started the second half as they had ended the first but with a Hartley drive going just over and a weak Lovenkrands header failing to trouble Halliwell, they were made to pay for missed chances. Ten minutes into the second half and the Bully Wee were ahead. Jack Ross swung over a free-kick from just inside the Saints half, everyone stopped apart from Mensing who sent a diving header past Main. The save of the match came in 62 minutes when Halliwell dived full stretch to tip away a 20 yard shot from Lovenkrands. The same player would be cursing 16 minutes later as the combination of the post and the big English keeper kept the Dane's fierce drive out of the net.
STAR RATINGS (*****)
Halliwell (****) Several good stops after earlier flap for opening goal.
Bossy (***) Look out of sorts early on but improved as the game went on.
Potter (***) Seemed a bit rusty but dug in well second half.
Kernaghan (****) Again led by example and won several crucial headers.
Mensing (****) Solid at left-back and a great goal but some dodgy distribution.
Ross (****) The usual from the Captain, always reliable.
Fraser (*****) Brilliant work rate while carrying an injury and superb goal.
Millen (****) Tried hard and was a nuisance in the midfield. Great cross for 2nd goal.
Hagen (****) A bad start but came on well and set up the first goal.
Falconer (****) Looking better every game - winning headers and using experience.
Hinds (***) Was very quiet and strangely ineffective on the ball.
Simon Mensing - "We are happy to go above Saints so it was a good win. To go six points behind would have hit the morale so the team showed a lot of character after going a goal down. At the goal, I saw the gap and made the run. It was good to get my head on it but I don't know where it came from. It's my third goal of the season but this was important. It did not matter who scored today as long as we won but from a personal point of view it was pleasing that I scored."
"We are capable of passing the ball around well as you saw today, but sometimes we do not get the credit we deserve. We are a side that can adapt to playing different styles of play and if necessary we can also battle for a result. But, as you saw today we do like to get the ball down and pass it about."
"To go 1 down and come back is very pleasing particularly against St. Johnstone so we have to be positive. We had a bounce game last week, with our league match off, so we cannot use rustiness as an excuse. Bryn had a couple of good saves today but the one from Lovenkrands was a match winning save. It makes things easier when the keeper can make saves like that. I scored the winning goal but Bryn's save was one which helped win the match. Bryn is the one who should get the credit for the win out of the two of us."
Alan Kernaghan - "It was a great 3 points. I cannot emphasize that enough. Had we lost today we would have been hanging too far behind everyone else. We changed our formation for the first time this season and that probably showed early on as we were a bit rusty. Not playing the last few weeks has not helped, but that is not an excuse. Still, everybody really dug in today and we scored two decent goals. I am very pleased for John Fraser to score because, as Eric Cantona says, he and Andy Millen are the water carriers and do all the rubbish that no one else likes doing."
"Front to back we perhaps did not play that well but we ground out the result. The determination to hang on at the top of the table was there to see today. It did not matter who we played today, but the three points were vital just to hang in there with everyone else."
"We changed our formation today basically to cope with 3 up front. Saints have a lot of pace and for us to go man for man on them would have been foolish."
Scottish League Two
Saturday, 25th February
3:00pm kick-off at Galabank