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Ross County 0 v 0 Clyde

Match Type: Scottish Cup
Venue: Victoria Park
Date: Saturday, 5th February 2005
Kick Off: 3:00pm
Attendance: 1,629
Referee: H Dallas
Ross County

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Ross County   Clyde
Stewart Halliwell
Yellow Card Lauchlan Mensing
Robertson Bollan Yellow Card
McCulloch Balmer
Canning Potter
McCunnie Sheridan (56) Yellow Card
Cowie Burns
(73) Rankin Gibson
Tiernan Jones (89)
Yellow Card Winters Malone Yellow Card
Burke Harty
Malcolm Wilson
Garden Morrison
Higgins Arbuckle (56)
(73) Kilgannon Bryson
McGarry Bradley (89)

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Bryn Halliwell was once again outstanding for Clyde with a string of superb saves in a goalless Scottish Cup draw at Victoria Park but his defensive colleagues were also at their efficient best as Clyde brought the Scottish Cup fourth round tie back to Cumbernauld for a replay on 16 February.

County’s Don Cowie and John Rankin both tested Halliwell in the first ten minutes as the home side dominated the opening stages. Clyde created their first effort on goal after fourteen minutes when Eddie Malone picked out Graeme Jones just outside the box but the experienced English striker dragged his shot wide of target.

Another former St Johnstone player, Eddie Malone, was proving to be a real threat on the left and he was next to test Colin Stewart with another long-range hit that the keeper did well to hold.

Clyde were gradually gaining the ascendancy and almost took the lead in the twenty-third minute when Graeme Jones played in Jimmy Gibson who rode two County challenges before picking out Ian Harty. Harty’s set-up pass was perfect for Simon Mensing whose pile-driver was expertly tipped around the post by Stewart.

On the half hour Clyde went even closer to opening the scoring and when Alex Burns did well on the right before delivering the ball into the box. The cross eluded the diving Stewart and Eddie Malone, sliding in at the back post for a tap-in, just failed to connect from six yards.

The best chance of the first half fell to the home side’s captain just before the break when pivot Jim Lauchlan's touch from a Rankin free-kick hit the woodwork ands went over from just five yards out.

Alex Smith’s men were coming back into it just before the break and in the forty-second minute Alex Burke's curling free-kick brought out the best in Bryn Halliwell who pulled off another stunning save.

After Jones had steered a shot just wide for Clyde, Halliwell kept the Bully Wee level with yet another great save. John Rankin's dipping shot, taking an awkward deflection and heading for the top corner, was somehow clawed round the post by the First Division’s best keeper.

At the beginning of the second half County made a real push to win the tie with Rankin, Winters, Burke and Cowie all having cracks within a couple of minutes. Most of these efforts on goal were from long range but Rankin was again denied by Halliwell in the fifty-first minute when his well-hit shot took a deflection.

Clyde had to make a change with Gary Arbuckle replaced cold-victim Darren Sheridan in the fifty-sixth minute and the sub immediately enlivened proceedings. Six minutes after coming on Gary jinked past Mark McCulloch on the right wing, drilled a low shot that was parried by Stewart and the County keeper did well to also deny Arbuckle the rebound.

Bryn Halliwell had to be alert again in the sixty-seventh minute when David Winters' back-header almost looped over him and into the net. At the other end Simon Mensing got on the end of an Arbuckle cross but bulleted his header over.

In the last minute, County were perhaps fortunate not to be reduced to ten men when Jim Lauchlan pulled down Eddie Malone inches outside the box. Some of Clyde players contended that Lauchlan was the last man. It was an isolated attacking incident in a final period where the avoidance of losing became the predominant feature as both team managers’ post-match comments suggested.

“This is a difficult place to come,” said Billy Reid, “and as the game went on I was willing to settle for a replay. Bryn does it every week for us and I wouldn't swap him for any other keeper in this league. He's now had sixteen clean sheets in twenty-six games, which is incredible. But it's not just down to him. We defended brilliantly as a team and now we've got a home tie to reach the quarter-finals.”

Alex Smith also praised Bryn Halliwell. “The keeper definitely kept them in it but the game was end-to-end and in trying to win there was a danger we could have lost it. The last couple of minutes seemed to last forever; I think I stopped breathing at one point.”