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St. Johnstone 0 v 0 Clyde

Match Type: Scottish Championship
Venue: McDiarmid Park
Date: Saturday, 9th April 2005
Kick Off: 3:00pm
Attendance: 1,770
Referee: S Dougal
St. Johnstone
v
Clyde

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St. Johnstone   Clyde
Samson Halliwell
Dyer Espinola
Yellow Card Anderson Gilhaney
Cowan Balmer
Yellow Card Maxwell Potter Yellow Card
McAnespie Greenhill
Sheerin Burns
Hannah Gibson
Yellow Card McCann Jones Yellow Card
(75) Dobbie Bryson
MacDonald Harty (80)
Substitutes
Webb Bradley (80)
Cuthbert Morrison
McManus Gardiner
Sloan McKeever
(75) Hay Harris

Hide Match Report

In advance of this match, St. Johnstone’s fans had endured four defeats and a draw in their team’s previous five home games, without a single goal being scored in that period. A further ninety minutes against Clyde meant that the sequence is now six as both teams, for different reasons, gave avoidance of defeat a high priority.

The result was a not entirely unexpected goal-less draw, with goalmouth chances few and far between and most scoring attempts being restricted to long-range efforts, mostly in Bryn Halliwell’s direction.

The suspension of Darren Sheridan, Simon Mensing and Eddie Malone forced Billy Reid to make changes and in came Stuart Balmer, Craig Bryson and, making his Clyde debut, David Greenhill.

The home side got off to the better start and in third minute Bryn Halliwell was forced into an early save, palming a long-range effort round his right-hand post. The shot had come from debutant Stephen Dobbie, on loan from Hibs, and he would continue to catch the eye as the game developed.

Saints' Ryan McCann swung the resulting corner in but Bryn Halliwell was alert enough not only to parry Ian Maxwell's first header but then gather the big Perth defender's second attempt.

It was a promising but misleading start. Although for the following twenty minutes Saints looked the more likely lot, in truth both sides struggled to create chances. Then in the twenty-third minute Clyde were presented with one of the best chances of the half when a pass from Saints’ Willie Dyer, intended for Keiron McAnespie, was picked up by David Greenhill.

David released the ball into the path of Graeme Jones, who stabbed it towards Ian Harty. A goal looked to be on the cards but the Bully Wee’s top scorer dragged his shot just wide of the goal. Saints’ Ian Maxwell was then booked for a foul on David Greenhill, during the move, as the ball was passed to Burns.

At the other end, another effort from outside the box by livewire Dobbie just went wide.

Clyde won a free kick on the half hour mark when David Hannah fouled Mark Gilhaney on the edge of the box. Alex Burns, whose free kick had equalised for Clyde in the game at Broadwood three weeks earlier, took the kick again but his curling effort floated over the crossbar, without testing Perth keeper Craig Samson.

With half-time fast approaching Clyde won another free-kick following a push on Craig Bryson. Captain John Potter sent the ball into the Saints’ penalty area where Graeme Jones nodded it on for Ian Harty. Harty, an early-season Perth transfer target, did well to make space for himself but his shot was safely dealt with by Sampson.

That was the last significant action of a poor first half.

The second period began with Saints going close when McCann and Dobbie combined well on the by-line before the former whipped the ball across the face of goal where it reached McAnespie, at the back post. His first-time effort produced a good blocking save from Halliwell.

Clyde then produced an effective three-man move but it came to nothing as former Saintee Graeme Jones failed to connect cleanly with his effort.

Bryn Halliwell should have been beaten in the fifty-eighth minute when Dobbie beat Potter for pace to create the game’s best chance. From eighteen yards he fired in an effort which went just a couple of inches wide. Even wider off the mark was Saints' Peter MacDonald a couple of minutes later, when he failed to taken proper advantage of a David Cowan pass.

Ian Harty, surrounded by three defenders but as always willing to have a go, fired his effort over the bar in the sixty-second minute. Six minutes later Dobbie should have opened Saints’ account when McAnespie's corner fell to him but he blasted his hurried shot well over.

Although the second have was proving more of a contest than the first, poor finishing and misplaced passes were proving to be the game’s dominant features.

In the seventy-second minute Clyde won a free kick after a foul on David Greenhill but from twenty yards out, Jimmy Gibson’s kick sailed high over. Then Saints' sub Chris Hay had the chance to snatch a win after MacDonald beat Miguel Espinola but Hay was unable to make the required contact with MacDonald’s dangerous cross. Yet another long range effort, this time from Sheerin, was then safely gathered by Halliwell.

In the final minute Saints' Ryan McCann was booked for a flare-up after he was fouled.

Strength in depth is the accepted pre-requisite for a successful League campaign. Manifestly “strength in depth” would not be a phrase normally applied to Billy Reid’s squad, yet, in the race for second place Clyde are now six points ahead of St. Mirren with just four matches left to play.

It is truly a remarkable achievement form a remarkable group of players. As other teams with far greater resources than Clyde have discovered, the Scottish Football League’s First Division is highly competitive. Perhaps Clyde's squad lack strength in depth but there’s certainly spirit in abundance.