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Clyde 2 v 2 St. Johnstone

Match Type: Scottish Championship
Venue: Broadwood Stadium
Date: Saturday, 15th November 2008
Kick Off: 3:00pm
Attendance: 1,419
Referee: S Finnie
St. Johnstone


Clyde   St. Johnstone
(17) Clarke Craig (19) pen.
(85) Clarke Rutkiewicz (62)

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Clyde   St. Johnstone
Yellow Card Hutton Main
Lowing Irvine
(82) Ohnesorge Craig Yellow Card
Yellow Card Higgins Miller
Gibson Rutkiewicz
Yellow Card Kettlewell Anderson Yellow Card
(70) McKay Swankie (59)
Ruari MacLennan Hardie Yellow Card
Clarke Holmes (34)
(77) Lithgow Milne (90)
Yellow Card McLaren Sheerin
(70) McSwegan Moon
Cherrie Kelly
Wilson Morris (59)
(77) Trouten MacDonald (90)
(82) Gemmill Samuel (34)

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by David Worton

After last week’s dismal performance in the match against Partick Thistle, Clyde fans headed to Broadwood with some trepidation ahead of a game with league leaders St. Johnstone who came into the match on a six game winning streak. The pre-match discussion was all about an attacking team selection as Dave McKay returned to the front line and a debut for Alan Lithgow as part of a back three saw Alan Lowing and Michael Ohnesorge employed as wing-backs.

Despite the notable attacking intent, St .Johnstone started the game well and forced Clyde to defend in the early minutes of the match with Kevin Rutkiewicz heading over the bar from six yards within the first minute. Their aerial threat was clear again as Derek Holmes missed a decent chance with a header from a Gavin Swankie cross.

After his appearance up front last week, Willie McLaren saw himself withdrawn into an attacking midfield role and he proved to be a consistent threat to the Saintees rearguard along with the pace of Pat Clarke and McKay. This led to a corner that was headed clear by Holmes, only for the officials to award a throw-in to St. Johnstone. This led to an angry reaction from the Clyde bench and referee Stephen Finnie needed to calm John Brown before resuming the game.

A wise head once said that a game can change in a minute and this was proved to be correct in the 17th minute. Swankie burst unopposed into the box but his poor finish was well saved by Hutton’s foot. The loose ball was switched to the left hand side by Billy Gibson and Ohnesorge moved forward before passing to McLaren. As the ex-Saints player was challenged he spread the play to the right side of the pitch where Lowing immediately moved it on to McKay. After side stepping Liam Craig, he swung in a cross and Clarke moved across Anderson to flick home a header past Alan Main. Overall, an excellent team goal.

Sadly, St Johnstone are top of the league for a reason and their response was almost immediate. Steven Milne didn’t appear to be offering a serious threat as he moved across the edge of the penalty area, however, Lithgow felt he had to attempt to win the ball only for him to manage to kick the striker’s calf instead. A clear penalty and Craig neatly tucked it into the bottom corner past Hutton.

To their credit, Clyde stepped up to the plate and proceeded to create the best chances in the remainder of the half. McLaren beat two players before his weak chip was saved by Main. Then, a crunching tackle by MacLennan saw him win the ball inside the Saintees half and his neat through ball released Ohnesorge. The German could potentially have shot for goal but his neat pull back found Clarke who shot wide from an excellent position. Given his finishing ability, it was a golden chance. Collin Samuel then replaced Holmes who had injured himself trying to block a Lithgow clearance.

Clyde then produced another excellent move and with McLaren in behind the Saints defence and with Clarke and MacLennan outnumbering a solitary defender, it appeared that another glorious chance would be forthcoming. Unfortunately, the referee spotted an infringement by Lowing against Martin Hardie and pulled play back with the Clyde man protesting that he had been fouled first.

The second half saw St Johnstone retain possession better than they had earlier in the game but some excellent defending by Chris Higgins and Gibson kept them at bay with the exception of one drive from Samuel that fizzed past the post. A fantastic break by MacLennan then created a good chance for Clyde but the young midfielder chose to pass to McKay rather than the better placed McLaren and the chance was lost.

The Saintees then brought on Jody Morris to replace Swankie and within two minutes they had taken the lead. Ohnesorge did well to block a Samuel cross but from Craig’s delivery, Rutkiewicz beat Lithgow to the ball and his powerful header went in via the post.

Clyde struggled to work their way back into the match and brought on Gary McSwegan, Alan Trouten and Scott Gemmill in an attempt to change things; McKay, Lithgow and Ohnesorge left the field. The referee had managed to avoid showing a yellow card for most of the match but remarkably produced seven in the final 25 minutes. Craig, McLaren and Hutton all received theirs for dissent, with Kettlewell, Hardie, Higgins and Anderson committing fouls to earn theirs. Neither team created anything in this period of the game although St. Johnstone continued to have the better of the play.

However, with six minutes to go, Clyde earned the equaliser that they undoubtedly deserved. McLaren took on two players down the left hand side and his low cross into the box eluded several Saints defenders before falling to Clarke, who clinically slid the ball past Main. Samuel and McSwegan both had half chances to nick a winner but failed to seriously trouble either ‘keeper.

A point against the league leaders may prove to be crucial at the end of the season but for now, the performance is the important thing. Both goals conceded were poor but the rest of the defensive display was solid, with Higgins excelling. The midfield was well marshalled by Kettlewell, allowing the rest of the side to push forward with McLaren in particular providing a serious attacking threat. It was also a pleasing return to goalscoring form for Clarke.

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