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St. Johnstone 1 v 0 Clyde

Match Type: Scottish Championship
Venue: McDiarmid Park
Date: Saturday, 27th December 2008
Kick Off: 3:00pm
Attendance: 3,491
Referee: D Somers
St. Johnstone


St. Johnstone   Clyde
(28) Milne  

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St. Johnstone   Clyde
Main Hutton Yellow Card
Irvine Lowing
Hanlon Brown (39)
Morris Higgins Yellow Card
Rutkiewicz Gibson
(61) Anderson Lithgow
(86) Swankie Trouten Yellow Card
Craig Emslie
Holmes Clarke
(86) Milne Waddell (56)
Sheerin McLaren (68)
(61) Millar Wilson
Hillcoat Cherrie
(86) Moon McSwegan (68) Red Card
(86) Jackson McKay (56)
Morgan Ruari MacLennan (39)

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by David Worton

Clyde’s recent good run of form came to a disappointing end as St. Johnstone deservedly took all three points, albeit after a fortuitous goal.

Scott Gemmill missed out through injury and his replacement from last week, Ricky Waddell, was given a starting jersey. Paul Emslie also returned in place of Marvyn Wilson who dropped to the bench. St. Johnstone have suffered from problems at left back all season and new loan signing Paul Hanlon was given the nod there, with Liam Craig returning to his natural midfield position.

One of the main features of Clyde’s draw at Dunfermline last week was an inability to deal with Graham Bayne, the Pars powerful striker. St. Johnstone have their own dominant target man in the shape of Derek Holmes and the striker’s physical presence saw him win a high ball and exchange passes with Steven Milne, before he fired straight at Hutton with the goal gaping. For the Bully Wee, the confidence garnered from a long unbeaten run was on display and pacy breaks up field saw first Alan Trouten and then Pat Clarke get in behind the Saintee’s rearguard, only for their low crosses to be cleared.

A tightly contested match was always going to be decided on who netted the first goal and Willie McLaren passed up a great chance to give Clyde the lead. Picking up the ball on the halfway line, he raced past Kevin Rutkiewicz but with only Alan Main to beat, he saw his low right-footed shot well saved by the ‘keeper. This was to prove costly in the 28th minute as St. Johnstone took the lead. Liam Craig flighted a long cross towards Holmes, who predictably headed the ball back across goal where it bounced up onto Milne’s shin and into the net. A fortunate goal but one that they probably deserved and from the aerial barrage that continued towards Holmes they almost saw Jody Morris double the lead with a low shot that was deflected wide of the post. Mark Brown was then replaced by Ruari MacLennan in a bid to get a grip of the midfield.

Clyde messed up a couple of free-kicks around the edge of the box as the half petered out but the second period saw the home side dominate possession almost from the first whistle to the last. The first real action saw Hutton foul Holmes on the edge of the box and the ‘keeper picked up the first yellow card of the match. He was soon followed into the book by Trouten and Chris Higgins for two tackles in the space of five seconds, the former deserved but Higgins once again could feel aggrieved at receiving a card. Despite the near-total domination, only weak drives by Paul Sheerin and Craig gave Hutton serious cause for concern and the goalkeeper dealt with them comfortably.

In a bid to change their fortunes, Clyde had taken off McLaren and Waddell, with Dave McKay and Gary McSwegan coming on in their places. The tactical changes didn’t make much of a difference to the flow of play but McKay did well to win Clyde’s first corner in the 76th minute. Main came to punch clear Trouten’s delivery but the loose ball fell to Alan Lithgow, who lofted his header back over the ‘keeper only for Rutkiewicz to clear from off the line.

Again, St Johnstone produced a decent amount of pressure on the Clyde goal but Holmes missed a good header chance from six yards after Gavin Swankie’s cross. That missed chance almost came back to haunt the Saints as Trouten swung in a superb cross with just five minutes left but Main reacted brilliantly to tip McSwegan’s header over the crossbar.

A final moment of controversy came when McSwegan appeared to barge Craig whilst challenging for a throw-in. The referee immediately brandished a red card, indicating an elbow had been used. Although perhaps harsh, McSwegan had been nagging at him throughout his time on the pitch and this perhaps came back to haunt him.

Despite the couple of late chances, Clyde didn’t deserve to take anything from the game. Although the defensive display was good for the majority of the match, the attacking cohesion that provided such excitement against Airdrie and Dunfermline was lacking and the team failed to cut off the dangerous diagonal passes towards Holmes from the wide areas. Still, if supporters had been offered eleven points from the next six games as the team took to the park in our last meeting with St Johnstone, nearly all of them would have accepted it.

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