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Partick Thistle 0 v 1 Clyde

Match Type: Scottish Championship
Venue: Firhill Stadium
Date: Saturday, 7th March 2009
Kick Off: 3:00pm
Attendance: 3,579
Referee: M Tumilty
Partick Thistle


Partick Thistle   Clyde
  Maxwell (54) O.G.

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Partick Thistle   Clyde
Tuffey Hutton
Paton T Stevenson
Twaddle Waddell
Storey Higgins
Maxwell Brown
Archibald Lithgow Yellow Card
(56) McKeown Kettlewell (70)
Rowson Ruari MacLennan
(64) Doolan Gemmill
(74) Donnelly Tade Yellow Card
Harkins McLaren (84) Yellow Card
Kinniburgh Trouten
Hinchcliffe Cherrie
(56) Chaplain McKay (84)
(64) McKinlay Wilson (70)
(74) Akins O'Reilly

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by David Worton

After a week of poor luck, disappointing results and worrying news off the field, Clyde at least gave their fans a weekend bonus with a battling display to take a crucial three points from Firhill; their first win over an Ian McCall led Partick Thistle side.

With Billy Gibson suspended and Pat Clarke injured, Clyde was left with a weakened squad but there was the pleasing boost of a return for Ricky Waddell who replaced Gibson in the starting line-up. This saw Mark Brown move to sweeper and Gregory Tade return to the middle of the pitch alongside new skipper Stuart Kettlewell. Fortunately for Clyde, Thistle were missing their own key players with John Robertson and Liam Buchanan missing out through injury.

Thistle started the match knowing a win could move them level with St. Johnstone at the top of the table and a set of rousing pre-match announcements appeared to have an impact as they dominated the first 20 minutes. Their first effort on goal saw left wing-back Mark Twaddle rise above Tony Stevenson but his weak header bounced straight to David Hutton. The goalkeeper’s next involvement was somewhat more challenging as Gary Harkins moved onto a loose ball and fired in a powerful volley from 18 yards that Hutton superbly blocked.

The Bully Wee have had a reasonable amount of success in plundering the Junior leagues for players in recent years and Thistle have also been busy scouting at that level. In January they added young striker Kris Doolan from Auchinleck Talbot and he has responded with a series of predatory goals. He showed his attacking instincts by anticipating a through ball that seemed destined for Hutton’s hands but his inventive lob looped over the crossbar. On the half hour mark, Doolan then met a Paul Paton free kick with a flicked header but the ball slid just past the post. Alan Lithgow then became the first man booked for sliding through the back of Simon Donnelly.

Although both Ruari McLennan and Tade had half chances to shoot, Clyde failed to seriously trouble their opponents in the opening period. That said, the level of commitment and determination shown by the likes of Scott Gemmill, Kettlewell and Brown saw the travelling support applaud the team off at half-time.

The second half was to be a huge improvement, although Thistle carved out an early chance for Donnelly that thudded into the side netting. Clyde then created their first real chance as Gemmill bravely challenged for the ball with Alan Archibald, only to suffer a bang on the head. From the loose ball, Stevenson fired in a powerful volley that was destined for the top corner but Twaddle did well to head clear.

Despite Clyde having marginally more possession, it was Hutton that was called into action next as Harkins wriggled clear and his near-post shot needed to be well blocked by the ‘keeper. Then, Thistle carved out their best chance as the ball fell to Doolan in the box but with time and space to pick his spot, he rushed a shot straight at Hutton.

This was to be a key moment as within a minute, Clyde took a lead with the sort of goal that will take pride of place on football bloopers DVDs. Ian Maxwell was under little pressure in the right-back area but managed to over-hit his passback to Jonny Tuffey. The ‘keeper tried to take a touch but calamitously only succeeded in slicing the ball into his own net.

With the lead, the Bully Wee suddenly had a new found confidence and Willie McLaren, who had struggled in the first half, came to life. Apart from a decent penalty shout when Brown slid into a challenge against Donnelly, this period of the game saw play flow towards Tuffey’s goal, with the ‘keeper noticeably affected by his error. McLaren and MacLennan both had shots blocked by defenders, whilst Tade was denied by a superb block from Simon Storey. Then, McLaren burst clear from the halfway line and he slid a neat pass into the box for Tade to run onto. The French midfielder did well to elude Storey but with only Tuffey to beat, he inexplicably thrashed a shot over the crossbar. During this period of pressure, Marvyn Wilson was brought on for the tiring Kettlewell.

Thistle’s final effort on goal was to produce another stunning save by Hutton, with Paton looping an effort on target after good work by substitute Lucas Akins. Despite their need for three points, it was Clyde who came closest to scoring again in the final five minutes as the unbelievable effort of Gemmill saw him skip past Archibald but his drive was sliced into the side netting.

Remarkably, Tuffey then almost produced a bigger blunder as he blasted a clearance against Gemmill, only for the Northern Ireland international to tackle substitute Dave McKay as he looked to burst clear. Clyde then played out the final couple of minutes at the corner flag and earned three points that, in terms of effort, were probably deserved.

Like so many First Division games, this match lacked quality and skill with only McLaren providing some reasonable entertainment. However, Clyde competed well across the pitch from Gemmill’s tireless running to the excellent efforts of Hutton. Mark Brown was arguably the star performer and Gibson has a fight on his hands to regain his spot in the team, whilst the return of Waddell gave the midfield five a good balance. There is a lot of work to be done but if Clyde display this sort of fight and effort during the rest of the season, they have a chance.

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