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Dumbarton 3 v 3 Clyde

Match Type: Scottish League One
Venue: Strathclyde Homes Stadium
Date: Saturday, 22nd August 2009
Kick Off: 3:00pm
Attendance: 975
Referee: B Madden


Dumbarton   Clyde
(45) Dunlop Lithgow (15)
(63) Hunter Lithgow (24)
(86) Chisholm McLachlan (Trialist) (65)

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Dumbarton   Clyde
McGeown Reidford Red Card
Geggins Park
Dunlop Halliday
Gordon Casey (46)
Smith Lithgow Yellow Card
O'Donoghue P Stewart
(76) Clark McLachlan (Trialist)
Chaplain Doyle
(46) McNiff McLeod
Hunter McKay (78) Yellow Card
(46) McLaughlin McFadden (39)
(46) Carcary Sawyers
White Allan (39)
(76) Chisholm Gair (46) Yellow Card
McStay Stevenson
(46) Murray Walker (78)

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by David Worton

Clyde finally earned their first point and goals of the season but were left ruing a huge blunder by goalkeeper Callum Reidford that almost certainly cost them the win.

On the back of the good news regarding the extension of Alan Lithgow, David McKay and Paul McLeod’s contracts until the end of the season, all three were named in the starting line-up with the latter two forming the front pairing. Trialist Willie McLachlan and Alan McFadden started in the wide midfield positions ahead of returning full backs Ally Park and Robert Halliday. With both Jay Lang and Scott Gair dropping out, the team resorted to a 4-4-2 formation.

The changes made an obvious difference to Clyde’s level of performance and they took charge from the early stages with the added player in the backline giving an extra option when the Bully Wee had possession. McFadden impressed as a substitute last week and he looked like Clyde’s biggest threat early on with some good crosses. Unfortunately, the lack of a goal-scoring striker was evident as despite the decent deliveries little was created. McKay then had a good chance to get a shot away but chose to keep dribbling past defenders and the chance was lost.

Despite the failure to carve out chances a goal was coming and Clyde took the lead in the 15th minute. Paul Stewart was fouled 30 yards out and from McLachlan’s delivery, a convenient deflection took the ball onto Lithgow’s head and the centre back made no mistake, powerfully heading home.

Clyde didn’t choose to sit back and defend the lead and McLachlan’s volley was well stopped by Mark McGeown. Then, another good breakaway ended with Stewart squaring to the unmarked McKay but the striker had moved forward too early and was rightly flagged offside. However, having broken their scoring duck Clyde look desperate to add a second and McLeod did well to win a corner following a neat turn on the touchline. From McLachlan’s delivery, Lithgow held off Ben Gordon and thumped a great header into the net via the crossbar.

At this point in the game Dumbarton looked well beaten but they were handed a boost in the 38th minute with the moment that changed the game. A cross into the box ricocheted off a couple of players and out of play at which point the referee awarded a corner. Reidford seemed to disagree and as Roddy Hunter tried to grab the ball, a scuffle ensued from which referee Madden decided to award a red card. From the far end of the stand it was difficult to see exactly what had happened but either way, with the comfortable scoreline it was a stupid thing for the goalkeeper to get involved with. The unfortunate McFadden, who had played well, was the player replaced by Jordan Allan.

Remarkably, Clyde should have nicked a third goal almost immediately. Gordon totally missed a ball forward and left McKay with only the ‘keeper to beat. Unfortunately, he chose to try and lob the ball over McGeown who saved the weak effort. This proved to be a costly error as right on the stroke of half-time, Dumbarton gained a lifeline with a scrappy goal. A corner was punched clear by Allan but this left him out of position as the loose ball was looped back into the box, Mick Dunlop leapt highest to flick into the open goal.

Clyde decided to bring on Scott Gair for Mark Casey at half-time and the centre back impressed throughout the half with his ability in the air. However, Dumbarton also introduced Steven Murray and Derek Carcary at the interval and their added pace and skill forced Clyde to defend deeper as the match went on. The sheer volume of defenders meant that they struggled to test the inexperienced goalkeeper but similarly that meant that the chances of a deflection were always high. Several times, players were inches away from converting a stream of crosses into the box and the Sons finally levelled midway through the half. McKay picked up a harsh booking for a foul on Murray and from the resulting free kick Hunter was totally unmarked to head home.

However, Clyde showed an impressive amount of fight and managed to edge back in front with a superb goal. Jamie Doyle was fouled 30 yards from goal and with the home side predicting a cross to Lithgow, McLachlan speared a stunning strike into the top corner of the net. In the final allowed match of his trial period, it may well have been a goodbye gift to the Clyde support.

Almost immediately play returned to the same style of game as before, with Clyde bravely trying to hold onto their lead. Both sides made their final changes with Iain Chisholm and Darren Walker coming on the pitch for Ross Clark and the injured McKay. The unimpressive defending at set-pieces continued as Gordon saw a header cleared off the line by McLachlan. Just when it looked like the Bully Wee would hold onto the win, Dumbarton managed to nick a leveller once more as Murray’s low cross somehow found the substitute Chisholm at the back post and he trickled a header past Allan. Play opened up in the final five minutes but neither team could produce a good quality final ball and the game ended up as a hard-fought draw.

After the terrible start to the campaign, the change to a back four allowed Clyde to keep the ball better than in previous weeks and McFadden looked dangerous before his enforced departure. However, points are going to be vital come the end of the season and a huge error from Clyde’s goalkeeper cost them what looked like a comfortable three points. 

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