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Clyde 2 v 2 Ayr United

Match Type: Scottish Championship
Venue: Broadwood Stadium
Date: Saturday, 1st December 2001
Kick Off: 3:00pm
Clyde
v
Ayr United

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by Alan Henderson
Line up: Halliwell, Mensing, Dunn, Millen, Kernaghan, Bingham, Mitchell, Fraser, Keogh, De Gregorio, Crawford (Subs: Budinaukas, Hinds, McLaughlin, Hagen, Smith)
Clyde fought well to earn a point from what on paper at least is a powerful Ayr team. The day was stolen by the return of Mark McLaughlin to competitive action. He came on with 20 minutes to go and scored with his first touch. As expected Ross didn't make the squad and was replaced by Bingham. De Gregorio had his first start and Keogh returned to the centre forward role.
A confident Ayr didn't take long to make their presence felt as former Clyde man, Craig McEwan, scored after 5 minutes. The white boots of Gary Teale seemed to mesmerise Clyde for both of their goals. For the first he collected the ball on the edge of the box and everybody was expecting him to shoot. With everybody ball-watching McEwan made a run into the box and collected a pass to finish confidently past Halliwell. Thankfully this Clyde team seems to have rediscovered its spirit and it took only 5 minutes for them to equalise. Fraser was brought down about 25 yards out. Keogh stepped up to take the kick and fired a beauty past Nelson in the Ayr goal (is there anything big Pat can't do on a football pitch?). After that Ayr gradually won the midfield war as the half progressed. The difference was their wingbacks, McEwan and Lovering, were getting into dangerous positions while Clyde's, Bingham and Dunn, weren't. Ayr's Sheerin looked in the mood too and some long range efforts kept Halliwell on his toes.
There were no changes after the break and again it didn't take long for Ayr to strike. Gary Teale cut into the box, danced around 2 defenders and fired a low shot past Halliwell. A fine individual goal but defensively a poor one to concede by Clyde. With Grady and Annand on the Ayr bench it seemed Ayr could go on to tear Clyde apart on the break. Clyde began to press Ayr back in search of the equaliser. Hagen replaced a disappointing Crawford and played up front. Then after a year out Mark McLaughlin was reintroduced to the fray. Everybody was delighted at his return (except possibly David Dunn who he replaced). Within seconds he had scored with his first touch. A ball over the top sent Hagen away into the box. He could have shot himself but had the vision to play the ball across the goal where McLaughlin was thundering in to stab the ball home. As both teams went for the equaliser the game became stretched although there were few real chances to report. Although Clyde couldn't record their fourth consecutive win the return of Marko made up for the disappointment.
A point against a strong and confident Ayr team isn't too bad. Fraser and De Gregorio worked hard in midfield as they tried to earn longer contracts. It's the first time we've seen Hagen right up front and it makes you wonder why he hasn't played there before. Brian Crawford's role remains a problem. We know he's a good finisher but his overall play does little for the team. Still having options is a nice problem to have.