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Raith Rovers 0 v 1 Clyde

Match Type: Scottish Championship
Venue: Stark's Park
Date: Saturday, 6th April 2002
Kick Off: 3:00pm
Raith Rovers
v
Clyde

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by Alan Henderson
Line up: Halliwell, Potter, McLaughlin, Smith, Fraser, Ross, Mitchell, Kane, Keogh, Hinds, Millen (Subs: Convery, Dunn, Hagen, Graham, Mensing)

Clyde travelled east knowing that a win would almost certainly secure the season whilst for Rovers it was win-or-bust time. In the end a solitary Keogh strike was enough to win the day in a tense and strangely passionless affair given what was at stake.

The first surprise was that Simon Mensing was dropped to the bench. Potter took over at right centreback and McLaughlin returned to cover the left position. Fraser continued in the unaccustomed left wingback role and the highly experienced but ageing duo of Kane and Millen both started the game. Keogh and Hinds were the two forwards in the familiar 3-5-2 formation.

Clyde began in confident fashion and Keogh nearly opened the scoring after 5 minutes. His header seemed to be going in until Monin in the Raith goal stretched out a hand to palm it away for a corner. Clyde continued to see plenty of the ball in the middle of the park and Keogh passed up another chance as his free header sailed well wide of the target. Raith, with Novo in particular, were always threatening and Halliwell had a few dicey moments right in front of him. Both teams were guilty of some terrible slack passing and dwelling on the ball that reflected the tension in the game. Hinds twisted and turned and looked to be shaping up for his trademark strike from the corner of the box but shot wide. McLaughlin came up for a corner but saw his close range header smothered by Monin and cleared to safety. Then with half time looming Clyde won a free kick. The ball was aimed towards Keogh (as nobody else seemed to want to threaten in the box) but looked to be covered by Rovers. Monin and Dennis hesitated and Keogh nipped in to lob the ball over the keeper and into the net. McLaughlin could have doubled the lead before the break but he headed over with the goal at his mercy from a corner. His annoyed look as the whistle went for half time said it all.

Millen didn't reappear after the break and Hagen took over at left wing back with Fraser moving into central midfield. Rovers were obviously told to go for it after the break and within 2 minutes Smith outjumped McLaughlin only to see his header tipped onto the bar by Halliwell. The resulting corner also caused problems and Halliwell had to tip the ball over again. Clyde came back though and Monin somehow scrambled the ball away from point blank range with Hinds right in front of him. Mitchell was put through and looked odds on to beat the keeper but a last ditch block saved the day for Raith. Clyde seemed to be settling for a 1-0 result and were guilty of sitting back and not supporting the front men. Rovers took advantage and Novo beat the offside only to pull his shot wide from around the penalty spot. Henderson also worked a good position for himself but again pulled his shot wide as Clyde began to creak a little. Hagen saw his volley fly just over the bar as Clyde looked to close out the game. Convery replaced Hinds in the final quarter of the game to try and give Clyde some running power up front. In the closing minutes Ross went down heavily in the box following a corner and was stretchered off with what appeared a serious injury. Dunn replaced him and took over at left wingback with Hagen switching to the right. Rovers toiled right to the end but the result looked inevitable and they were down.

With Raith out of the picture and barring some weird fluctuations in the goal differences, Clyde can't be caught by Falkirk either. Getting the points at Kirkcaldy under these circumstances was no mean feat. It wasn't pretty but the defence held firm and Clyde can now relax a little in the last few games. Who'd have thought it would have worked out that simply and that quickly?