The home side were first to threaten in two minutes when Paul Ritchie played the ball out wide to Steve Hampshire and took the return pass before hooking his effort well over the bar, but it was Clyde who opened the scoring just sixty seconds later.
A Craig McKeown cross was knocked down by Craig Bryson and new signing Alex Williams was on hand to finish up an impressive move. It was just the confidence-boosting start the travelling fans had hoped for.
There was no question of Clyde sitting on a 1-0 lead and the exuberance and energy of the attack-minded Bully Wee youngsters was there for all to see in what was proving to be an open cup tie. Clyde might have extended their lead in the twelfth minute when Neil McGregor cut the ball back only for Craig Bryson to blast wide.
Four minutes later Brechin City got back on level terms when Craig McEwan crossed from the right for Paul Ritchie to net from close range at the back post.
Clyde had another chance in the twenty-third minute when Paul McHale shot wide from a Joe Miller pass, then Alex Williams threatened again only for City keeper Craig Nelson to thwart him. The Angus side went close again in the thirty-first minute when a Grant Johnson chip was laid off by Paul Ritchie to Stuart Callaghan but, in a recurring feature of the game, he fired too high.
There was more of the same when Kevin Byers also blazed over before Stephen O’ Donnell shot wide for Clyde from long range.
Five minutes before the break Craig Bryson picked up a loose ball and ran at the defence but his effort was off target. Clyde were enjoying the bulk of possession and were producing a number of scoring opportunities but generally they were going wide of ‘keeper Nelson.
Brechin City had the final chance of a lively first half when a Callaghan free-kick was met by the head of Scott Walker and the ball crashed back off the post.
It was City who threatened first in the second half when Callaghan’s fiftieth minute free-kick found Byers but his drive was saved by Paul Jarvie.
Nine minutes later defender Chris Higgins burst forward for Clyde but his shot went wide.
The tie remained wide open and in sixty-nine minutes, amidst a sustained period of Clyde pressure and missed chances, a header from City’s Hampshire’s, from a Byers cross, was saved by Jarvie. Two minutes later Joe Miller’s attempt went over while McHale found the dangerous Williams and he shot wide from a tight angle.
Stephen O’ Donnell was next to have a go after being released by Williams, his lob landing on the roof of the net.
Clyde’s failure to take any their chances since the third minute cost them dearly in the seventy-ninth minute when, completely against the run of play, Callaghan crossed for substitute Graham Gibson to head home at the back post.
It looked like being the winner but a never-say-die Clyde ensured Brechin’s lead was short-lived. In the eighty-fifth minute Stephen O’ Donnell’s cross was headed down by Chris Higgins and Neil McGregor nodded in at the far post to take the tie to extra time.
The competitive nature of the tie continued in a tense extra time period but Brechin City broke through in thirteenth minute of additional play when McEwan whipped in a cross from the right for Hampshire to head home at the back post. The home team then had to withstand a late onslaught from Clyde but they held on to win by the narrowest of margins.
Afterwards Brechin City manager Ian Campbell, affectionately know as “Pinky” by Glebe Park habitues, paid felt that his team’s greater experience had been a telling factor but was quick to pay tribute to Graham Roberts young side. “All credit to Clyde for the way they worked.”
Clyde boss Graham Roberts was unhappy about the nature of the three goals conceded. “We started well but lost three of the worst goals I’ve seen in my time in football, and all from crosses.”
|July 30, 2005