Clyde’s challenge cup run came to a premature end for another season following a narrow 1-0 defeat to St. Johnstone. Never a competition they have done well in this was always going to be a difficult tie to overcome. However, both sides showed why they are amongst the favourites to lift the first division title come the end of the season. Some of the football played by both sides was a great advert for what the Bells league has to offer. Some great passing and moving from both teams with neither side prepared to shirk a challenge left fans almost willing the ref not to blow the final whistle.
Clyde started the more threatening team when Ian Harty collected a pass from McConalogue inside the box but he could not finish after he rounded Cuthbert in the Saints goal. Then Keogh went down under a challenge from Maxwell and when he limped off it did not look like he would be fit to continue. And only minutes later he was replaced by Gilhaney, with the youngster making his almost traditional appearance from the bench much earlier than normal. This seemed to disrupt Clyde for a bit and Paul Bernard tested Bryn Halliwell, back in goal after his suspension, but he held the shot comfortably. Then man of the match Mark McLaughlin made an important tackle on Keigan Parker to deny him a clear shot inside the box. But Clyde recaptured their grip on the game and it was McLaughlin who almost got on the end of a Millen free kick. Then Ian Harty had a header over the bar from close range as Clyde tried to get the decisive opening goal. The lack of height up front was apparent to everyone in the ground and the tactic of playing the high ball from the back was never going to break down a very resolute defence. However when the ball was on the ground, Clyde always looked impressive, and a Steph McConalogue break from midfield brought out an excellent stop from Cuthbert when he finished it off with a spectacular 25 yard shot. And just before half time Halliwell showed he was still alert when he got down low to divert a Parker shot wide of his near post. Although goalless at half time it had been a good first half of football with Clyde just ahead on chances and possession but Saints always looking dangerous on the break away with the speed of Parker a threat.
The second half started in much the same vein with Clyde taking the game to the visitors but Saints were proving to be more physical side than any of last seasons encounters had shown. And Lovering was the main culprit when he led with an arm when challenging Ross for a header. Amazingly even though it happened right in
Clyde’s frailties were shown up as the game petered out with very little creativity coming through the middle of the park and although Baird replaced McConalogue late on, the lack of depth in the squad was also apparent.
STAR RATINGS *****
Halliwell *** One fine save and not much chance with the goal.
Mensing ** Struggling to find his form so far this season.
McLaughlin **** Back to his best at last?
Potter **** Held the defence together very well.
Fraser *** Usual hard-working performance in the middle.
Ross **** Great aggression and determination on the wing.
Hagen *** Fairly quiet game by his standards.
Millen *** Drifted in and out of the game but did well.
Keogh ** No time to make an impact.
Harty *** Some good signs, but not quite the full article yet.
McConalogue **** Excellent first half and worked hard throughout.
Gilhaney ** Unusually, found it hard to make an impact.
Baird * Another ten minutes experience for the youngster.
ALAN KERNAGHAN:- "I thought it was a great game. Both sides were committed and got forward when they had the chance. It could have gone either way, but I thought the first goal would win it and it did. We had chances but failed to hit the target on occasions when it mattered really. Their keeper had a great save from McConalogue in the first half though."
"I’d be nitpicking if I complained about my team. We harried them, put them under pressure, and played good football at times as well. I wouldn’t like to single anyone out, I thought everyone was great."
"I don’t read too much into it in terms of league performances. I think it’ll be close in the league matches as there isn’t too much between the sides based on tonight’s form."
"It looks like Pat has got a twinge in his medial ligament, so it should only be a 2 week job I hope. Andy Smith will cover for him though so it’s not too much of a worry."
BILLY STARK:- "We were expecting a tough game tonight and that’s what we got. Everyone is taking great delight in putting us forward as favourites, and you could see how hard that will make other teams work against us. Last year we lost a few games narrowly to Clyde, but we have won a similar game tonight."
"Clyde will be up there this year again, there is absolutely no doubt about it. They are a good side who know what they are doing. We have another 4 league games against them and if we think we are going to win them comfortably we are kidding ourselves on."
|Date||Time||League||Season||Full Time||Attendance||Report Author|
|August 12, 2003||7:30 pm||Challenge Cup||2003-04||90'||1521||Cameron Macdonald|