Clyde’s resurgence under Jim Duffy continued as a terrific game against title challengers Stranraer saw the Bully Wee pick up their second home victory of the campaign.
The Bully Wee were boosted by the return of Ryan McBeth and Marc McCusker after traffic problems meant they missed the midweek defeat against Albion Rovers. There was also a first start for Charlie Miller after he was finally given international clearance. However, their selections were countered by midweek injuries suffered by Bryn Halliwell and Ross McMillan, meaning Duffy decided to choose Iain Gray and J.C. Hutchison for the first time since he was appointed manager. Surprisingly, Gray started in a defensive midfield position, meaning that Pat Scullion partnered Ally Park at centre half.
Stranraer have performed consistently throughout the season and were to play their part in a match full of chances. In fact, they managed to take the lead after just 6 minutes. The away team were perhaps lucky to get the break of the ball inside the box but that doesn’t excuse the fact that Craig Malcolm had the space and time to run forwards with the ball and low underneath the body of Hutchison from 8 yards out.
The unfamiliar back four were struggling to deal with Malcolm and Armand One at this point and the pair combined to almost double Stranraer’s lead. Malcolm, a summer-time target for Stuart Millar, picked the ball up on the left wing and curled in a cross that One somehow headed past the post from the edge of the 6 yard box.
Perhaps they felt that the three points were already sealed, or maybe Clyde upped their level of performance, but for the rest of the half, it was the Bully Wee that looked more likely to score. Indeed, they levelled within a couple of minutes of One’s miss as McCusker in typical fashion muscled his way past a centre half before scrambling the ball past David Mitchell.
The quick reply to falling behind seemed to give Clyde some much needed confidence and they were only denied a half-time lead by some inspired goalkeeping by Mitchell. Firstly, the stopper was quickly off of his line to block a shot from John Stewart after the striker was played clean through on goal by Miller. Next, it was the impressive Kevin Finlayson’s turn to fire in a 25 yard shot that Mitchell clawed away from his top corner. Stranraer’s main retort was a free kick from Scott Agnew that just swung away from goal at the last second.
Perhaps boosted by a half-time team-talk by Keith Knox, Stranraer started the second half with more drive and determination and One perhaps should have done better with a header from an Agnew corner kick. The key moment in the match, however, came after 54 minutes as McCusker set Stewart through on goal, only for Paul Murphy to pull the striker’s jersey. The resulting penalty and red card were blatant, despite the vigorous protests of Danny Mitchell that saw the Stranraer skipper booked, and McCusker made no mistake from the spot.
In their desperation to add a third goal, Clyde were perhaps somewhat naïve in their defending and it was an error from the experienced Miller that saw the away team strike back within 10 minutes. His ambitious cross-field pass was intercepted by Grant Gallagher and moved on to Angus Cochrane, who had time to curl a delightful cross into the box for One to finally net the goal he had been threatening throughout.
At this point it seemed like Stranraer were more likely to go on and win the game, with Agnew pulling the strings in midfield and the concession of their lead obviously affecting Clyde. However, a moment of redemption for Miller led to the crucial third goal. Having won a free kick 30 yards out, the playmaker took the set piece quickly, allowing Stewart to run in behind the away defence and cross for Scullion to head into the net. Within a couple of minutes, Miller was replaced by Ricky Waddell.
Remarkably, Stranraer almost struck back again but after Stuart McColm had moved in behind Gavin Brown, Hutchison reacted superbly to save his powerful shot. Fortunately, the danger was taken out of the game when on one of their many breaks forward, Clyde sealed the points. A good through ball by substitute Nicki Paterson released McBeth and from his cross, Waddell headed past Mitchell.
There was still time for Waddell to almost set up Finlayson for a fifth but a poor touch by the ex-Stranraer winger meant the chance was lost. In truth, it would have been harsh on the Blues.
|Date||Time||League||Season||Full Time||Attendance||Report Author|
|February 26, 2011||3:00 pm||Scottish League Two||2010-11||90'||760||David Worton|