Clyde ended their long stay in the Irn Bru First Division with a draw in terrible conditions at East End Park. The Pars had a shortage of centre halves and ended up playing two left backs in the middle of their defence. For once, Clyde were able to play the same system as in their previous game, with the only change seeing Marvyn Wilson replace the injured Stuart Kettlewell in the sitting midfield role.
The match began with the home team taking a decent control of possession but they failed to trouble David Hutton. Clyde were looking decent enough on the break and from a corner kick, Mark Brown fired high over the bar from the edge of the box. Wilson then received a yellow card for a crunching tackle on Nicky Phinn.
The referee was angering both sets of supporters with his officious approach to a meaningless match and the whistler was given a tough decision to make when Willie McLaren was scythed down on the edge of the box by Scott Muirhead following an excellent through ball by Ricky Waddell. On another occasion, he may have chosen to send Muirhead off but perhaps sensibly decided that a yellow would suffice. McLaren then blasted the free kick high over the cross bar.
Although Phinn missed a decent headed chance soon after, the next big opportunity was to fall to Clyde as another quick break saw Pat Clarke played through on goal by McLaren. The striker, looking for his first goal since January the 3rd, attempted to lob Paul Gallacher but the experienced ‘keeper pawed the ball past the post for another corner. However, Clyde’s pace on the break was finally to pay off in the 27th minute. Clarke intercepted a loose ball and with a numerical advantage, there was a notable disappointment as a poor pass by McLaren found Dunfermline’s Alex Burke in the penalty area. Despite having plenty of time, the midfielder chose to thump the ball out of play for a corner kick and from McLaren’s delivery, Chris Higgins flicked a nice header past Gallacher into the far corner of the net.
Clyde came close to a second goal as Tade’s dangerous cross just eluded Clarke but Dunfermline were to level before the break with a goal that summed up a lot of the Bully Wee’s problems this year. Waddell produced a poor pass that was intercepted by David Graham and the winger was able to continue unopposed to the edge of the box where he fired in a low shot that skipped off the sodden turf past Hutton.
The second half improved to some extent as the rain subsided and Clyde were first to create a chance as another good break saw McLaren sweep in a good cross that Scott Gemmill headed high over the bar, with the goal gaping. Dunfermline continued to have a lot of possession but other than a couple of poor crosses, Hutton had little to deal with. His opposite number was seeing a little more action and his saves from a Clarke drive and McLennan curler sandwiched a brave block from Austin McCann to deny Tade.
The Pars then created their best opportunity of the half as Alan Lithgow fouled Graham Bayne on the edge of the box, only for Stephen Glass to fire the free kick past the post. A series of substitutions saw play become even more disjointed but a goalmouth scramble led to a corner for Dunfermline. From the resulting delivery, Phinn fired in a powerful shot from the edge of the box, only for Kirk to deflect the shot wide.
The final chance was to fall to Clyde as Higgins produced a cross-cum-shot from deep that Gallacher had to tip past the post. From the corner, Brown won the header but could only direct his effort past the upright.
The match was always likely to be a poor one given the circumstances and the conditions only helped to lower the quality further. That said, it was good to see Chris Higgins net a goal on what may be his last game for Clyde, whilst overall the defence played well and showed no signs of repeating the disaster in Dumfries. Now attention can turn to next season and hopes of a decent campaign.
|May 9, 2009