Clyde missed a golden chance to seal their First Division status for another season as once more they managed to throw away a lead.
An injury problem during the week meant that Gary McSwegan was only fit enough to start on the bench, with Gary Arbuckle being introduced to the starting line-up. The rest of the side was unchanged, although both Christian Smith and David McGowan took places on the substitute’s bench.
The first half was a fairly tame affair, with Clyde taking charge of possession but failing to create many clean chances. Pat Clarke once more looked dangerous drifting in off the left touchline and he won a free kick that Jorg Albertz thumped past the post, with Paul Gallacher beaten. Both Marvyn Wilson and the Pars Calum Woods picked up blatant yellow cards for cynical fouls as both teams struggled to find some rhythm.
Alex Burke had looked Dunfermline’s biggest threat and he missed their best chance of the first half, slicing wide when he found some space 8 yards from goal. Apart from a succession of corners, David Hutton was a spectator during the opening 45 minutes and he looked on as Clyde took the lead with a moment of rare quality. David McKay did superbly to beat Scott Muirhead and his neat clipped cross into the box was met by an excellent volley from Clarke that slid underneath Gallacher into the net.
The second half started with a moment of controversy as Muirhead appeared to handle the ball and prevent it reaching MacKay, who could have had a clear run through on goal. Within minutes, Dunfermline had levelled and once more, it was in a controversial fashion. Marvin Wilson missed a volley and Stevie Crawford ran clean through on goal only to be brought down by Billy Gibson. The referee awarded a penalty, despite the protests of the Clyde defence that the foul had occurred outside the box. The award stood and Stephen Glass made no mistake with the spot kick.
The home team continued to press but both of Clyde’s centre halves were having excellent games and restricted them to just a couple of half chances, both headers and both from corners. However, as Clyde started to press for a winner themselves, the home side took advantage in clinical fashion. Gibson gave the ball away as Clyde broke forward in numbers and the ball soon made its way out to the right wing, where Crawford moved past a poor tackle by Chris Higgins and slid the ball back to the unmarked Jim McIntyre. The Dunfermline player-boss made no mistake, sliding the ball low past Hutton and Clyde were suddenly looking at another defeat. Despite this, Gibson had a chance to make amends but fired past the post from 12 yards.
Clyde did respond by throwing on McSwegan, Smith and McGowan as straight swaps for Arbuckle, Albertz and MacKay and all three made an impact. Clarke fired in a 20 yard drive that McGowan deflected against Gallacher from close range. Then, a punt forward found McSwegan in an offside position but he cleverly left the ball for the onside Clarke, only for him to fail to control it before it bounced into Gallacher’s arms.
There was to be one final attempt on goal but Ruari MacLennan’s drive was easily tipped over the bar by Gallacher and the Clyde support were left trying to find out the scores of the other games involving Morton and Livingston.
Both of Clyde’s centre halves had good games and Bestvina probably took another man of the match award. Clarke provides a consistent threat, whilst there are consistent improvements to be seen in MacKay’s game. However, Clyde are still suffering from their lack of a dominant midfielder and that allowed Dunfermline to take a grip of the game in its crucial stages.
|April 12, 2008