Given the current debate raging around Scottish football about ticket prices and the lack of a value for money product on the pitch, it was ironic that Dunfermline’s Christmas policy of reducing prices coincided with one of the games of the season.
Ruari MacLennan missed out due to his red card in the midweek victory over Airdrie United and the goalscorer on Tuesday, Alan Trouten, earned a start. Paul Emslie also missed out through injury and he was replaced in the team by Marvyn Wilson. The previously suspended Scott Gemmill started at left wing-back, with Ricky Waddell and Dave McKay moving onto the bench. Although the experienced Dunfermline centre half Scott Wilson was back after suspension, he was left on the bench, with loan signing Rory Loy starting as part of a three-pronged attack.
Despite their obvious determination to improve a terrible recent record at home, Dunfermline were to quickly fall behind as Clyde’s recent promise looked like continuing. Pat Clarke pulled the ball down in midfield and passed on to Willie McLaren, who looked to clip a cross into the box. Trouten makes a habit of bursting through from midfield and if his first touch to pull the ball out of the sky showed his quality, his low strike past Paul Gallacher merely underlined it.
The home side looked to respond and David Hutton had to look lively to race from his goal and clear a through ball ahead of Andy Kirk. However, the Pars were soon to level and it came in controversial circumstances, as Graham Bayne went down under the slightest of nudges from Billy Gibson when challenging for a corner. Although none of the Dunfermline players claimed for a penalty, Charlie Richmond decided to award the spot-kick and Stephen Glass made no mistake from the spot.
For much of the rest of the half play meandered through the middle of the pitch and only a looping header that was well tipped over the bar by Hutton offered a serious goal threat. For the home side, Bayne received a deserved yellow card for a wild challenge with his elbow. As in recent weeks, Clyde looked to break quickly but a poor final ball let them down on several occasions. Just before the interval Gemmill was replaced by Waddell, having suffered an injury midway through the half.
To some extent, the first half had always threatened to take off and from the 47th minute of the game, things started to heat up as Dunfermline took the lead. A clipped ball into the box eluded the otherwise excellent Alan Lithgow and Kirk made no mistake with a scuffed finish for his 8th league goal of the season. Bayne could have doubled the lead almost immediately but his weak header was straight at Hutton.
Given the controversy over Dunfermline’s equaliser, the officials also played a part in Clyde’s response to falling behind. A corner was awarded to the Bully Wee that perhaps should have been a goal kick; Chris Higgins took advantage with a thumping header from Trouten’s delivery that gave Gallacher no chance. That goal opened the game up beautifully and Trouten’s burst into the box ended when he went down under a Scott Thomson challenge but the referee rightly ignored his claims for a penalty.
Despite the fact that the Pars had probably edged possession in the opening hour of the game, Clyde began to dominate and it was no surprise when they took the lead for a second time, just a minute after Dunfermline had made two substitutions. After Wilson spread the play to Waddell, a first time pass was played to Clarke who opened up his body and fired in a low shot that Gallacher could only palm into his own net; a poor effort from the normally reliable ‘keeper.
Having had a quiet game, this lifted Clyde’s leading scorer and he probably should have added to the lead within two minutes as his run down the right wing took him past Thomson, only for his wild swing of his left boot at the ball to send it arcing well past the post. However, Clyde were rampant by this point and scored a quite tremendous goal to make it 4-2. Trouten’s pass to McLaren was delightfully flicked inside to Alan Lowing and the on-loan Ranger curled a brilliant cross to the back post where Clarke expertly side-footed home.
Given that Clyde had conceded no goals in their previous four games, some fans perhaps felt that the game was over but the Bully Wee’s desire to continue to push for goals ultimately proved their downfall. Referee Richmond allowed play to go on after Wilson had been fouled and from the resulting advantage, Clarke burst into the box only to be flattened by Trouten. With Wilson still lying prone on the turf, Dunfermline raced to the other end of the pitch and launched a long ball through the middle that Hutton appeared to be set to clear. However, the goalkeeper scuffed his kick-out straight to Kirk and the Northern Ireland international took a couple of touches before launching the ball into the unguarded net from 30 yards out.
This noticeably deflated the Bully Wee and inspired by their home crowd Dunfermline astonishingly roared back level within a couple of minutes as Nicky Phinn moved onto Bayne’s knockdown and fired home a low shot past Hutton. The drama continued as Pars player-boss Jim McIntyre, who had only been on the pitch for a couple of minutes, pulled up with a calf injury and his resulting departure from the field left his side down to ten men.
Both teams pushed for a winner and the best chances were to fall to Clyde as both McLaren and Waddell had efforts well blocked on their way to the net. Dave McKay, on as a substitute for Lowing, also had two great opportunities to seriously test the home defence but on both occasions took a heavy touch. In truth though, the jitters caused by Dunfermline’s quick fire double had noticeably affected Clyde’s rearguard and only a couple of excellent tackles by Lithgow kept them at bay.
The away support applauded the team’s efforts and in a game that really should have been won from 2-4 up, that speaks volumes about the style of football Clyde played. Both Trouten and McLaren were full of creativity and skill and with Clarke to take chances, there is likely to be further excitement before the end of the season.
|Date||Time||League||Season||Full Time||Attendance||Report Author|
|December 20, 2008||3:00 pm||Scottish Championship||2008-09||90'||3279||David Worton|