Two things which have typified a Clyde season came back to haunt us at Ochilview on Saturday. Firstly, as has been the case for many games this season, we turned in a poor first half performance, and secondly we gave away a penalty to Falkirk.
Falkirk, themselves have criticised the playing surface at the ground they share with Stenhousemuir and on the evidence shown on Saturday they have every right to do so. This may have been a factor as to why both sides turned in a poor game in the first half. It is certainly not a surface conducive to good football. But as no doubt Alan Kernaghan would say it is the same for both sides and the home team did adapt to it better. Most of the pressure in the first half was exerted on Bryn Halliwell, and the keeper should why he has regained the number 1 top in recent weeks. Colquhoun ran in on goal only to see his shot held by the big Englishman. And 10 minutes later, the Falkirk player manager, Hughes, headed a McPherson free kick goal wards only to see Halliwell fingertip his effort over. The ball had also caught the head on Andy Smith making it an even better save. Latapy had a lot of the ball and the Clyde defence were struggling to get it off him, but fortunately his final ball was poor. However his swerving 25 yard shot was well stopped by Bryn in goals. It took almost half an hour before Clyde fans had anything to shout about and then it was at one of the silliest bookings of the season when Hughes, who is the Falkirk manager remember, was booked for whipping the ball back to a linesman. The Falkirk boss is approaching 40 but his show of petulance would have been out of place in a game between two under 10 teams. The Clyde fans were still laughing at Hughes when McConalogue saw his shot go just wide from a Mensing cross. Mensing then found himself in the ref’s book as he clattered John O’Neil. Latapy’s free kick was well saved by Halliwell. The last effort of the first half was from Marshall’s free kick which Ferguson managed to stop after it deflected off Scot McKenzie.
The second half was barely 5 minutes old when Kernaghan took off the strangely ineffective Harty and McConalogue to bring on Keogh and Gilhaney and it looked a strange substitution as the Clyde fans expected Smith to be the man to come off for Pat but it was one which worked. Clyde clawed their way into the game but when Ferguson dropped a cross from Jack Ross, Keogh was slow to react and the keeper scrambled to the ball. Then Ross himself had a header saved by Ferguson after Austin McCann sent over a dangerous cross from the left. Marshall then set up Gilhaney, but the youngsters control let him down. But minutes later he made amends when he chased down Falkirk’s James Sharp. The defender panicked and his clearance struck Gilhaney. Gills raced through and send Smith clear and the veteran beat Ferguson with a cleverly placed shot into the corner. Then came the inevitable Falkirk penalty when Fotheringham lunged into a tackle on O’Neil in the box. The last man you want to tackle anywhere near the box is Falkirk’s answer to HMS Vengeance and inevitably the number 7 hit the deck. However on this occasion there was contact and it was a penalty and up stepped Latapy to fire the ball home with Halliwell going the wrong way. Clyde could have snatched it late on but Ferguson was equal to efforts from Smith, Ross and Keogh and Gilhaney should have shot earlier when clean through, and allowed sharp to make up for his earlier mistake with a superb tackle.
All in all after the first half showing, Clyde would have taken a draw but when in front late on the scent of victory and another 3 points was there. But once again we concede a penalty to Falkirk and the Bairns were the team who held on for the draw.
STAR RATINGS *****
Halliwell **** One excellent save and generally safe.
Mensing *** In the main, continued his recent good form.
McCann *** Another accomplished if unspectacular performance.
McCluskey **** Great to have another reliable centre half on the books.
Fotheringham *** One of his few mistakes was costly.
Ross *** Took 45 to get going but had a good second half.
McConalogue ** Found it hard to get onto the ball.
Marshall *** Same as the captain.
Smith **** Worked as hard as ever and took his goal well.
Gibson *** Always trying to win the ball and outnumbered at times.
Harty ** A rare off day for the striker.
Keogh *** Looked better than he has done recently.
Gilhaney *** Pace changed the game and set up the goal nicely.
Hagen * Only on for seconds
ALAN KERNAGHAN – ""Once again we were night and day first half compared to second half. Kevin has defended well all day and it was probably the first time he’s gone to ground. These things happen and a point is better than nothing considering how we played in the first half.
""We’re delighted with the effort and the second half was great. The two lads that we brought off weren’t happy and that’s understandable but that’s probably the first time this season that they’ve had an off day. These things happen and I’ve tried to explain that to them. I just didn’t think they were doing well enough and we seemed to be reacting rather than anticipating. After Paddy and Mark came on the game changed a little in our favour.
""Even when they scored I thought that we could score again because we’d had one or two chances but Ferguson made some great saves late on. All in all a draw is probably… alright.""
KEVIN FOTHERINGHAM – ""I thought O’Neil was going to whip the ball in so I tried to block it. He made a bit of a meal of it but I did touch him so by rights it was a penalty. I was spewing.
""We were terrible in the first half but we got in at 0-0 and then to get the goal I think we had knocked the stuffing out of them. They didn’t have much to offer in the last 20 minutes but the penalty has given them a lift.
""The manager has just told me to keep my head up. I know myself it was a bad mistake he doesn’t need to tell me. I thought somebody would maybe have pulled me out of the mire at the end but their keeper has made two or three great saves.
""Other results went our way a wee bit but it’s a big two points dropped I would say.
""I prefer playing centre half because you’ve got a man to mark and you just go up against him. At left back sometimes you get isolated and you’ve got to do more on the ball. When I was at Brechin I played centre half a lot. I’ll play anywhere on the field just to get a game though. I’ve come from the bottom of the Third Division to the top of the First in the space of three years. I’ve got another year left on my contract so if we go up to the SPL it would be a great achievement for me.
""Stuart and myself have looked quite solid at the back and Bryn has been making some good saves but Mark McLaughlin should come back next week and he’s a big player for us. It will be interesting to see what the manager does.
""We’ve got five games left to go and win the league now. If we play like we did in the second half then I’ve got no doubts that we’ll go on and win it but we have to perform like that all the time.""
MARK GILHANEY – ""We had plenty of chances and the keeper has made a few good saves. It was a bit stuffy in the first half but in the second the boys all worked hard and I thought we were the better team. It’s a hard luck story.
""The penalty claim was a good tackle; I should have hit the ball earlier.
""I can’t remember much about the goal but it was a good finish by ""old smudger"". It’s good to play with him. He talks all the time and helps you. He’s a good player and you can learn a lot from the hard work he puts in.""
|April 10, 2004