Considering all the circumstances this was one of those occasions when a draw felt like a victory. Both teams had to recover from midweek pummelling, but Falkirk were the form team that had been banging in goals for fun.
Clyde rode the first half storm and then gradually got on terms in the second half and snatched an equaliser with ten minutes to go. Definitely more feathers in the caps of Billy Reid and his team.
Falkirk’s new stand is very impressive (a sort of half size Hampden) but £15 for a restricted view behind the goal for away fans is stretching value for money. Maybe they should have erected two stands at the same time and saved the grief they are no doubt getting from the nine other clubs in the League.
Gary Bollan returned to the team at left back and Eddie Malone was pushed into left midfield. Arbuckle was given a wide right role with Sheridan doing the anchor role. Strangely Alex Walker was given the no. 9 shirt and played in a sort of withdrawn forward role while Bryson was given the onerous task of man-marking Latapy for the match. Harty was left to plough a lone furrow up front.
After a scrappy opening spell Falkirk began to gain the ascendancy in midfield and Clyde began to chase shadows. Clyde faced several Falkirk corners aimed at the head of giant Kevin James but a combination of Scott Wilson and confident handling from Bryn Halliwell kept them at bay.
Falkirk always seemed to have men over on Clyde’s right and this was where there goal came from after twenty minutes. The ball was switched across the park to McPherson and he quickly whipped the ball in for Thompson to fire past Halliwell from close range. Potter was left thinking he could have been tighter on the forward.
Clyde were under the cosh at this time and a brilliant stop from Halliwell denied Falkirk and minutes later he tipped an O’Neil effort over the bar. The pressure was telling as Bollan and Malone were booked leaving Clyde’s left side a bit hesitant to tackle. Clyde eventually mustered an attack just before half time but Mensing’s shot was easily saved by Ferguson.
With no changes at half time it was difficult to see how Clyde could fashion a way back into the game. Yet Falkirk seemed to go off the boil and the game changed into a midfield struggle. Clyde still weren’t creating chances but at least the thrust of Falkirk was being nullified.
Falkirk withdrew influential midfielders O’Neil and Nicholls and this seemed to play into Clyde’s hands as the Bully Wee began to find more time and space on the ball. Gary Arbuckle was coming onto a game on the right and a foul on him resulted in a free kick. Clyde had earlier wasted a couple of these positions but this time they scored.
With Falkirk watching Potter and Wilson, Sheridan dinked the ball near the penalty spot and an unmarked Harty gleefully nodded the ball over Ferguson and into the net after seventy-seven minutes.
The last thirteen minutes were tense but only a Latapy shot caused Halliwell any concern as Clyde stood firm. After some lengthy injury time Clyde were only too happy to hear the whistle.
Given the pack was reshuffled once again, going to Falkirk and emerging with a point is a great result. All the credit is due to Halliwell and his defence for holding firm and to the midfield for sticking in there. Harty showed again why we’re lucky to have him at Broadwood.
Clyde Star Ratings (*****)
Halliwell ***** Beaten once but another fine performance.
Mensing **** Tough first half but held firm and prospered in the second period.
Bollan *** Given a tough time on the left but hung in there till the end.
Wilson ***** Balmer must be wondering how he gets back in the team.
Potter **** Another battling performance from the captain.
Sheridan ***** Needed all his guile and experience to hold Clyde’s midfield together.
Bryson **** Stuck to his marking task very well.
Malone *** Struggled with Bollan but improved as the game went on.
Walker *** Unusual role but couldn’t be faulted for effort.
Arbuckle **** Looks far better when he comes inside and runs at defenders with pace.
Harty **** Thankless role but earned his reward with a real striker’s goal.
Bradley * Injury time replacement.
Wiford * Injury time replacement.
|September 25, 2004