Clyde fired themselves right into the promotion hunt again with an excellent and hard-fought victory in monsoon conditions at Ochilview. After surviving a penalty scare in the first half Clyde established a two goal lead in the second and despite heavy Falkirk pressure they never looked like losing it.
As expected Smith and Harty retained their places up front and Fraser found himself drafted in at right back. Ross was again used in central midfield with Gibson.
Heavy rain didn’t lend itself to flowing football but both teams tried. Falkirk were the first to threaten when a Lee header shaved the outside of the post but Morrisson seemed to have it covered. Passbacks were causing Morrison problems as he always wanted to take a touch and once he delayed too long and his kick was charged down but thankfully the ball sailed wide of the goals. At the Falkirk end Harty finally found space in the box but his shot was saved by Ferguson. Gibson worked his way from midfield but couldn’t find a finish when faced by the keeper. Then Falkirk had a great chance to take the lead. Rahim lost his marker and made a run into the box. Mensing had little option but to interfere before he shot and a penalty was awarded. Morrison dived to his right to pull off a great save at the post. Soon after Clyde were claiming a penalty as Harty broke between two players and rounded the keeper only to fall. Referee, Young, didn’t see any contact, but if Harty had dived why wasn’t he spoken to or booked for the incident?
The rain kept pouring down and Clyde immediately conceded possession at the start of the second half. However this wasn’t to be the pattern as Clyde quickly took the lead. Clyde won a corner but it was cleared out to Hagen. He beat his man and teed the ball up at the far post for McLaughlin to crash a header into the roof of the net. Falkirk upped the pace for a while and Morrison pulled off a couple of great saves. Clyde had other ideas though and scored the second and decisive goal. Harty was sent clear down the right and with time to judge his cross he picked out Smith at the near post who glanced a header into the far corner. Smith was harshly booked for doing his cigar smoking celebration in front of the Falkirk fans. Falkirk won a huge amount of corners but never looked like breeching the Clyde defence. McLaughlin took a serious head knock and despite lying prostrate in the Clyde box the referee allowed play to continue. After some treatment McLaughlin only lasted another couple of minutes before he was subbed by Millen. Falkirk seemed to know it wasn’t going to be their day and Clyde played out the remaining minutes of the game in Falkirk’s corner areas where subs Gilhaney and McConalogue proved their worth.
On a day for guts and desire, Clyde showed plenty of these qualities. Given the conditions they also tried to play some football too and scored a couple of fine goals. That’s three wins on the trot and the bandwagon is well and truly up and running again.
STAR RATINGS *****
Five stars to everybody for competing and winning in those conditions.
ALAN KERNAGHAN – "It was a great and vital win with all the teams around us winning again. As this league goes on every win is vital, no matter how you get it. I said to the players on Thursday and Friday that now is the time to do a real professional job because the last time we played them we lost all shape, which I hold my hand up for it was all down to me. I think every one of them did what we asked today, which was great.
"I came to the game thinking that the match was going to be off but when we arrived the pitch was perfect. Now it’s quite bad but to be fair I’ve played on a lot worse and I wouldn’t complain about the conditions at all.
"We possibly adjusted our style better but as a player you can only play what you see. Fortunately we had Jimmy Gibson and Jack Ross dictating a lot of things in the middle of the park. The passing was good, the support play was good and everyone’s all round game was great.
"Allan made some great saves. I think he’s grown in confidence over the last 3 or 4 games. If they had scored the penalty it would have been a totally different match. Having said that we did get in behind them a couple of times before that and could have been 2 up.
"I wouldn’t say the defence was ‘makeshift’. We were only missing Chris McGroarty but we don’t have any natural left sided player to fill in there. Simon’s being playing there on and off over the last 3 seasons so he was able to slot in there and John Fraser has a decent amount of experience and had a decent game on the other side.
"We’ve had three good results on the bounce and the performances are now starting to match the results. Earlier on we were a bit ropey and managed to get the odd win here and there but as time has gone on a wee bit more confidence has come into the squad.
"I’m a lot happier with the way the team is playing, but there’s a long way to go and we won’t get carried away by any stretch of the imagination. It’s pleasing that we are getting rid of the few frustrations that we’ve had in the previous stuttery performances and it’s good to see the hard work now coming to a bit of fruition.
"At the moment our squad size is ok but time will tell if it’s big enough over the season. I wouldn’t go to the extreme and say I’d like 25 players, but 22 would be ideal – 2 players for every position."
JOHN HUGHES – "The way Clyde play the game, direct with a lot of long stuff, it was a concern I had before the match that the conditions would suit them better. We are more of a passing team. That’s not taking anything away from Clyde for the win though; they still dig in there and all credit to them.
"At times we were second today, but if we had scored the penalty I think we could have hung on. It was all important who scored the first goal and Clyde got it. They played the conditions, which were horrendous, better.
"I said to Brian Rice that I couldn’t see us scoring two goals in the conditions. I see us as a nice football team and the conditions wouldn’t let us play nice football today. No offence to a good team like Clyde though, who are well marshalled by Alan Kernaghan.
"I would like to see the penalty again. I went to see Willie Young and he said it was nothing to do with the last man, he felt that Brent had overrun it. So he felt it was a penalty but not a clear goalscoring chance. That’s good enough for me because Willie is the best in the business for me."
|November 29, 2003