Clyde crashed back to earth after the impressive win over Dunfermline with a thumping defeat at the hands of Livingston. A crazy 90 minutes saw three penalties, three red cards and a host of goals and missed chances for both teams.
Livingston had been on impressive form, culminating in a draw with league leaders Hamilton last weekend. Clyde were also improved in recent games and fielded an unchanged starting line-up from the comfortable win against the Pars.
The game started well for Clyde, as both Dougie Imrie and Joe Cardle caused Livingston problems down either wing. A superb long pass from Neil McGregor was pulled down by Imrie and after beating Mitchell he saw his pull back volleyed home by David McGowan for his second goal in two games. An excellent start.
An open game continued to flow from end to end and the first controversial moment came when Steven Craig appeared to elbow McGregor. The referee awarded a free kick but didn’t give any further punishment to the fortunate striker. This came back to haunt Clyde when Livingston equalised. A slack pass by Dusan Bestvina gifted the Lions the ball and Craig had soon outran Dan Kirkup, before squaring for the impressive Tomas Pesir to fire home.
Livingston began to take control of possession but Clyde threatened on several occasions at the other end. The best chance fell to Cardle who cruised inside past McCaffrey, only to see his low drive well blocked by Liberda. The next chance fell to McGregor but his low shot struck one of a host of bodies on the line.
At the other end, Livingston looked dangerous without carving out any clear chances. That was to change after yet another controversial decision just before halftime. Livingston broke clear from a Clyde free kick soon the ball has been played into the path of Graham Dorrans. The winger was left clean through on goal but appeared to clip his own heel as he tried to slot past David Hutton, under pressure from Ruari McLennan. Mike Tumilty saw things differently and elected to dismiss McLennan as well as awarding a penalty kick. Dave MacKay made no mistake from the spot and Clyde were left in a familiar position.
Before things got going in the second half, the referee decided to anger the home fans as well as he harshly sent off Snodgrass for grappling with Dan Kirkup. The evening in numbers aided Clyde and they took control of possession without creating any real chances.
The game was killed as a contest 10 minutes later, as a quick free kick by Mark Tinkler released Craig. The striker was moving far too quickly for Kirkup and Bestvina and had time to steady himself before slotting home at Hutton’s near post.
Before Clyde had any time to respond, they were three goals behind. Craig raced clear of a poor tackle by McGregor and his low pullback was superbly blocked by Higgins, only for the loose ball to run perfectly for Liam Fox to thump home.
Livingston threated to run riot after this and only some inspired goalkeeping by Hutton kept the score down. His best stop came from a bizarre shot from Pesir; the striker electing to divert the ball goalwards with his chest. The young ‘keeper reacted superbly to tip over the bar from point blank range. Clyde then tried to react but the impressive Cardle saw his left footed curler tipped over the crossbar.
Predictably, there was still to be more controversy at both ends. A cross into the box struck Smith’s hand before the Clyde player could get out of the way but the referee harshly chose to award a second penalty. This time, however, Hutton was to deny MacKay with a superb save to his left.
Clyde fans then got a first sighting of new striker Evangelino Valentim and the striker impressed with his neat footwork and touch. He almost netted with his first effort on goal, only for his header to be denied by a good stop by Liberda. The loose ball fell to McGregor who appeared to be shoved but the referee allowed play to continue. It wasn’t to matter though, as Imrie picked up the ball on the edge of the box and was tripped as he made his way past the Livingston defender. How much contact there was is debateable but Imrie made no mistake from the spot.
The referee then brought the mad-cap 90 minutes to a close with a final decision. Smith had already been wrongly booked for winning a header and his strong tackle on Mitchell provoked an angry reaction from the Livingston team, despite the Englishman winning the ball. The second yellow was never in much doubt given what had gone before.
So, a frantic game full of strange decisions, poor defending and good goals that leaves Clyde facing a crucial bottom of the table clash at Stirling. Despite the final score line, there was nothing between these two sides until the soft third goal but the way that Clyde collapse in such situations must be a worry. The main positives were an impressive debut from Valentim, a superb display from Hutton and a much improved performance by Cardle. Although Livingston deserved their win, it would have been interesting to see the final outcome if the referee had not sent off MacLennan.
|September 29, 2007