It took a moment of brilliance to separate two poor sides in this game – Jimmy Gibson’s excellent free-kick. Three points were always going to be more important than the performance and if Clyde can win when they play as poorly as this then perhaps the rest of the season is not going to be a write off. However, the victory only served to show that this is a poor first division and Clyde should have a squad more than capable of winning it if only they can get close to last seasons performances.
Both teams went into the game on the back of poor recent results and this showed during the game as there were few passes strung together by either side. Rovers were first to break but could not find a finish with both Robb and Sutton passing up good chances. On 7 minutes Gibson made them pay. After a foul by Calderon on McConalogue he stepped up and struck a superb free-kick into the top right hand corner of the Rovers net. McConalogue seemed to suffer ill effects of the challenge, but it took until half time for him to be replaced by Ian Harty. You hoped that the goal would signal some intent from Clyde against a side clearly suffering a lack of confidence but we seemed content to sit back and hit on the break. A greater cutting edge would surely have brought a better reward but instead we again choose to sit in. On 19 minutes we should have been made to pay when Stanic had his run into the Clyde area halted by a clumsy challenge from Keogh, but, luckily, Cammy Melville seemed to be the only man in the ground who did not see it as a foul. Then, minutes later, he again denied Raith a penalty when the ball struck Fraser’s hand, though it did appear to be more a case of ball to hand rather than Fraser using his hand to clear the ball. Raith player boss Tony Calderon was certainly the man most likely to create something, but much of his efforts in midfield came to nothing as his strikers could not get on the end of anything and as the half petered out it was Clyde who almost increased the lead but Keogh’s snap shot from 15 yards just went wide of the keeper’s right hand post.
Harty replaced the injured McConalogue at half-time but did little in front of goal though he was in good position when Ross shot over when possibly a pass would have been of more benefit. Though giving up a lot of possession to Raith, Clyde still created some chances with Keogh and Millen the main culprits at failing to finish off Rovers. The Clyde defence looked unlikely to be breached as the three at the back dominated a very poor Raith forward line, but when Gilhaney came on the surprise was that it was Fraser he replaced and not the ineffective Millen. Gilhaney had some nice runs down the right but his final ball into the box was delayed on more than one occasion allowing Raith to clear. With only minutes remaining Hagan got a run out as he replaced on loan Chris McGroarty, a belated substitution in many Bully Wee fans’ eyes.
STAR RATINGS (*****)
Halliwell *** Dealt with everything he had to and looked secure.
Potter **** Solid defensive display.
McLaughlin *** Struggled to win the ball in the first half but improved.
Kernaghan **** Several crucial interventions.
Fraser ** Started to look good before being substituted.
Ross ** Not much service but not his usual impact.
McGroarty * Look uninterested.
Millen * Not at the races.
Keogh ** Not his type of game but didn’t get involved enough
Gibson *** Looking to open up play and closed down well.
McConalogue ** Injury thwarted his performance.
Harty ** Seems to be lacking confidence.
Gilhaney ** Tried to take men on but didn’t achieve much.
Hagen ** Only on for 5 minutes but looked lively.
ALAN KERNAGHAN –""It’s an important result. It’s nowhere near the best we’ve played but we were resilient and defended fairly well, which has been our downfall recently. The clean sheet was pleasing.
“We were under pressure for a lot of the second half, they came straight at us when things broke down and played with good width. Fortunately when things came into the box we were able to do enough to keep them at bay and Bryn dealt with anything that went near him.
“Raith are a good team and caused us problems, although whenever we managed to pass the ball with a bit of fluency we managed to cause them problems.
“We’ve told Jimmy to get the video set – I don’t think he’ll score many better than that.
“I’ve been eager to get back to a midfield 5 to allow us to get back to doing what we did well last year.
“As I said it’s not the best we’ve played, or will ever play, but at the stage we’re at our first concern is results. If we can get 3 or 4 of them together then the confidence will come.”
JIMMY GIBSON – “I was trying to make sure I hit he target and luckily I’ve hit the top corner. That’ll be me for the season probably!
“That was my first 90 minutes and I was tired at the end but we’ve won a good three points. It wasn’t the best of games though. I think our tactics worked well and we could have scored more goals with a better final pass.
“I try to get on the ball as much as possible and create things; that’s what I like to do.
“Confidence has taken a bit of dent after recent results but we are working hard and if we keep doing that I’m sure we’ll get the reward.”
|October 18, 2003