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Clyde 1-1 East Fife (Agg 2-1)

Clyde will either face Annan Athletic or Dumbarton in the cinch League One playoff final after a 107th winner from Martin Rennie in the second half of extra time was enough to edge past East Fife on aggregate.

The Bully Wee will be away for the first leg on Tuesday evening, before hosting the second leg at New Douglas Park on Friday.

Jim Duffy opted to make a double change from Tuesday’s first leg with Euan Cameron and Martin Rennie dropping to the bench in favour of Kyle Doherty and Conner Duthie.

It was an intense start to the match with the first chance falling to Doherty in the second minute. The Clyde forward latched onto Duthie’s teasing cross at the edge of the box, but his effort flew over the bar.

However, the visitors opened the scoring to level the tie with 10 minutes on the clock. The Bully Wee struggled to clear their lines which allowed Walls to weave the ball to Shepherd inside the box, who despatched a composed finish past Mullen.

Newton then sent in a thunderous cross from the far edge of the box, but Mullen was on guard to divert the ball over the bar.

As the match progressed, the Fifers continued to assert their dominance across the pitch as Clyde struggled to get a foothold in the game. Salkeld managed to open a rare weak spot in the visitor’s defence in the 37th minute, however his shot careered wide of the target. The visitors kept pushing bodies forward in the lead up to the interval, with Walls dragging an effort wide.

Neither team were able to create any headway going forward with the action contained to the middle of the park at the restart. The hosts’ were the first side to threaten in the 55th minute when Kurtis Roberts drove forward and sent the ball flying across the goalmouth, but it was too powerful for Barry Cuddihy to gain control of at the back post. At the other end, Healy danced his way into the box just after the hour, but his shot could only caress the side netting.

The Bully Wee were aware they couldn’t afford to fall further behind and went agonisingly close through Darren Hynes in the 69th minute. He fired a powerful shot, which looked goalbound, but Fleming stretched up to tip it over. Meanwhile, the hosts’ were forced to deal with a sequence of flurries into their box in the 73rd minute, where Walls’ menacing effort was deflected out. Cuddihy tried his luck yet again two minutes later after Cameron Salkeld knocked the ball in his path, but he was unable to direct his header on target.

East Fife were reduced to 10 men with seven minutes of normal time remaining after Shepherd received a second yellow card for an elbow on Ross Lyon. Elsewhere, Mullen was called into action in the 85th minute as he struck out a palm to deny Denham.

With the clock ticking down, Clyde were desperately pushing for the much-needed goal to regain their lead. The ball was frantically ebbing from Olly McDonald and Erik Sula from a cross, but neither player could drive it home before it was cleared. McDonald was then thwarted by Fleming twice in the space of two minutes as the match went to extra time.

Clyde continued their decent spell in the second minute of the first period as Martin Rennie lunged a header at goal from Lyon’s cross, but it rolled narrowly wide. The Fifers then had an opportunity of their own as McManus whipped a shot into the box, but it was calmly collected by the ‘keeper. The Bully Wee were relentless in peppering the opposition’s box as Cuddihy knocked the ball to Rennie at the left-hand side, but Fleming crouched down to collect on the white line.

The Bully Wee’s efforts were eventually rewarded in the 107th minute as they hauled themselves back in front. Jon Craig whizzed in a shot from the edge of the box which rattled the woodwork after a save from Fleming, but Rennie was well positioned to slot home the rebound.

McDonald nearly pounced on a mistake from Fleming in the dying minutes, but the stopper reacted aptly to recover the ball as the Bully Wee ensured their League One fate remained in their hands with a nerve-wracking conclusion to the semi-final tie.

REACTION — Jim Duffy’s post match comments

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Picture by Craig Black