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CLYDE 2 : 2 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH 26th April 2003
Rating: 6.30
Rating: 6.41
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Rating: 7.96
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In contrast to all expectations this turned out to be a tremendously entertaining game of football. With little left to play for in reality the last few games have been pretty poor fare really and the previous three had seen us not even manage a goal. Never the less this one turned out to be one of the better games I've seen this season with both team always looking to attack and some distinctly ropy defending at both ends.

It was apparent even before the game started that the fans had decided enough was enough and it was down to them to raise the team spirits a bit. There were at least 250 turned up and kept the vocal levels up from the first minute to the last with a drummer and piper to add to the equation so it was little wonder that the team lifted their game somewhat. The team showed just one change from that which lost at home to Alloa last weekend with Ben Dawson getting a second start in place of the suspended Brian McColligan. Eric Paton took Paddy Atkinson's place on the bench in the only other change to the sixteen.

The game burst straight into life with Clyde taking the lead from the first attack after just two minutes. A long cross over from the right side should have caused no real problems but Derek Allan and Jim Thomson got in each other's way and allowed the ball to be lifted back across goal where Pat Keogh had the easiest of tasks to nod into the empty net. It took eight minutes for Queens to seriously foray forward. Good work down the right from Sean O'Connor allowed Allan to throw in a dangerous cross which just eluded the jumping Weatherson and Bowey's diving header behind him flew wide of goal from ten yards out. It took only eleven minutes for Colin Hardie to incur the wrath of the Queens fans with his usual erratic approach to decision making. Young Mark Gilhaney took a knock on the edge of our box in a tackle and stayed down but Clyde chose to play on a put in a dangerous cross. When the ball was eventually cleared Queens had every chance of breaking quickly but Mr Hardie decided to stop play for treatment as soon as Clyde lost possession ; a bizarre decision to say the least and certainly not a popular one with the Doonhamer faithful!

In the 13th minute Queens again created a fine opportunity initially through Weatherson on the left. He tricked his way into the penalty box and put in a good cross just missed by O'Connor. The ball was worked back out to Lyle on the right though and he did brilliantly to beat two men before putting a perfect cross on the head of the unmarked Weatherson right on the penalty spot. Unfortunately, in trying to put too much power on the ball, he allowed his header to fly the wrong side of the crossbar. The equaliser was delayed by only two minutes though. O'Connor's powerful run down the right side earned a corner and McAlpine's cross was perfect for Jim Thomson to rise and head his third goal of the season beyond Halliwell in the home goal, almost exactly as he did in the first meeting at Broadwood earlier this season.

Queens weren't settling for being level though and straight from kick off Aitken's long ball sent Weatherson off towards goal again. He laid the ball back to Brian McLaughlin but the diminutive winger's curling effort never had the power to worry Halliwell. Seconds later though Lyle burst down the right side and put in another tremendous low cross just out of the reach of Weatherson. Five minutes later though Colin Scott's fluffed goal kick went straight to Mark Gilhaney and presented the youngster with a clear run on goal. He tried to chip the advancing Scott from the edge of the box but fortunately also chipped the ball wide of the target. On 21 minutes O'Connor had another good run inside the penalty box and shot powerfully from a narrow angle but Halliwell was able to cover the ball well. A minute later Bowey's cross from the left was controlled on the chest by O'Connor for Weatherson to shoot for the left post from 12 yards out but the keeper made a fine dive to tip the ball wide.

Queens were dominating at this time so it was hugely disappointing that, completely against the run of play, it was Clyde who re-took the lead a minute later. A cross from the right should have been easy for Scott but he collided with Derek Allan and left Pat Keogh with the simple task of heading back across the face of goal where Mark Gilhaney nodded into the empty net. Five minutes later Steve Bowey picked up the game's first booking for an over the top challenge on Andy Millen.

Queens set about coming back at Clyde again though and just after the half hour mark Sean O'Connor took a pass from Allan before spinning and shooting from the right edge of the penalty area but Halliwell again was well positioned to deal with it. Shortly afterward, Joe McAlpine picked up booking number two for a charge straight into the chest of Gilhaney which seemed pretty unnecessary as the ball was going out for our throw anyway. Two minutes later Clyde's John Potter joined them in Mr Hardie's book for chopping down Bowey rather crudely as the midfielder tried to burst clear on goal. From the resulting free-kick, Weatherson tested Halliwell with a low drive though the kick really should have been retaken with a Clyde player breaking from the wall only about three yards away from the ball when it was hit. There was no further action of note before half time though.

Three minutes into the second period Weatherson tried a spectacular volley from McLaughlin's deep cross from the left but couldn't keep the ball down. A minute later Clyde made their first change, withdrawing young Gilhaney and replacing him with former Queens loan player Paul Shields. Immediately afterward Bowey tried his luck first time with a shot from thirty yards out which caught Halliwell off guard but narrowly missed the top left corner of the goal too. Clyde were still a threat though and in 53 minutes McConologue should probably have done better than head a cross wide of the right post with Scott stranded. Two minutes later Derek Allan threw a great deep cross over from the right side and Weatherson nearly managed to turn it in as the defence stood and watched but again he cleared the cross bar and despite appeals for a corner a goal kick was given.

Just before the hour mark McConologue's cross was clearly deflected out for a corner off of Andy Aitken's arm but despite the home appeals only a corner was given. Queens were soon back on the attack though and Weatherson reacted quickest after O'Connor's cross wasn't properly cleared by a defensive head but he could only lash the ball way over the top from a tight angle. On 63 minutes McLaughlin's left sided corner was headed well over by Jim Thomson who was clearly determined to add to his goal tally. Two minutes later, Bowey went down under a challenge right on the edge of the Clyde box but there was no real appeal and immediately Clyde replaced McConologue with Stephen Cosgrove. Seconds later though Ben Dawson struck a powerful low shot from outside the box which deflected off McLaughlin's heels and could have gone anywhere. Unfortunately though where it ended up was right in the arms of Halliwell.

The equaliser did finally arrive in 74 minutes though. It was more excellent work from Lyle down the right side with a perfect cross onto the head of Peter Weatherson to place a header back across Halliwell and into the bottom right corner of the net. A minute later though Clyde should have recaptured the lead for a third time. This time it was Aitken making the error, first allowing Keogh to get the better of him then trying to pull him down for good measure. Keogh though was able to feed Shields clear on goal and he tried to curl an early shot beyond Scott's reach. The keeper though just got fingers to the ball and then reacted well to smother the loose ball before the following up Clyde players could get there.

In the 76th minute Queens might have had a candidate for Goal of the Season. Breaking forward out of defence McAlpine fed Bowey down the left and his very deep cross was met squarely by Derek Lyle who had sprinted the length of the park from one penalty box to the other but his header, though powerful, was straight at Halliwell. As Clyde brought the ball clear "Bowser" upended his opponent in midfield and was perhaps lucky to stay on the park. In the 79th minute Clyde almost clinched the game when Aitken and McAlpine collided trying to head clear and the ball broke for John Fraser to shoot across goal. Colin Scott got fingertips to it though and it rolled agonisingly across the face of goal and out for a corner. From the resulting corner kick twice Scott had to claw dangerous crosses out from his six yard box. Three minutes later it was Queens back on the attack though and McLaughlin cut inside from the right side and shot low from the edge of the box but again the home keeper covered easily.

With three minutes remaining Thomson failed to win a header in defence and Aitken failed to clear the resulting loose ball allowing Fraser again a clear sight of goal. Colin Scott again made a fine parry and McAlpine appeared out of nowhere to leather the ball away. There was an offside flag went up during the course of the move but it certainly wasn't clear when it went up and I imagine the original strike would certainly have counted had it gone in. With one minute remaining John O'Neill replaced Sean O'Connor which gave the travelling fans the chance to make it clear that they want him to stay with the club for next season. In injury time Paul Shields had the game's final chance but lashed well over the bar from the edge of the box after Cosgrove's lay off.

This has to go down as a good point at least from the point of view that we were away from home at the second placed team and trailed twice. On the other hand, we played more than well enough to win the game and conceded two very sloppy goals. If we can cut out silly errors then this sort of performance augers well for next season.

Ewan Lithgow

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