Dunfermline Athletic 1 - 1 ClydeAuthor: Alistair Campbell Date: Saturday, 9th May 2009
The Pars couldn’t finish on a bright note - David Graham’s late first half strike cancelled out Chris Higgins’ earlier counter in an archetypal end-of-season fixture. A miserable day, and a slightly sad one as well, with no farewell performances from Nipper or Dinger
The team virtually named itself with Scotts Wilson and Thomson only taking the pitch to receive pre-match presentations, Rory Loy coming into the side wearing the number 5 shirt (but on the left side of midfield). Muirhead and McCann were again the central defensive pairing, Ross and Glass completing the back four in front of Gallacher. Burke and Phinn were in the engine-room, with David Graham on the right and Kirk and Bayne up front as the Pars adopted their normal 4-4-2. Mole returned to the bench, along with McBride, Willis, Lee Graham and sub-keeper Paterson. Clyde went with a 3-5-2 and also resisted the chance to blood new players despite confirmation of their relegation to Division 2.
Dreadful weather pre-match ensured a slippery start and when coupled with the fussiness of referee Finnie this meant the match was slow to get going. An early foul on McCann prompted a shout from the stand "C’mon, ref, protect the ball players" but Ozzie was nearly upended by his own player in the 8th minute when Burke slipped tracking back.
Safety first was the order of the day, particularly given the inexperience of the Pars’ central pairing in those positions and McCann conceded the first corner of the game in the 9th minute. As the defence struggled to clear Mark Brown helped them out by blasting over. Loy had the first effort on target a minute later but had to stretch to get his head to the cross from Ross and couldn’t get any power, keeper Hutton saving with ease.
The game was punctuated by fouls, with Wilson (Marvyn of that ilk) picking up a yellow for a foul on Phinn, and Muirhead joined him in the book after bringing down the lively McLaren as he bore down on goal a couple of minutes later.
Phinn sent a mistimed header wide in the 19th minute - Burke’s drive from 25 yards had spun wide, and had been gathered by Bayne to cross from the left of the box, before Gallacher produced a fine save, palming away Clarke’s shot from the edge of the area after McCann had lost possession to Tade.
In 27 minutes Clyde hit quickly on the counter-attack and had 3 v 2 before Burke got back to intercept Gemmill’s cross, but facing his own goal, although with time to do almost anything with the ball, he chose to put out for a corner. Unfortunately the Pars couldn’t defend the dead-ball and Higgins was first to the near post delivery and his glancing header beat the defender at Gallacher’s left hand post. 1-0 Clyde.
Clyde threatened 10 minutes later with Tade beating the off-side trap but his centre fell behind Clarke and the Pars hit back, successive dummies by Phinn and Kirk allowed Bayne to find Graham on a diagonal run but as he reached the edge of the box he chose the wrong option.
Hutton again had no problems dealing with a Kirk header from Ross’s chipped cross before the Pars suddenly equalised two minutes from the break. Greg Ross stuck a foot out to try to stop Ricky Waddell’s forward pass and deflected the ball to David Graham just inside the Clyde half. Graham strode forward, the defence backing off, and when he reached the edge of the box lashed in a shot that skidded off the wet surface and seemed to go through Hutton. One all, a goal out of nowhere, and Hutton was still kicking the post in disappointment as the half ended.
Half Time: Pars 1 Bully Wee 1.
The weather improved at the start of the second half but sadly the quality of football didn’t. The teams traded chances - Gemmill got on the end of a McLaren cross in 52 minutes but touched the ball over the bar under pressure from Muirhead before sprawling in the mud, and 6 minutes later, Ross had an effort from 30 yards, which went about 20 yards wide.