Arbroath 1-0 Clyde
Arbroath edge sorry Clyde in dull game at Gayfield
Match report by Theo Kyriacou
Arbroath beat Clyde by a goal-to-nil thanks to a goal from Mark Whatley. The captain’s goal minutes before half time was enough to secure victory for the home side. It was a tight contest and the game really lacked quality throughout the full ninety minutes. However, as Forfar lost at home to Edinburgh City, the result cuts Forfar’s lead at the top from six points to three points, with just eight games to go.
Dick Campbell made one change to the side that drew 0-0 at Elgin City last week. Gomes remained in goal. The back four was made up of Gold at right back, who replaced Malin, Sukar at left-back and Hamilton partnered Little, whose red card from the Elgin game had been rescinded, at centre-back. In midfield, Linn and McCord played on the wings, left and right respectively, and Hodge played alongside Whatley in central midfield. Up front, Doris partnered Scott.
Arbroath named seven substitutes: Gavin Malin, Bryan Prunty, Eddie Ferns, Donald McCallum, Matty Smyth, Omar Kader and Ryan Stewart.
Clyde started the game the livelier of the two sides. However, Arbroath had an amazing chance to open the scoring after three minutes but were let down by poor finishing from Linn. Scott managed to play Linn through on goal down the right hand side. Linn, with no one around him, advanced towards the goal. But with only Gibson to beat, Linn slotted his shot wide of the far post.
It was a half of very little chances but Clyde almost took the lead from a spectacular volley by Flynn. Whatley misjudged the bounce of the ball, in the middle of the Arbroath half, allowing Flynn the chance to hit a dipping volley agonizingly wide of the bar.
Clyde were playing some good football and had a great opportunity to score midway through the first half. Johnston crossed the ball from out wide into the penalty box. His cross came all the way to an unmarked Ferguson at the back post who, from close range, had his volley tipped over the bar by Gomes. It was a good save from Gomes but Ferguson really should’ve scored from there.
Arbroath began to come alive towards the end of the first half and, after Doris had a shot well saved by Gibson, made the breakthrough on the 41st minute. McCord slipped the ball over the Clyde defence to Whatley who took a touch and, unlike Linn, slipped the ball past Gibson and into the back of the net to give Arbroath, quite undeservedly, the lead.
Arbroath with all the momentum behind them after scoring had another great chance to score on the stroke of half time but they were denied but a great bit of goalkeeping by Gibson. Whatley clipped an inviting ball into the box which came all the way to Doris in the penalty area. Doris turned his man but saw his shot blocked by the legs of Gibson.
Half-Time – Arbroath 1-0 Clyde
Much like the first half, the second half was a half that lacked quality and goal scoring opportunities.
Clyde made a substitution as Higgins came on for Gormley.
The first real opportunity of the half was created by Arbroath. Linn slipped Scott through on goal but, with Gibson rushing out to meet him, Scott chipped the ball over Gibson but wide of the goal.
Clyde made another substitution as Lochhead replaced Flynn.
Hodge then almost extended Arbroath’s lead with a spectacular effort. However, his drive from 25-yards went just over the bar.
Although Clyde were very poor during the game, how they didn’t come away with at least a point is a mystery. It’s also another mystery how McDonald didn’t grab the equaliser for the Bully Wee in the 71st minute. Ferguson, who tormented Sukar all game, drove towards the edge of the box and flashed an excellent ball across the Arbroath goalmouth. The ball came to McDonald who, from virtually two yards out, spooned the ball over the crossbar. It was a horrific miss by McDonald and really something that Clyde’s interim manager, alongside JP McGovern, will want to forget.
Clyde made their third and final substitution as McKenzie came on in place of Johnston.
Gibson was having a good game in goal for the visitors and he once again produced a good save to deny Doris after good link-up play between Scott and Linn.
Clyde kept on searching for an equaliser and once again missed a great chance. Ferguson combined well with Mcniff who cut the ball back to the unmarked McLaughlin on the edge of the box. However, McLaughlin’s well-hit volley went just wide of the post.
The last few minutes of the game consisted of Arbroath making all three substitutions. Kader, Prunty and Ferns all came on in place of Linn, Scott and Hodge.
Full Time – Arbroath 1-0 Clyde
Arbroath were a little fortuitous to claim all three points but can take heart from the victory as it is a well known fact that a mark of a good side is when they can win games without playing particularly well. Not only does the result close the gap at the top of the table but it also virtually guarantees a play of spot for the Red Lichties. Dick Campbell’s men travel to Berwick Rangers next week with the Angus derby at home to Montrose the week after.