Clyde focussed on making play-offs after dream of landing title goes east

Clydes David Marsh and East Fifes Nathan Austin put their best feet forward at Broadwood.
Clydes David Marsh and East Fifes Nathan Austin put their best feet forward at Broadwood.

Clyde will have to negotiate the play-offs if they are to gain promotion after a goalless draw with East Fife at Broadwood on Saturday ended their outside championship chance.

The result, coupled with a defeat for rivals Annan and Queen’s Park’s failure to win at Elgin, was enough to secure the League 2 title for East Fife with two games to spare.

In a game of few chances the visitors looked dangerous when Nathan Austin burst into the Clyde box and went down under a challenge from Chris Smith.

But the loud shouts for a penalty from the visitors were waved away by referee Colin Steven.

Kevin Smith then had a great chance for the visitors following a breakaway at a Clyde corner.

The ball was played in to him inside the box by Kyle Wilkie, but he couldn’t get it under control and Jamie Watson got back to make a vital challenge, allowing keeper Marc Waters to gather the loose ball.

Austin then looked certain to knock the ball home after Waters hesitated and failed to collect a ball into the box cross but Scott McMann somehow got back to hook the ball off the line.

Waters then safely gathered a Gary Naysmith free-kick and the teams went in at the break with the game still goalless.

Clyde improved after the interval and Jordan Kirkpatrick threatened for Clyde with a low drive from the edge of the box but the ball trundled wide of East Fife ’keeper Liam Kelly’s right-hand post.

Smith was booked for a cynical challenge on Austin just outside the Clyde box on the left and from the free-kick Scott Mercer slid the ball to the side for Steven Campbell to hit a rasping drive which was only just off target.

Probably Clyde’s best move of the match came when David Gormley held the ball up well on the left before playing in Scott McLaughlin.

He knocked the ball to to Sean Higgins with his back to goal 12 yards out but the Clyde striker’s ambitious overhead kick was wide of Kelly’s left-hand post.

A couple of set pieces had the East Fife defence under pressure as Barry Ferguson’s side pushed for the goal they needed to keep their title dream alive.

But the visitors held firm and could have snatched victory when Jamie Insall’s effort from a free-kick was deflected wide.

However in the end the point proved enough for the Fifers - and Clyde boss Ferguson was quick to acknowledge afterwards that Naysmith’s men were worthy champions.

The Bully Wee boss admitted: “For me the team that finishes top is the best team throughout the season so I’m not going to sit here and say we should have won it.

“We’ve had bad luck against us, but the table doesn’t lie. They have been the most consistent team.”