Mission accomplished as Clyde book play-off place

Handshakes all round after Clyde's win over Stirling Albion
Handshakes all round after Clyde's win over Stirling Albion

Two goals from David Marsh and one from David Gormley were enough for Clyde to dispatch of 10 man Stirling Albion and book their place in the League One play-offs.

Clyde went into the final game of the regular season with the remit simple: win and they would be in the play-offs, fail to and it’s out of their hands.

As such, it was of no surprise that it was the home side who started out stronger. And they had the ball in the net when David Marsh rose highest to head in Gemmell’s cross, only for Stirling to be saved by the offside flag.

The initial breakthrough came on 14 minutes. A Scott Linton corner from the Clyde left looked to have been dealt with when Mark McLaughlin of all people chased down the loose ball on the right hand side and sent it back where it came from. Chris Smith headed it down into the path of David Marsh whose close range effort was too powerful for the Albion keeper to deal with.

Albion, though, were not shy from a dangerous breakaway, and should have been level just minutes after going behind. After some terrific play down the right, Moses Olanrewaju played in Lewis McLear, whose effort was well blocked by John Gibson in the Clyde goal. The rebound, however, fell to Olanrewaju, and with the goal at his mercy, he somehow managed to put the ball over the bar.

A quiet 15-minute spell followed, but when the game livened up again, it did so with gusto.

First, there was a scare for Stirling, after it was left to the keeper Chris Smith to challenge Scott Linton off the back of a long ball over the top. With the keeper off his line, Linton attempted to chip him, but Smith did well to get in his way, and the home side failed to capitalise.

Seconds later, a Gibson fumble at the other end from a seemingly tame Olanrewaju cross was met with a sharp intake of breath by most of the 704 in attendance, but there was no Stirling player at the back post to take advantage.

But it was Clyde who would strike next with Marsh, again, this time getting on the end of a cross from the right to head past Smith.

Albion got things under way for the second period, and it was a scrappy start to proceedings. Gormley looked to be in twice in as many minutes early on, only for the offside flag to come to Stirling’s aid on both occasions.

But on 62 minutes it was all but game over.

On the counter, Jordan Kirkpatrick carved open the Stirling defence. He played it in to David Gormley, whose first effort was blocked by the keeper, but Stirling failed to clear and Gormley tucked it away on the second attempt.

The away side’s misery was added to three minutes later, when Ross Smith cynically fouled Linton in a dangerous position, and the referee saw fit to issue the defender with a straight red card.

Stirling would get one back, as Scott Burns fired in the most spectacular of consolation goals for the away side.

A long ball over the top bounced nicely into his path, and after one touch, he let rip a stunning effort from the edge of the box which arrowed across Gibson into his top right hand corner.

This didn’t seem to shake Clyde, though, as they kept a cool head and saw out the remaining five minutes plus stoppage time with minimal fuss.

Mission accomplished as far as the Bully Wee are concerned, and they will now meet Elgin in the first round of the play-offs midweek.