Regaining self respect

Berwick Rangers 1

Clyde 1

The Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Third Division

Clyde striker Willie Sawyers says regaining their self respect was more important than where they finish in the league.

The Bully Wee have picked up 23 points since manager Jim Duffy was appointed in February and had finally overhauled East Stirling at the bottom of the table following last week’s 2-0 win over the Ochilview side.

However, their basement rivals regained ninth spot on Saturday as while they were beating Elgin City, Clyde could only draw at Shielfield.

Clyde still had the chance to once again overtake East Stirling last night (Tuesday) as they travelled to Elgin for the second time in 10 days, but for Sawyers just proving their mettle was the most important thing.

He said: “We were a bit disappointed to come among from Berwick with only a point as I felt we had the chances, myself included, to take all three.

“However, it was another good performance on a very difficult pitch against a side still challenging for the play-offs and we have taken points off all the top sides over the last couple of months which is the most important thing.

“Obviously we don’t want to be bottom of the table, but we started off the season really poorly we have now proved we are a match for anyone and regained some respect for ourselves which has been the most important thing.”

Clyde schedule has seen them already travel to Annan, Arbroath, Elgin and Berwick this month prior to last night’s match.

Sawyers says so long as the team continues to pick up points on the road he doesn’t mind the long journeys.

He said: “We have done a fair bit of travelling , but we have a good bunch of lads and the banter makes the journeys enjoyable.

“Of course our away form has been pretty good and it’s always easier on the road home knowing you have picked up points.

“The manager has also been rotating the squad so everyone is able to get a rest and keep fresh and from a personal point of view after a long injury lay off I’m just glad to be back and part of things again.”

In comparison to usual excellent surface at Broadwood the Shielfield pitch can only be described as a ‘pudding’ and it was therefore no surprise that Berwick dominated the majority of the first half on Saturday as the Bully Wee struggled to find their feet.

However, despite not seeing much of the ball they did carve out the first real opportunity of the match.

JC Hutchison pushed a Pat Gribben cross-come-shot onto the bar and out for the corner, which was cleared up the pitch to send Sawyers into space.

However, as the big striker went to pull the trigger Lee Currie somehow got back to block.

Hutchison possibly had his best game in a Clyde shirt and after denying Gribben, then got down to deal with a Damon Gray shot, before once again combining with the bar to keep out Paul Currie.

Alexanders Gramovics who is probably used to such pitches in his native Latvia began pulling the strings and his cross into the ‘corridor of doubt’ should have been put away by John Stewart but Ian McCaldon quickly closed down the space.

Clyde would come to dominate the second half, but not before they had fell behind on the hour mark as Gribben played in Lee Currie who stole in out of nowhere to slot the ball past Hutchison.

Within two minutes Clyde were level as Andy McLean was penalised for handball in the box and Stewart swept in the resultant penalty.

This seems to lift the Bully Wee’s confidence and they began to stroke the ball around in spite of the conditions, however their finishing left a lot to be desired as Sawyers inparticular was guilty of giving McCaldon little more than catching practice from good positions.

McCaldon may be approaching his 37th birthday in a few months time but showed his reactions were as sharp as ever diving full length to keep out a powerful Alan Lithgow header from a pinpoint Neil McGowan cross as the honours remained even.

After last night’s trip to Elgin, Clyde return home on Saturday as they welcome Queen’s Park to Broadwood.

The Bully Wee conceded seven goals to the Spiders in two games last month, but Sawyers in confident that can be avoided this time.

He said: “While we have lost other games, we’ve perhaps only had two really poor performances since Jim Duffy took over.

“Losing 3-0 at home to Arbroath and the 4-0 defeat at Hampden, however I don’t think that will happen again.

“There is no special plan this time around for dealing with them. We just have to be more solid as a unit, deny them the space their pace craves and make sure this time they know they have been in a game.”

Berwick Rangers: McCaldon, Grant (Gordon 86), Callaghan, McLean, Ewart, McLeod, Greenhill, P Currie, Gribben, Gray (Brazil 74), L Currie.

Clyde: Hutchison, Brown (Stevenson 65), Waddell, Scullion, McMillan, Lithgow, Gray, Sweeney, Stewart, Sawyers, Gramovics (McGowan 82).

Referee: Des Roach.

Attendance: 427.

News & Chronicle Man of the Match: Alan Lithgow.