Cowdenbeath 1-1 Clyde
After a first-half performance probably worthy of winning any game, Clyde capitulated after the break and, in the end, had to accept just a point for their efforts.
Disappointment was clear among the Cumbernauld squad, who produced a succession of flowing moves in the early part of the game and scored a superb goal after barely a quarter of an hour.
But faint hints of improvement from Cowdenbeath led to an equaliser early in the second period – and the Bully Wee struggled to find the confident, sweeping style they’d shown in the first half hour or so.
Impressive work as early as the second minute from Barry Cuddihy eventually enabled skipper Kevin Nicol to have a low shot from 18 yards but it didn’t trouble home ‘keeper David McGurn.
Kristoffer Syvertsen then got on the end of a Cuddihy cross after five minutes but his looping header hung in the air and was easily gathered.
Cowden’s Gary Fraser was called back for a foul on David Goodwillie and Mark Lamont struck the post with a 20-yard free kick.
Fraser escaped a caution but was angered by the decision and his recurring frustration cost him a yellow card several minutes later, with a couple of his own team mates having to calm him down.
Clyde had roped several players into a series of advances towards the Cowden goal and another of these led to an excellent goal in 16 minutes.
‘Keeper Blair Currie started the move and Cuddihy drove forward impressively, before laying off to Rankin, who passed to Goodwillie. He then nodded it back into Rankin’s path for a superb finish.
The Blue Brazil later had their first effort on target – a low shot from Fraser Mullen which was smothered by Currie.
A 27th minute header fromDeas also wasn’t far away, after he connected with a free kick from Fraser.
Another fluent Clyde move just after the half-hour ended with a shot from Chris McStay which was straight at McGurn.
Skipper Nicoll was booked in the 35th minute for a heavy challenge on Blair Malcolm, who lasted only another five minutes or so before being replaced.
McStay headed narrowly over as the interval approached after Syvertsen, Lamont and Goodwillie had fashioned another impressive phase of play, while another effort by Cuddihy was saved by McGurn.
Clyde had a couple of fruitless free kicks at the start of the second half but were dismayed to concede the equaliser in 53 minutes. A throw-in into the box wasn’t initially cleared, then it appeared to be, but the ball was headed back in by Kyle Miller to sub Jordan Allan, who shot under Currie’s body from close range.
Clyde realised they had it all to do again and Rankin tried a speculative long-range effort in 63 minutes, which bounced in front of McGurn but spun wide.
McStay and Rankin worked a promising move 10 minutes later which allowed Goodwillie a skilful shot on the turn but McGurn was equal to it, also being alert soon afterwards to a header from Scott Rumsby.
Miller shot wide of the target for Cowdenbeath in 80 minutes, while Clyde could have been made to play for a defensive slip minutes later but for an excellent tackle by Dylan Cogill, who intervened against Kris Renton.
Both teams sought some urgency in the closing minutes and tried to deceive each other with the long ball, but the game had an air of 1-1 about for a while before the final whistle – and Cowden were not as good in the second half as Clyde had been in the first.
Clyde manager Danny Lennon reckoned John Rankin’s counter could be a candidate for team goal of the year.
He added: “I thought we were very good in the first half – it was a very controlled performance in and out of possession,” he said. “I thought we were very good on the break and we dominated a lot of the play, got the ball into the areas where we felt we could get at them, and made them adapt – they went for five at the back and tried to stop that source.
“For all the possession we had in second half, I thought we had even more of the ball than inthe first, but we didn’t use it as purposefully as we did in the first half.
“And once again – we’re famous for it at this minute in time – we gave away a very, very sloppy goal, which was poor. As that went in,I felt our monentum slightly changed then.
“You could see the players thinking ‘Oh no, we’ve got to go and do it all over again’ and it took us another 10-15 minutes to get a grip of the game again,
“We got a lot of ball in the central area of the pitch but didn’t make inroads as much as we did in the first half, which was disappointing.”