Clyde draw on inner strength

ALLAN Maitland will be pleased that his understrength team put a good face on things.

After a bad run of four defeats and one draw, the Clyde manager was landed with an extra concern as eight first-team players were either injured or ill, and so he moved quickly to tie up 26-year-old Frederick Boniface on a two-year deal.

The former Paris Olympique striker had shone during the week, scoring two goals for the reserves, and his power and pace were evident yesterday in some promising moves up front. But he wasn’t delivered many opportunities from a midfield that looked scrappy early on and appeared to have a few problems himself in finishing.

Both sides started briskly, and only 30 seconds had elapsed when Craig Taggart was booked for his over-enthusiastic challenge on David Dunn. The Clyde man limped off eight minutes later, replaced by Sean McAulay.

County sniffed out the first opportunity, but Alex Bone delivered the ball straight to Clyde goalkeeper Danny Hanley. Nevertheless, the home side showed promise, and in eight minutes Jack Ross crossed for Andy Kane, who headed just wide. Three minutes later, Clyde defender Mark McLaughlin swept in a shot from 25 yards, rattling the bar above Nicky Walker’s head. A few seconds, later Boniface met Kane’s cross, but his header floated wide.

Clyde’s hopes of imposing control on the game then began to slip. In 25 minutes, County’s David Mackay floated over a cross, Hanley stepped forward to punch the ball away, but Taggart intercepted its flight to redeem his earlier misdemeanour by heading in County’s first goal.

In the second half, though, Clyde lifted their heads. The midfield seemed better patrolled and the home side earned a goal in 52 minutes. Kane crossed, and from the resultant scramble Pat Keogh poked the ball home. But equality lasted only five minutes: a corner from Steven Ferguson, who had replaced Paul Kinnaird, was met by Brian Irvin, who flicked the ball down for Darren Henderson to shove the ball through a scrum of legs, and put County back in the lead.

Clyde weren’t fazed, though, with Craig Bingham and Kane working hard, and the equaliser came in 69 minutes. A Kane corner was thumped into the net by the head of McLaughlin.

Both sides piled on the pressure, but there were no more goals, just a booking for McLaughlin. County manager Neale Cooper will be disappointed his side failed to capitalise on Clyde’s personnel problems. Maitland, however, will probably be relieved.