Clyde 2 Queen’s Park 0

Queen’s went into their last league game of the year looking for their first win since November … against a Clyde team in the midst of an eight-game unbeaten run. Little wonder then that the Bully Wee were clear favourites, and while the scoreline might suggest they did run out comfortable winners, there were some grounds for hoping that Mark Roberts’ side could be just about ready to turn the corner.

The gaffer had some thinking to do after last week’s debacle against Elgin, and his plan was a reshaped side with Jamie McKernon in the middle of a back three/five, alongside Lewis Magee and the returning Dom McLaren.  James Grant and Ciaran Summers occupied the wing-back roles, with Calvin McGrory given a start in midfield beside Kurtis Roberts and Smart Osadolor. That left Alan Gow to support Josh Peters up front.

It was a line-up that certainly raised a few eyebrows, but it showed the boss wasn’t afraid to try to change things when needed. And the early signs were encouraging as the Spiders knocked the ball about with some confidence. Despite enjoying plenty possession, however, there was little to worry Currie in the Clyde goal in the opening exchanges. The only entries in the notebook during the first 15 minutes were two fruitless corners for the visitors, and a similar number of free kicks that led to nothing for Clyde.

Things changed for the worse at this stage with David Goodwillie showing exactly why he is such a threat. First he sent a header just over our bar and then seconds later played in Cuddihy. Jordan Hart in the Queen’s goal was happy to see his flicked effort nick the post and go behind.

It was a warning about the abilities of the striker, and with the experienced John Rankin also starting to make an impression, Queen’s endured an anxious few minutes. They survived, however, and began asking a few questions of their own. Roberts and McGrory were looking impressive in the middle of the park, with Peters and Gow also showing promising signs.

As the first quarter of the game passed, Roberts went close with a shot from outside the box before Peters’ endeavour earned another two corners in quick succession. Both crosses were cleared by the Clyde defence without Currie being troubled.

Rankin showed the other side of his nature with a lunging tackle on Roberts, and could consider himself fortunate to avoid more stringent punishment than the warning dished out by referee Munro.

Within a couple of minutes of the lecture, the former Dundee United player produced a beautiful through ball to release Goodwillie. He rounded Hart, but couldn’t get a shot away as Queen’s rushed back to cover. The striker kept his cool and rolled the ball into the path of Boyle who couldn’t miss from just a couple of yards. He didn’t … and despite furious claims from the visitors for offside, the goal was allowed to stand. Definitely one to look out for if the highlights appear on Clyde TV.

The Spiders tried to hit back and got a chance after 33 minutes. Osadolor was leading the charge when he was hauled back by Rankin, who couldn’t argue about the booking he received this time. Young McGrory took responsibility for the free kick and his effort beat the wall nicely, but also flew the wrong side of Currie’s post.

Moments later, Gow went close when his cross took a wicked deflection and spun off the woodwork. On another day, we’d have been celebrating a bit of a fluke; this afternoon, we were left cursing our luck.

And the curses got louder five minutes from the interval when Goodwillie lost his markers to plant a header firmly into the net from Cuddihy’s cross. It was a harsh lesson for the boys, but they didn’t let the heads go down. Indeed, they ended the half on the attack with Grant popping up in the Clyde box to fire a left-footed shot narrowly wide.

Half time

Clyde 2 Queen’s Park 0

There were no changes at the interval – and little change in the pattern of play as the second period began. Queen’s played some decent stuff without carving out any real chances. Clyde, on the other hand, looked menacing when they broke.

Ten minutes in Hart saved from Stewart’s header before blocking a Cuddihy shot. Not to be outdone, Queen’s went up the park and had a Peters’ header saved by Currie.

Things got a bit niggly at this stage, with the visitors feeling aggrieved by some decisions from the officials. There was no argument when Lamont became the second Clyde player booked for trying to swap shirts with Osadolor while play was still going on. However, there was bemusement when Magee was booked moments later … apparently for something said to the referee. The mood didn’t get better when Gow broke on the left and outmuscled Grant to bear down on goal. Munro, however, decided the Queen’s player had fouled the defender and brought play to a halt.

Both managers tried to change things, with Love replacing Boyle for the home side and Euan East coming on for Osadolor.

With 20 minutes left, Queen’s enjoyed another good spell in and around the Clyde goal. Magee hooked an effort wide after a corner wasn’t cleared and then Peters tested Currie with a shot from the edge of the box.

Rankin was living a bit dangerously at this stage and after committing another foul on Roberts, he was hooked by his manager and replaced by the veteran Kevin Nicoll.

Goodwillie headed wide from a decent position before Queen’s produced possibly their best move of the afternoon. Slick passing between Gow and Peters gave Grant space on the right. The full-back’s shot was measured, but the measurements were out and the ball flew just the wrong side of the post for the liking of the visitors.

Kieran Moore was brought into the action for the last 12 minutes or so, at the expense of Peters. The pace of the QP sub caused problems for the home defence, but we couldn’t turn the promising possession into anything concrete. The closest we came was a Gow shot which was blocked. Love then rattled our bar with a shot from distance that would have put a truly cruel reflection on the scoreline.

As we entered injury time Summers became the second visiting player booked … again for telling Munro a few home truths.

Right at the death, East burst through on our left, but although his shot was on target, it hit the trailing leg of keeper Currie and bounced to safety … somehow summing up the way the entire afternoon went.

The final whistle sounded seconds later to signal a sixth defeat in our last seven outings. Perhaps even more worrying is that we have failed to score in five of our last six matches.

There’s no denying that a fairly miserable year for the Spiders has ended in fairly miserable fashion. Your scribe, for one, will not be sad to see the back of 2018, but like the eternal optimists they are, Gulliver and Homer are already looking forward to better things in 2019 … and what better way could there be to start than with victory over old rivals Albion Rovers?

Keep the Faith!