1 - 3
League (Super Division One)
|David Cunningham (56)||
Charlie Hobbs (32)
Gordon Moffat (pen.) (63)
Stevie Dallas (84)
Stefan Gonet 1
Scott Highlands 2
Barry Crawford 3
Michael MacAdam 4
Gordon Moffat 5
Kevin Murray 6
Stevie Dymock 7
Paul Allum 8
Darian MacKinnon 11
Charlie Hobbs 10
Mark Hailstones 9
Paul McMenamin 12
Martin McComish 14
Stevie Dallas 15
Ross McPherson 16
Steven Blair 17
Liam Campbell 20
|Walker - Stevenson (70)||
Paul McMenamin for Kevin Murray (27)
Stevie Dallas for Stevie Dymock (75)
Ross McPherson for Charlie Hobbs (85)
Alan Newlands (Referee)
Clydebank inched ever closer to promotion to the Premier League when they notched up a hard fought 3-1 win against a Hurlford side who are desperate for points at the other end of the table. Charlie Hobbs opened the scoring against the run of play just after half an hour, but a Cunningham header brought the sides level just after the break. In a replica of the Annbank match on Saturday, Hobbs won the Bankies a penalty kick, which was despatched superbly by Moffat into the net. With the Ford throwing everything into attack in the closing stages, Stevie Dallas latched onto a long ball to lob the keeper for the goal of the night.
Budgie McGhie was forced to shuffle the pack after Ross Campbell’s hamstring injury and Tommy Martin’s call off due to illness. This meant that Highlands and MacAdam retained their places from Monday night’s defeat at Shotts in the Central League Cup. A surprise on the bench was the fit again Stevie Blair as the Bankies struggled to make up the full compliment of substitutes.
Hurlford inflicted a surprise defeat on the Bankies back in February, and they were obviously keen to make it a double as they made a blistering start. With two giants in the centre of defence in the shape of Lawless and Minor, any set pieces were going to be difficult to defend, and they were given an early opportunity from a first minute corner. Stefan Gonet did exceptionally well to punch the ball away under severe pressure. Three minutes into the match and Stevenson tested Gonet with a drive to his right hand post, which the Bankies keeper held well.
The Bankies responded with a MacKinnon through ball that found Dymock in the box. The angle was quite narrow, and Menzies was quickly out of his goal and he was able to block Dymock’s shot. However, the action continued in front of Stefan Gonet’s goal. Doolan was unfortunate to see a shot deflected for a corner, then Stevenson dragged a shot wide of the post from a Cunningham flick on.
It has been a while since the Bankies have experienced such concerted pressure, as Black mis-fired a shot at goal, then Cunningham forced Gonet into a tremendous diving save to his right after a clever hooked shot. This led to another corner that Gonet managed to punch away again. Hurlford surely couldn’t keep up this pace, and finally the Bankies slowly began to get a foothold in the match, with two shots on goal within a minute. Paul Allum blasted the ball over the bar from a good position after a clearance landed nicely at his feet just outside the box, then MacKinnon pounced on a loose ball in the box, and his dipping shot just narrowly missed Menzies’ right hand post.
Midway through the half, Hurlford missed the best chance of the match thus far, and from a Clydebank corner kick too! In what was obviously a move from the training ground, and probably seemed like a good idea at the time Crawford was meant to make a late run from the half way line to receive the ball at the edge of the box. However, the execution was disastrous, and suddenly Hurlford were racing up the park with more forwards than the Bankies had defenders. They worked the ball nicely to the right wing where the ball was crossed to the back post. The cross took Gonet out of the game and the Hurlford player headed the ball towards the goal, and only a great block by Crawford on the line prevented a goal.
The Bankies were dealt a blow after 27 minutes when Kevin Murray had to leave the pitch to be replaced by Paul McMenamin. Five minutes later and the concern on the faces of the Bankies supporters turned to smiles as they took the lead against the run of play. Hailstones got on the end of a cross in the box, which was blocked. As the ball spun up in the air, Hailstones won the header, which saw it drop to MacKinnon. The midfielder hit the ball diagonally, and straight into the path of Charlie Hobbs who volleyed the ball into the net from six yards.
The goal certainly settled the Bankies and they enjoyed their best spell leading up to half time. Hailstones had a free kick effort that went through the defensive wall and into the arms of Menzies, and right on the half time whistle, Paul McMenamin sent in a fine curling cross from the left. Scott Highlands cleverly snuck in at the back post, but he was unable to control his volley as the ball soared over the bar
Hurlford were certainly the side who were looking to be on the offensive, and they opened the second half in this vein, however the Bankies seemed to be containing them well, as they were not able to get a direct sight of goal. Set pieces were always likely to be a danger though, and it was through a free kick that the Ford drew level. The Bankies conceded a needless free kick on the right hand touchline, and if you allow a team to have a lot of crosses into the box, then chances are they will finally get something. This is exactly what happened here as Cunningham out jumped the Bankies defence to head home.
For the second league match in a row, no sooner had the opposition got on terms, they found themselves behind soon after from the penalty spot. It was Charlie Hobbs who won the penalty kick on Saturday at Annbank, and it was the same man who done it again. As the ball bounced up high in the box, Hobbs tried to take the it towards goal, he was caught by a Hurlford defender. The defender may have taken a bit of the ball, but the clash of boots was enough to convince the ref that a foul had taken place. Gordon Moffat has been Mr Reliable from the spot recently and he made no mistake as he crashed the ball into the keeper’s top left-hand corner.
The Hurlford players were incensed with the penalty decision, and straight from the restart, they went out to take out their frustration on the first Bankies player on the ball. The unfortunate man was Michael MacAdam, as he was flattened. This almost sparked off a brawl, and led to Stevenson running across and taking a kick at MacAdam while he was on the ground. Amazingly, the ref looked to take no action, and was only forced to do so by his assistant. Even so, Stevenson only received a yellow card, which was a stunning decision. It was obviously noted by the Hurlford bench who immediately substituted him.
Hurlford really went for it after this and a succession of chances came their way. Black angled a volley just over the bar, then Patterson was just wide with a drive. The best chance came after Highlands was robbed on the left wing. Patterson made for the dead ball line where he cut it back for Nimmo, but the midfielder screwed his shot wide from a good position.
As the match entered the final stages, the Bankies looked likely to increase their lead as Hurlford threw men forward, and this turned out to be the case when a long ball over the top allowed substitute Stevie Dallas to split the Hurlford defence. He nodded the ball in front of himself, and he lifted it superbly over the advancing Menzies to score his 7th goal of the season.
The Bankies were made to work for the points tonight, and they dug in when they had to, and got the breaks at the right times. Hurlford will probably feel they were worth a point, but Clydebank are carrying a great deal of momentum at the moment as they made it nine wins out of the last eleven league games.
Amazingly, all the Bankies secured tonight was the play off position. They are in a commanding position and can clinch promotion and possibly the title on Saturday at Bellshill. Ashfield and Girvan are the only clubs who can now prevent the Bankies from taking the championship. All ears will be on the results from these grounds at the weekend.
Match report written by Stuart McBay
|Stefan Gonet (GK)||29||19||-||122||-|
|Paul McMenamin (sub)||-||8||-||8||-|
|Ross McPherson (sub)||22||26||3||26||3|
|Stevie Dallas (sub)||-||24||7||54||18|
No games played.