2 - 1
2 - 1
Sectional League Cup (2nd Round)
Del Hepburn (8)
Stevie Higgins (83)
|Chris Zok (pen 74)|
1 Marc Waters
14 Chris Dooley
3 Andy Paterson
19 Danny Lightbody
21 Matt McLean
4 Alan Vezza
7 Cammy McClair
16 Chris Black
10 Stevie Higgins
6 Nicky Little
11 Del Hepburn
8 Sean Higgins
15 Liam Rowan
5 Jamie Darroch
12 Ross Alexander
20 Scott Morrison
Liam Rowan for Matt McLean (56)
Sean Higgins for Chris Black (56)
12 -> 2 (82)
14 -> 8 (85)
Cammy McClair (71)
Liam Rowan (90)
Craig King (Referee)
Dire…. If you had to think of one word to sum up Clydebank’s second half display against Rossvale it would be just that. How the Bankies managed to win this game is an utter mystery, as that was about as bad as it gets. Things got worse as the game progressed, and credit for that must go to the visitors as they had desire, energy and were the only team playing any decent football on the night. It started off so well for the Bankies as Hepburn scored a fabulous goal, but when Rossvale equalised from the spot with quarter of an hour to go it looked like there was only going to be one winner. Then, a defensive disaster allowed Stevie Higgins to grab a late winner that was totally undeserved.
The above doesn’t sound too good from a Clydebank point of view but the team actually started off not too badly. Alan Vezza brought out a superb save from Craig Gordon when the Bankies midfielder pounced on a lax clearance, then a shot from McLean found Higgins in the six yard box that he steered into the net only to see the linesman’s flag raised for offside.
The Bankies then took a deserved lead after 8 minutes when a long diagonal ball was missed by the Rossvale right back. Hepburn dropping in behind the defender controlled the ball superbly before curling an unstoppable shot into the top corner of the goal.
Any thoughts that this might be a comfortable win were quickly dispelled as Rossvale came roaring back into the match. A corner from the left was met by the number eight who had peeled away from his marker. His header toward the back post led to an almighty stramash with an incredible block on the line preventing the equaliser.
The game was open at this stage and maybe had Clydebank scored a second they night have killed off the Rossvale threat. The Bankies certainly created a number of decent goal-scoring opportunities. Stevie Higgins was unlucky when his low free kick was fluffed by the goalkeeper, but the post came to his rescue. To add to the agony the ball rolled along the line before being cleared. Then, Hepburn had an almost identical chance as his goal when the right back missed another long ball. This time the Bankies winger went for the near post, but could only find the side netting.
Rossvale were not without chances themselves. A cross from the right hand side was helped on to the number y who unleashed a volley that just went wide. Then the number 3 had a terrific effort at goal from twenty yards that wasn’t too far away.
The visitors were dominating the midfield and were pressing for the equaliser, but twice Clydebank could have extended their lead prior to the interval. Chris Black started off both moves. The first one was a pass in behind the defence that Hepburn took on his stride before cutting the ball back for Higgins whose shot was off target. Then, Black held the ball at the touchline from a throw in on the right hand side. He did well to turn his man and pick out Higgins again. This time the forward was unlucky to see his goalbound effort deflected over the bar.
Rossvale then put the Bankies under concerted pressure, and the interval couldn’t come quick enough for the home side. A succession of corner kicks were delivered into the box, and Waters had to be smart to hold a header from the number 6. Then the visitors had two penalty kick claims. The first was a blistering shot from the edge of the box that cannoned off a Bankies defender. The shouts for handball were more in hope than expectation, but the second shout was more realistic. A Rossvale forward looked to have been impeded as he broke clear of the defence in the box. He regained his balance though and shot over the bar. Perhaps, if he had not gone for the shot and went down he may have got the spot kick.
That ended the first half action, and Clydebank were lucky to be ahead despite having the better of the chances. The second half was a different story as Rossvale dominated from the off.
The Bankies were all over the place. There were mis-placed passes, aimless punts, leaving the ball to each other and losing possession, all sorts of indecision and seemingly unable to hold on to the ball at all for any period of time. It was dismal viewing, and even the floodlights being switched on made no difference.
For all the pressure, however, the Bankies defence were mostly resolute and limited the visitor’s goal scoring opportunities. There were several heart-stopping moments with shots being blocked and last ditch clearances. The best chance was a cross from the left after 64 minutes. It was perfect for Zok, and all he had to do was get anything on the ball and it was a goal, but he contrived to miss the ball completely and let the Bankies off the hook.
Another dangerous moment came when a direct run at goal by a Rossvale forward was helped when Alan Vezza slipped and fell on his backside. The ball was played out to the right hand side where the subsequent shot was stopped by Waters.
With just over quarter of an hour remaining, Rossvale got their deserved equaliser and it was to come from the penalty spot. A cross from the left was headed clear to the edge of the box. It was probably 50-50 on who would get there first, but unfortunately for Andy Paterson, it was the Rossvale attacker who touched the ball and the Bankies defender could have no complaints as he brought his man down. Chris Zok made no mistake with his spot kick. The visitors went for it after that and the number 8 had a volley blocked then the same man dragged a shot wide.
Incredibly though the Bankies were to steal the win with seven minutes remaining. A disastrous attempt at a pass by a Rossvale player lifted the ball over the top of his own defence. Stevie Higgins was alert and ran onto the ball. It momentarily looked like he had over-run it but at the last second he was able to prod the ball under the keeper and into the net.
Even after this Rossvale could have equalised as the number 2 smashed in a tremendous volley that was just inches over the bar, but the home side held on to progress to the next round.
Rossvale will be gutted they lost this match and it’s easy to see how they overcame Pollok earlier in the competition. However, this was easily the worst display so far for the Bankies and maybe some of the early season expectations have been given a dose of reality. It seems clear that Stevie Higgins is not going to be able to play through the middle on his own. He can’t or won’t challenge for high balls or be physical in any way and we are gifting possession to the opposition at every turn. Undoubtedly, he is a superb finisher, so the only option is to play with a supporting striker to get the best out of him. Tonight was reminiscent of many games last season where none of the forwards could compete to win the ball (especially in the air) meaning we were not able to get possession high up the field. The opposition sense this and are able to push up against us making it even harder. The two wingers were largely anonymous in the second half as well, and they will have to work harder to get themselves into games when it is not going their way. Kieran McAnespie spoke recently about wanting players in his team who are hungry and ambitious, rightly so. Tonight, that team was Rossvale, not Clydebank. Undoubtedly, this is by no means the Bankies strongest starting line up, but after two dodgy performances in a row Clydebank now have a run of very difficult league games and will need to do better if they harbour any ambitions of competing at the top end of the table.
Match report written by Stuart McBay
|Marc Waters (GK)||22||7||-||16||-|
|Liam Rowan (sub)||23||7||-||7||-|
|Sean Higgins (sub)||33||5||1||5||1|
No games played.