0 - 2
West of Scotland Football League Cup (Semi Final)
Joe Slattery (39)
Nicky Low (90)
|James McKnight / John Petrie||
1 John Stark
2 Paul Tierney
3 Paul O'Brien
4 Brian McQueen
5 Anthony Dempsey
6 Kieran Martin
7 Darren Maguire
8 Kieran Daw
9 Paul Brennan
10 Robert Maguire
11 Evan Galasso
Jamie Donnelly 1
Adam Hodge 2
Oisin McHugh 15
Jamie Darroch 5
Creag Little 22
Nicky Low 23
Lee Gallacher 7
Larry McMahon 17
Ciaran Mulcahy 9
Joe Slattery 8
Alan Kelly 21
12 Matthew Sutherland
14 Jamie Morrison
15 Clinton Onotu
16 Sean Stewart
21 Leo Boylan
Ikechi Eze 26
Connor Higgins 27
Kyle King 20
Calum McEwan 25
Ben McLernan 18
Matt Niven 4
Josh Weir 9
Stewart -> Galasso (64)
Shields -> Martin (82)
Josh Weir for Ciaran Mulcahy (56)
Connor Higgins for Alan Kelly (79)
Kieran Daw (62)
Darren Maguire (85)
Oisin McHugh (69)
Steven MacDonald (Referee)
Clydebank will contest the final of this year’s West of Scotland League Cup against Auchinleck Talbot at the end of this month after seeing off First Division St Rochs at the James McGrory Park this afternoon.
It was an uneven performance on an uneven pitch, but the Bankies were clear victors after improving massively in the second half, and but for some woeful finishing would have won by a larger margin.
It took a last minute clincher from Nicky Low to put the game beyond doubt when he received the ball from Connor Higgins who dribbled across the penalty area and supplied the ball to the midfielder.
Low jinked left, then right before crashing the ball high into the net beyond Stark, and the players and fans alike could celebrate the Bankies reaching their first cup final since 2017.
It had been a poor first half display from the Bankies, as they struggled on a number of fronts to get their game going. Yes, the pitch was bobbly and difficult to play any kind of passing football on, but the players were generally too passive and the tempo in possession was too slow.
Fortunately, St Rochs were not able to take advantage of the Bankies shortcomings. The Candy grew into the match and a spell in the middle of the first half was their purple patch. Daw and Darren Maguire had shots on target, but neither troubled Donnelly.
However, they had one glaring miss after 25 minutes after it was presented to them on a plate by Hodge. His mistake saw Galasso run clear on the left hand side of the box and square the ball for Brennan. It was a golden opportunity, and had Donnelly not been so sharp off his line to close the strikers shot down, the Bankies could easily have been a goal down.
As we entered the last ten minutes of the first half, the Bankies showed some promising signs that would see them take the lead into the interval.
The first stirring was from a Gallacher free kick following a foul on Mulcahy. The winger got his shot up and over the wall and it went just wide of the goal with Stark just a spectator.
Then, McMahon tried a shot low towards the keeper’s right hand post. It wasn’t the hardest hit shot, but Stark had trouble getting down to it and just managed to force a corner.
It was from the corner that the opening goal was scored after 39 minutes. The ball was cleared to the edge of the box, and Slattery drove the ball through a ruck of players, and it took a deflection off Kelly on its way into the net.
St Rochs were under real pressure for the first time in the match, and Clydebank could easily have doubled their lead making their life a lot more comfortable going into the second period.
From another corner on the left hand side, Mulcahy was presented with a free header, but he didn’t get enough on it as he directed the ball into the ground and into the arms of Stark.
Then, Gallacher had the crowd holding their heads in their hands when he missed a complete sitter. Mulcahy judged a header perfectly floating the ball beyond the home defence. With just the keeper to beat Gallacher put his laces through the ball, rather than picking his spot, and belted the ball wide of the post.
The last chance of the half saw the ball hit the back of the net. Mulcahy was the provider again as he weaved his way into the box before rolling the ball across the face of the goal for McMahon to slide home. Unfortunately, the linesman had his flag raised for offside.
Clydebank were much improved in the second, pretty much controlling the game from start to finish. The tempo, and closing down was much better with Nicky Low having possibly his best game for the club thus far.
Larry McMahon was excellent as well. He seemed to be given more licence to get forward, and his hassling was making life difficult and forcing the St Rochs into mistakes. This meant the Bankies were turning the ball over higher up the field and allowing more chances to be created.
Where the Bankies let themselves down was in their finishing. Gordon Moffat is going to have to get his players to practice one-on-ones in training. After Gallacher’s first half miss, there were at least three other instances when this game should have killed stone dead.
The first one was from Larry McMahon after he got the break of the ball following a handball by Dempsey. The midfielder raced into the penalty area, but he hit his shot almost straight at Stark giving him an easier save than he should have had.
Then twice in two minutes, substitute Weir did likewise missing both attempts when faced just with the keeper to beat.
Even taking one of these would have made life so much easier, rather than having the game hanging in the balance. At some point you know St Rochs would get one chance and it could so easily have been very costly when they were awarded a free kick on the edge of the box after 73 minutes.
The ball was flighted across the box and the unmarked Stewart glanced the ball downwards, but luckily it drifted on just the wrong side of the post.
We got away with that one, but recent games against better opposition such as Darvel and Beith have shown that if you don’t take your chances you will be punished.
That was about the best St Rochs had to offer, and the spaces opened up when they tried to gamble a bit more in the last ten minutes.
That is when Nicky Low finally put the game to bed in the 90th minute, but it should have been over long before then.
It is great for the club to be involved in a cup final. It has been too long since the Bankies had this kind of occasion to look forward to. In a disappointing league campaign, the cups have given the season some meaning. It is also a fantastic opportunity to win this trophy for the first time and for the players and management to earn some reward for their hard work over the last few years, and hopefully a great night out for the supporters.
Next week, we face Auchinleck Talbot at Holm Park in the league in a dress rehearsal for the cup final at the end of the month. The Bankies beat Talbot at Beechwood Park just 12 days ago, so the players can have confidence that they can do so again.
Match report written by Stuart McBay
|2022-23||All Time||All Time|
|Jamie Donnelly (GK)||31||16||-||7||-||47||-||16||-||63||-|
|Connor Higgins (sub)||23||20||5||9||4||20||5||9||4||29||9|
|Josh Weir (sub)||28||18||4||9||4||18||4||9||4||27||8|
|League results since Clydebank FC's last match|
|7th April 2023|
|Irvine Meadow||1-2||Beith Juniors|
|8th April 2023|
|Cumnock||1-2||Kirk Rob Roy|
|12.||Kirk Rob Roy||22||8||2||12||-6||26|
Cambuslang Rangers: -3