East Fife welcomed Clyde to the MGM Timber Bayview Stadium on a Tuesday for the 1st leg of our cinch League 1 playoff semi-final encounter, the first the Fifers have been involved in since 2015.
Greig McDonald made nine changes to the team that narrowly lost out to Forfar Athletic at the weekend with Fleming, Denham, Murdoch, Walls, Ferguson, Trouten, McManus, Healy and Shepherd all returning to the starting line-up. their place in the first team after a games break.
Not long after the game got underway, Clyde went very close to taking the lead when Kurtis Roberts intercepted a misplaced pass in midfield and drove all the way to the edge of the box where he laid the ball off for Scullion on the right-hand touchline. With the low sunlight, the Clyde man’s cross caused a mix up in the East Fife box and Fleming had to resort to blocking the cross with his foot only for the ball to rebound off a Clyde player but thankfully the keeper was able to collect.
In the 13th minute, East Fife had their first good chance of the game. Newton, from the halfway line, lofted a ball towards the edge of the box that was headed back across the Clyde goal by Steele, but the ball just wouldn’t drop for Trouten to knock in at the back post.
Nearing the 30-minute mark, Clyde had another opportunity to take the lead when Salkeld picked up a loose ball and cut the ball back for Rennie, but Fleming was again able to get his boot to the ball making the ball to divert it away from the Clyde forward.
With around ten minutes until half time, East Fife went close after a quick break following a Clyde attack. Ferguson punted the ball clear and up to Shepherd who took advantage of a poor header from Craig to drive at the panicking Clyde defence, before cutting inside but his shot was saved by Mullen.
HALF TIME: East Fife 0-0 Clyde
With only 7 minutes gone in the second half Clyde took the lead with a very poor goal from East Fife’s point of view. Murdoch tried to see the ball out for a by-kick but was dispossessed by Salkeld who drove into the box before picking out Rennie was tapped in from a couple of yards.
In the 65th minute, Clyde’s were very close to doubling their lead. A loose ball in the middle of the park was picked up by Scullion who sent Salkeld clean through the middle but dragged his effort wide with only Fleming to beat.
With only 2 minutes of the game remaining, East Fife won a free kick at around 25 yards out. Healy stepped up and curled the ball round the wall only for it to land on the roof of the net with the keeper beaten.
FULL TIME: East Fife 0-1 Clyde
A tough result to take when the teams were very evenly matched, however the tie is far from over. The return leg takes place this Friday at New Douglas Park where both teams will be looking to progress to final where they’ll play the winner of the tie between Dumbarton and Annan Athletic.
East Fife: Fleming, Murdoch, Steele, Newton, Denham, McManus, Trouten (Steven 75’), Healy, Walls, Ferguson (Denholm 85’), Shepherd
Clyde: Mullen, Lyon, McLean, Craig, Sula (Thicot 73’), Roberts, Scullion (Kennedy 85’), Cameron (Duthie 78’), Hynes, Rennie (McDonald 85’), Salkeld
Referee: Barry Cook
Report by Andrew Laing