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Clyde v East Fife, cinch League 1 Play-off Semi-Final 2nd Leg, New Douglas Park, Friday 12th May 2023

East Fife travelled to New Douglas Park to take on Clyde in the biggest match of the Fifers’ season. On the Tuesday evening, East Fife suffered a 1-0 loss to Clyde in the first leg of the semi-final despite the Fifers being, at times, the better of the two sides. The Fife faithful travelled in numbers to potentially witness a major win and progress to the playoff final.

Manager Greig McDonald made one change to the team that lost out in the first leg as Jonathan Page came in for Stewart Murdoch, with Alan Trouten handed the captain’s armband.

East Fife needed an early goal to get themselves back in the tie and duly got it after only 10 minutes. Brogan Walls received the ball in the middle of the pitch who strode forward before playing in Shepherd in behind the defence who sent a first-time effort over Mullen to level the tie at 1-1. 

Not long after, the Fifers had the chance to extend their lead when Newton played a 1-2 with Ferguson to find himself some space to drive to the by-line and fired the ball across goal which was well saved by Mullen in the Clyde goal.

In the 24th minute, East Fife had another opportunity when McManus picked up the ball on the right wing and picked out Page at the back post, but his header was comfortably saved by Mullen.

Clyde had their first real chance in the additional minutes at the end of the first half through Roberts who dragged an effort wide from the edge of the box.

HALF TIME: Clyde 0-1 East Fife (Agg 1-1)

7 minutes into the second half Healy picked up the ball 20-yards out and fired in an effort that was held by Mullen. 

Clyde were growing into the game and, at around the 68th minute mark, had a long-range strike go close when Doherty curled a beautiful shot towards goal, but Fleming was able to collect comfortably to keep the scoreline at 1-0.

With about 20 minutes left of the game, Clyde has another long shot go close, this time through substitute Rennie who laid the ball off to Cuddihy who blasted a powerful shot towards goal and forced Fleming into a superb save to tip the ball over the bar.

With only 7 minutes left of the 90, Shepherd picked up a second yellow card for an elbow on Clyde defender Craig.

Despite being down to ten men East Fife still created chances and went close to grabbing a winner late on when Denholm cut inside and fired an effort towards goal, but Mullen pulled off another very good save to tip the ball past the post to take the tie into extra time. 

FULL TIME: Clyde 0-1 East Fife (Agg 1-1)

Shortly after the restart, Ferguson who curled a cross into the box that was cleared only as far as McManus inside the area who worked some space for himself for a shot at goal, but his effort didn’t trouble the keeper.

Nearing the end of the first half of extra time, Salkeld found a small gap behind the East Fife defence and played a pass through to Craig who tried to cut the ball across goal, but Fleming was able to collect. 

HALF TIME (ET): Clyde 0-1 East Fife (Agg 1-1)

Just 2 minutes into the second half of extra time Clyde grabbed what proved to be the winner when Rennie tapped home the loose ball after Craig’s shot came back off the inside of the post.

FULL TIME (AET): Clyde 1-1 East Fife (Agg 2-1)

The draw on the night and the loss earlier on in the week saw East Fife bow out of the playoffs with Clyde progressing to the final against Annan Athletic. A valiant effort from the Methil men in the second half of the season put a lot of belief in the Fife faithful that promotion may be possible, however it wasn’t to be.

Clyde: Mullen, Lyon (Cameron 94’), McLean, Sula, Craig, Scullion (Cuddihy 45’), Roberts, Hynes (Kennedy 104’), Duthie (Rennie 45’), Salkeld, Doherty (McDonald 71’)

East Fife: Fleming, Steele, Page, Denham (Quinn 5’ (Steven 112’)), Newton, Ferguson, McManus (Millar 105’), Trouten, Walls (Denholm 74’), Healy (Schiavone 105’), Shepherd

Referee: Craig Napier

Attendance: 1012

Report by Andrew Laing