Edinburgh City 0-1 Clyde: Uphill task for citizens after defeat in play-off first leg
Edinburgh City face an uphill task if they are to achieve their Ladbrokes League One after a 1-0 defeat to Clyde in the promotion play-off first leg.
The only goal of the game arrived after a quarter of an hour at Ainslie Park, visiting captain David Goodwillie finding space in between Bradley Donaldson and Craig Thomson before picking out team-mate Kristoffer Syvertsen to slot past Calum Antell via a deflection.
City created a number of opportunities to equalise but were left to rue their profligacy in front of goal – striker Scott Shepherd twice denied by the woodwork.
The Citizens must now overturn a one-goal deficit in the second leg at Broadwood on Saturday if they are to keep their chances of promotion to Scottish football’s third tier alive.
Clyde are on course to meet Annan Athletic in the play-off final after the Galabank men saw off Stenhousemuir 2-0 in the other tie.
City manager James McDonaugh said: “I wasn’t happy at half-time as I thought Clyde were the better team. But with the second-half performance and the chances we created, I don’t know how we haven’t at least got a draw.
“I don’t know how we hit the woodwork two out of the three times to be honest. Scott put so much into the game but he’s got to be scoring, particularly with the first effort where he hit the bar.
“But we’ve got to take the positives as we’re still well in the tie. The worst thing that could have happened would have been them to have nicked a second.”
It was a packed gantry at the home of Spartans with Malky Mackay, Paul McStay, Ian Murray and Colin Nish just some of the notable spectators.
Scotland’s top goalscorer Blair Henderson wasn’t deemed fit enough to take his place for City, but Conrad Balatoni was inches from giving the home side the lead in the fourth minute when he headed against the crossbar from a Thomson free-kick.
However, the visitors drew first blood when Syvertsen – who scored in the 2-1 victory the last time the sides met last month – applied the finish from Goodwillie’s cutback.
Ally Love tried his luck with a blistering 25-yard strike that required a tip over from Antell but City were fast out of the traps after the interval, Adam Watson seeing his volley from 12 yards blocked.
The hosts spurned their best opportunity to draw level with 15 minutes remaining, though. Captain Josh Walker’s effort from the edge of the box wasn’t dealt with by visiting goalkeeper Blair Currie and Shepherd, who was positioned just a couple of yards out, somehow managed to hit the crossbar when it seemed easier to score.
Former Falkirk striker Shepherd’s night went from bad to worse as he then saw another effort hit the outside of the post just minutes later before firing wide off the target with virtually the last kick of the game.
Opposing manager Danny Lennon said: “It’s only half-time. These games against Edinburgh City are always very close games. They looked very dangerous in the second half and a couple of really good opportunities. I think we’ve got to be very much aware of that on Saturday.
“I thought in terms of the first half and the amount of possession we had we could have had another one. But we lost that control in the middle of the park after the break so that’s something we’ll have to be better at.”
Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Balatoni, Laird, Walker, Taylor (Diver 84), Donaldson, Shepherd, Watson, Breen (Newman 67). Subs: Morton, Rodger, Lumsden, Neave, Shaw.
Clyde: Currie, Duffie, McNiff, Lang, Rumsby, Grant (Nicoll 71), Lamont (Stewart 87), McStay, Goodwillie, Syvertsen (Banks 78), Love. Subs: Hughes, Lyon, Cogill, Boyle.
Referee: Barry Cook.