Edinburgh City boss James McDonaugh today expressed his delight with this team’s progress as they gear up towards next month’s League Two kick-off.
The Capital side were seconds away from taking all three points in their Betfred Cup Group G opener at Clyde as a header from Conrad Balatoni on the stroke of half-time was cancelled out by Martin McNiff deep into stoppage time.
However, City claimed an extra bonus point as goalkeeper Callum Antel denied Eddie Ferns and Raymond Grant from 12 yards in the deciding penalty shootout to win 4-1.
McDonaugh insists that with a group containing Premiership side Motherwell, whom they visit tomorrow night, and Championship outfit Queen of the South, any thoughts of advancing through to the knockout stages is a taboo subject within the City dressing-room.
“We’re not even thinking about getting out of the group,” McDonaugh said. “My experience in these groups is you can do really well and still miss out. It’s all about Edinburgh City being ready for the first game of the season as far as we’re concerned.
“We’re going to Motherwell tomorrow so anything could happen there with the massive gulf between the two teams. We need to be respectful in our next game. We just need to keep our feet on the ground and try and progress the football club. We’ve had a good close season in terms of recruitment.”
On the match at Broadwood itself, he added: “We’ll take the two points, we’re happy with that. It’s still pre-season so points are a bonus. It’s good to win on penalties for morale more than anything else. We want to make progress every week and we’re training well.”
Graham Taylor, who joined the club on a permanent deal from Dundee United last month having spent the second half of last season on loan, had the first glimpse of goal after a neat-one two with Danny Handling. However, his low-driven strike was comfortably held by Blair Currie in the Clyde goal.
At the other end, Antel had to be alert to deny the prowling David Goodwillie after the ball and fallen favourably inside the six-yard box for the former Dundee United and Blackburn Rovers frontman. Chances were at a premium after that until the breakthrough finally arrived just a minute before the interval as a sumptuous delivery from Craig Thomson glanced off the head of Balatoni and into the bottom corner.
Thomson tried his luck four minutes after the restart as City went in search of doubling their advantage, the 27-year-old’s thunderous strike from 30 yards forcing Currie to take the sting out of the shot with both hands.
Frustration grew among the home supporters as their side struggled to exert any pressure on Antel’s goal.
The visitors, meanwhile, increased in confidence as the second half wore on, some neat interchanges between captain Josh Walker and Marc Laird offering up real optimism that a strong partnership beckons this season. Taylor was unlucky to see his powerful effort come back off the outside of the post as he jinked his way past a couple of Clyde defenders and into the box.
Goodwillie then found himself in acres of space to send a well-placed drive just past the Antel’s left-hand post. However, the Cumbernauld faithful finally had reason to cheer as in the dying embers of the match, a cross into the Ciy box was expertly finished by McNiff into the top corner.
Their celebrations were short-lived, however, as Laird, Robbie McIntyre, Bradley Donaldson and Thomson all dispatched their spot-kicks with ease.
Clyde: Currie, Cuddihy, Stewart, McNiff, Gorman, Lamont, Rankin, Goodwillie, McStay (Duffie 54 Nicoll 78), Boyle (Ferns 66), Grant. Subs: Hughes, Nicoll, Cogill, Rumsby, Millar.
Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, Donaldson, McIntyre, Black, Balatoni, Laird, Walker (Stewart 68), Henderson, Handling (Dunn 84), Taylor. Subs: Morton, Rodger, Hall, Lumsden, Shaw.
Referee: Scott Lambie