Edinburgh City boss set to wield axe after deflating end to the season
Edinburgh City boss James McDonaugh conceded that some of his charges had “probably played their way out of the club” after his team’s Ladbrokes League One dreams were crushed by a 4-0 aggregate defeat by Clyde in their play-off semi-final.
The Citizens went down 3-0 at Broadwood on Saturday and never looked capable of overturning their 1-0 first-leg setback. Bully Wee striker David Goodwillie was a constant menace and set up the home side’s first two goals before rounding off a fine afternoon with a glancing header just before the hour mark.
Clyde will now meet Annan Athletic, who overcame Stenhousemuir 4-1 in the other tie, over two legs with the winner promoted to Scottish football’s third tier.
City, meanwhile, will be left to dissect a roller-coaster campaign, leading the way in the division for several months while also reaching the Irn-Bru Cup semi-finals. It’s a remarkable turnaround for a club that has been on the brink of relegation since earning promotion to the SPFL in May 2016.
However, McDonaugh was critical of his squad’s attitude in Cumbernauld and says some may have played themselves out of a deal for next season.
“It was really disappointing and I think we got exactly what we deserved,” he said. “Clyde were worthy winners and were better in every department. I think the season has gone on too long for some of our players. It’s either that or they just froze. It was a really poor way to finish the season. If you’re going to get beat then that’s not the way to do it.
“With them scoring the opener and going 2-0 up in the tie, it meant we had to go and attack them and that made it difficult. But I still thought we were in it at half-time and needed to get the next goal. It didn’t matter though because we were terrible in the second half.
“We never laid a glove on them so good luck to them this week against Annan. We now have to take stock of things. We’ve managed to double our league points from last season so there are a lot of positives but Saturday wasn’t one of them. Some people have probably played their way out of the club to be honest. Maybe some of the hard decisions I thought I might have just become a lot easier. We want to be in the play-offs at least next season that’s for sure.”
Goodwillie made his mark as early as the 15th minute when he weaved his way into the box, went past Craig Thomson like he wasn’t there, and fed Kristoffer Syvertsen – the goalscorer from the first leg – who rolled the ball home from a couple of yards.
Norwegian Syvertsen then hit the outside of the post five minutes before the interval with City keeper Calum Antell well beaten as the hosts looked to put the tie out of City’s reach. Goodwillie should have done just that two minutes before the interval after evading the offside trap but, the striker somehow lifted the ball wide.
City’s task got a whole lot harder three minutes after the restart when Marc Laird’s slack pass was picked up by Goodwillie, and he slid in Ali Love, who did the rest in dispatching the ball past Antell. And City’s hopes of a Spurs or Liverpool-inspired comeback went out like a light when Mark Lamont’s free-kick was headed into the far corner by that man Goodwillie.
Clyde: Currie, Duffie, McNiff, Lang, Rumsby, Grant (Boyle 69), Lamont, McStay, Goodwillie (Nicoll 69), Syvertsen (Banks 74), Love. Subs: Hughes, Lyon, Cogill, Nicoll, Stewart.
Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Balatoni, L Henderson, Galbraith (Donaldson 55), Watson (Diver 59), Walker, Laird, Taylor (Breen 70), Shepherd. Subs: Morton, Rodger, Newman, Lumsden.
Referee: Craig Napier