Players allowed '˜off-day' as Edinburgh City's magnificent run comes to end

Eighty-four days had passed since Edinburgh City last tasted defeat. Sadly, for James McDonaugh's men, their sensational 13-match winning streak came to an end against fellow promotion hopefuls Clyde at Ainslie Park on Saturday.

Monday, 5th November 2018, 5:29 am
Edinburgh City striker Blair Henderson tries to get to the ball ahead of Clydes Chris McStay. Pic: Greg Macvean
Edinburgh City striker Blair Henderson tries to get to the ball ahead of Clydes Chris McStay. Pic: Greg Macvean

The Citizens, who shipped their first goal in three games, also relinquished their grip on top spot in League Two, a position they had held September 22.

Former Hibs and Dundee United midfielder John Rankin netted the only goal of the game in the first half, with conditions making life difficult for both teams.

McDonaugh conceded his side were second best for much of the contest and accepted their winning run had to come to an end at some stage.

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“It wasn’t our day and we didn’t play well enough to get anything from the game,” he admitted afterwards.

“Clyde deserved their win, but we’ve got to be mindful of where we are. I said to players afterwards there’s no point going in balling and shouting because it’s not a disaster.

“We’ve picked up 27 points from 11 games and sit second top of the league. It’s our first defeat in three months, but we’ll pick ourselves and go again next week.

“I can’t ask any more of my players. They’ve been excellent and we’re only three points off our tally from last season already, so they’re allowed an off-day.

“It was always going to happen at some point. We know we’re not going to win every game, but the run we’ve been on has been magnificent.”

Asked whether he felt the club had been given enough recognition for their achievements, McDonaugh replied: “Probably not.

“Edinburgh City are a small club. We don’t get huge crowds every week, but our supporters are great, and we fly under the radar a bit.

“I know it’s not the top flight, but the players deserve a bit more credit. There aren’t many teams at this level that could produce a run like we have. It’s unheard of.

“Two player-of-the-month awards and one manager of the month speaks for itself. We probably couldn’t have done much more.”

In stark contrast, the Bully Wee will have been glad to see the back of October. They arrived in the Capital having lost their previous three matches, and as a result, manager Danny Lennon rung the changes with no fewer than four players returning to the starting line-up following their 3-2 defeat to Peterhead.

One of those was influential midfielder Rankin, who fired an early warning signal when his snapshot from distance nestled on the roof of the net after just three minutes.

The hosts grew into the game and had strong appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Colin Steven after 26 minutes when Blair Henderson crashed to the deck under Martin McNiff’s challenge.

However, it was Clyde who looked the more threatening with Barry Cuddihy firing a low drive narrowly past the far post before the deadlock was eventually broken after 34 minutes.

A trademark low shot from Rankin roughly 25 yards out flew past the sprawling Antell into the bottom corner of the net, sparking wild celebrations from the noisy travelling contingent.

City’s winning run was in jeopardy and defender Gareth Rodger prevented Clyde’s Kristoffer Syvertsen from doubling their advantage before the break after hooking his shot off the line.

The second half developed into a feisty affair with both sides picking up several bookings.

The home side enjoyed a spell of pressure late on but neither Taylor, Shepherd or Balatoni could convert opportunities as they desperately searched for a way to preserve their unbeaten run.

It wasn’t to be, though, but Clyde boss Lennon was full of praise for his opposite number.

He stated: “Every team goes through a bad patch during a season and the last few weeks has been ours. I thought we were back to our best and I’m delighted we managed to see the game out.

“Hats off to Edinburgh City, you’ve got to applaud to them because they’ve been on a fabulous run and their manager deserves a lot of credit for that.”

Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Black, Balatoni, Smith (Watson; 70), Henderson, Taylor, Rodger, Shepherd, Henderson (Hall; 81).

Subs: Morton (GK), Donaldson Kennedy, Lumsden

Clyde: Currie, Cuddihy, Rankin, McNiff, Cogill, Grant, Lamont (Rumsby; 88), Nicoll, Goodwillie, McStay, Syvertsen (Lyon; 76). Subs: Hughes (GK), Love, Stewart, Belmokhtar

Att: 376