Beith were just too strong for Clydebank in every department as they cruised to a comfortable 2-0 victory at Bellsdale Park this afternoon. Beith passed up a number of chances and had the luxury of missing a penalty without ever feeling the final result was ever in doubt.
Clydebank for their part put in a very disappointing performance after being much improved in recent times. The injured Jamie Darroch was a huge miss at the back as the Bankies defence struggled all afternoon with the home side's physicality. Darroch's absence seemed to cause McAnespie to make maybe one too many changes to the starting line up. Vezza took up Darroch's place meaning Chris Dooley had to be recalled from his loan at Benburb to fill the troublesome right back spot. Ross Alexander earned a start in place of Pearson after his showing against Gartcairn. Unfortunately, the game kind of passed him by today. We also had Marc Waters debuting in goal.
The other change was to drop John Cunningham to the bench meaning Jordan Shelvey was moved from wing to partner Higgins up front. Josh Watt was recalled to play on the left wing. This was maybe the change to many. Cunningham hasn't been as effective recently but with all the other changes the forward positions in the team should maybe have been left alone.
Anyway, to the main points of the game. Beith kicked down the slope in the first half and were on top from the very beginning. The Bankies were dangerous enough on the break, but it seemed like a matter of time before Beith Scored, They missed a sitter on the left hand side and then hit the post before opening the scoring on the half hour from McLaughlin. It was a straight forward header from a corner kick. The Bankies were not without warning as the same corner to the near post being met by a man running in from the back stick was deployed several times beforehand. McLaughlin was unchallenged as he headed towards goal and Paterson probably should have cleared on the line but the pitch had a real dead bounce and the ball squirmed under his foot.
The second goal eleven minutes later was tucked away by Frize from close range following the kind of stramash that has players lying all over the six yard box. The Bankies inability to clear the ball was their undoing in this instance.
Clydebank did have chances of their own. Higgins had three decent attempts, two of which forced the keeper into desperate saves, but the best chance fell to Shelvey who had clear sight of goal but his placed shot was well saved by Grindlay.
I felt we were not entirely out of it going into the second period. Kicking down the hill, an early goal may have given the players the impetus to fightback, but it never materialised. If anything, Beith looked more likely to increase their margin and they were given a golden opportunity to do so when McClair was adjudged to have brought down a Beith forward in the box after 56 minutes. Collins spot kick was not great but new boy Waters did well to save on his right hand side.
In truth, the Bankies were well outplayed for the most part, and are probably fortunate that Beith didn't add to their lead. On the day the best Bankies were keeper Marc Waters who had a fantastic match by saving a penalty, and making at least two other great stops. Ryan Deas was at the heart of everything good the Bankies did coming forward and Steven Higgins who looks dangerous when he gets a sight of goal even if he could do with passing the ball to others in better positions sometimes. Finally, it was disappointing to see the manager being dismissed from the dug out. He should be setting a better example especially after being red carded as a player at Cumnock only a few weeks ago.
Looking forward, the match on Wednesday with Arthurlie has huge importance now, with four points between the sides currently. A victory would make it very difficult for Arthurlie to catch us, so we just need to put today's result behind us and focus on the matches that will see us safe for next season.