Clyde FC win 4–3 on penalties
By Jordan Whiting
East Kilbride welcomed Clyde to K-Park on a beautiful night in amust win game for Stephen Aitken's men.
It was the home side who started the game perfectly, opening the scoring after just 5 minutes. It was a wonderfully worked goal from East Kilbride with great work from Greig Stewart in the midfield taking players on and laying the ball to the returning Chris Erksine whose low driven shot just crept under Clyde's keeper David Mitchell to give East Kilbride the perfect start.
The East Kilbride euphoria was short lived however, as just 6-minutes later Clyde were level. The Captain David Goodwillie collected the ball on the edge of the box and was out forced wide where he delivered an inch-perfect cross into Rob Jones who had made a darting run to the near post where his glancing volley nestled into the side netting to take the game back to all square.
After leveling the game Clyde then took the ascendancy and tried to get a grip on the game with a few half chances like Aaron Splaine's powerful shot from 25 yards which forced Connor Brennan into a diving save.
After a very lively opening 20 minutes the action didn't slowdown, and the goals kept coming. With 25 minutes played the visitors took the lead in unusual circumstances. After the ball bounced up to Jamie Stevenson in his own box the defender had to react and passed the ball back to his keeper who also had to react to stop an own goal and caught the ball. This resulted in an indirect free kick for Clyde about 8 yards from goal. With all 11 East Kilbride players perched on the line Ally Love rolled the ball to David Goodwillie and with charging East Kilbride players running at him the Clyde captain somehow found a gap and rifled the ball into the bottom left corner to make it 2-1 to Clyde.
A short water break was then called, and East Kilbride took kickoff. After less than a minute of play being resumed East Kilbride were level.The referee played advantage to East Kilbride after a foul 40 yards from goal and Cameron Elliot took the ball and got to the by line where his cut back picked out Joao Victoria who was able to tap in from close range to level the scores again at 2-2 after just half an hour.
It was the visitors who looked to take the lead just before the break and they almost did so. It was David Goodwillie turning into the playmaker this time with a great pass through the lines to Splaine whose effortwas saved by the foot of Conor Brennan expertly and the chance was cleared.
After the break the action did calm down a bit with a few less chances in the second 45. However, it was again East Kilbride who came out the blocks the quickest in the second period with a shot at goal and a Jamie Stevenson free kick from 30 yards which looked to be finding the bottom corner however David Mitchell was alive to the danger and made a great reaction stop to push the ball round the post for an East Kilbride corner which was subsequently cleared.
The visitors also had a few chances later on in the second half,when approaching the 70-minute mark Ross Cunningham's deflected cross sat perfectly for David Goodwillie to attempt an overhead kick, the spectacular effort struck the inside of the post and somehow bounced across the goal linea nd out for a goal kick.
The last chance of the 90 also fell to Clyde as a scramble in the box eventually broke to second half substitute Paul Kennedy whose powerful effort was somehow blocked just a few yards from goal and East Kilbride managed to hold on to the 2-2 draw which took the game to a penalty shoot-out for a bonus point.
East Kilbride took first and unfortunately for Neil McLaughlin his penalty was saved amazingly by Mitchell. Kilby were then let off however when David Goodwillie stepped up and struck the right post.
EK man of the match and teenager Greig Stewart then stepped up and his penalty kick was also saved in the same fashion as Neil McLaughlin's and this time Clyde took advantage very luckily with Ross Cunningham's penalty going in after a slight touch from Brennan's leg.
Flawless penalties from East Kilbride's Shaun Rodgers, Ciaran McAninch and Steven Old were matched with great spot kicks from Clyde's Paul Kennedy and Mark Docherty.
The final spot kick was taken by Conrad Balatoni for Clyde to win the bonus point and it was tucked right into the left side netting as Connor Brennan went the right way but just couldn't get to it.
Agony for Kilby as 3-points would have kept the Cup dream alive for the Lowland League side however the draw and loss on penalties to the Bully Wee brings an end to East Kilbride's League Cup campaign for 2021/22 season with the team doing the club proud along the way.