It was a bleak day in more than just the literal sense at Cumbernauld on Saturday as Shire went down to one of their heaviest league defeats in recent times.
The reverse equalled the 7-1 hammering handed out by Stranraer at Stair Park in 2004 and was the club’s biggest away defeat since the 8-1 loss at Grenta the following season.
And the grim fact was that it could have been a lot worse but for the heroics of Calum Antell in the visitors’ goal at Broadwood, who pulled off a few fantastic saves to keep an eager Clyde team at bay.
That said, it was not all one way traffic and Shire had more than a few chances of their own but they could find the target no more than once, Bradley Coyne’s debut goal after 77 minutes providing the one chink of light.
Coyne and fellow loan signing Stuart Love were added to the squad that had lost 3-1 to Queen’s Park in their last match a fortnight earlier. Joe Dingwall’s groin problem ruled him out and Craig Scott and David Cane were also omitted from the chosen sixteen.
Scott Maxwell was first to have a go for Shire after six minutes but his long-range shot, although it had Clyde keeper Filip Mentel scrambling across his goal, was always heading just wide of the target.
But after 14 minutes the home team took the lead. John Sweeney’s corner kick was headed back across the face of goal and although the Shire defence had the chance to clear, they failed to do so and Stephen McDonald scored with a low shot from six yards out.
Five minutes later Shire were cast adrift futher. Gavin Brown received a cross field pass wide on the right and raced downfield unchallenged before cuttting inside and unleashing a great 20 yard shot that flew high into the top right-hand corner of Antell’s goal.
Shire tried to find a way back into the game and Ally Love came close with a long-range effort that went just wide on 27 minutes, but the game was put beyond reach just four minutes later.
Another corner kick was hit to the far post and headed back across goal for Brian McQueen to side foot home from just a few yards out with the Shire defence again reduced to statues.
That said, Shire might have pulled something back but first Love’s free-kick was saved by Mentel then Maxwell’s point-blank shot was brilliantly saved by the Slovak keeper with Love unable to turn the rebound home.
On the stroke of half-time McQueen beat the offside trap and was one-on-one with Antell but the Shire keeper made a wonderful save when it seemed certain that Clyde would go in at the interval 4-0 up.
However, the home team should have scored a fourth just seconds after the re-start when Liam Cusack beat Antell with a great angled drive but his shot came back off the far post and was booted to safety by a visiting defender.
The Shire keeper then made another miraculous stop fromDeclan Gallagher’s close-range header on 51 minutes, somehow keeping the ball out with his trailing leg.
After 69 minutes it was Mentel who was performing the acrobatics at the other end, diving wonderfully to stop Coyne’s looping header from seven yards out hitting the back of the Clyde net.
But with 14 minutes to go Clyde scored their simplest goal of the afternoon. A corner was hit from the left wing and Gallagher rose unchallenged from close-range to send a powerful header into the net past the Shire keeper.
The visitors responded staright away and, from the re-start, the ball was threaded through to Coyne who beat the Clyde defence with a clever turn that provided the space for a low shot into the net from the edge of the box.
But the comeback was nipped in the bud less than a minute later. Clyde substitute Michael Oliver was allowed to take the ball unchallenged into the Shire box and score with a low angled drive.
Shire lost the ball straight from kick-off and after three passes it was shuffled down the left wing for Mark Archdeacon whose low cross was collected by Cusack at the back post and he scored easily from close-range.
The scoring was completed five minutes from the end. Cusack’s cross was fired towards goal but Antell made a decent save only for Archdeacon to collect the rebound and score with a shot from inside the six yard box.
CLYDE : Mentel, Brown(McMullen 67), Sharp, Gallagher, McQueen, Hay, Neill(Archdeacon 80), Sweeney, McDonald(Oliver 76), Cusack, Gray.
SHIRE : Antell, Chisholm, Frances, Beveridge, Jackson, Hunter, Stirling, Maxwell(S. Love 72), Turner(Lurinsky 80), Coyne, A. Love.
REFEREE : P. Robertson.