Shire had what would have been their third league win of the season snatched away from them by an injury-time Clyde equaliser at Ochilview on Saturday.
The team had defended the lead given to them by Kevin Tuirner’s 44th minute goal until two minutes into added on time when Liam Cusack headed home following a corner kick.
It was cruel luck for Shire who had put in a dogged and determined performance as they sought some kind of payback for the 7-1 defeat their visitors had inflicted on them at Broadwood in October.
Coach John Coughlin made some changes to the side after a 6-0 defeat at Stranraer seven days earlier. Crucially, Craig Winter returned to the centre of defence but there was also a recall for skipper Kevin Turner with Fraser Team and Alex Lurinsky dropping to the bench.
Shire were first onto the attack and after four minutes Lewis Horner drove in a powerful shot from the edge of the box that David Crawford in the Clyde goal only held on to with some difficulty.
At the other end a cross from the left gave Jordan White a heading opportunity but his looping effort went over the crossbar.
The game had a fairly flat tempo about it in the early stages and there was very little to warm the fans on a bitterly cold afternoon. But midway through that changed and, worryingly for Shire, they found themselves under attack.
John Neill robbed Scott Maxwell of possession just outside the Shire penalty box and slid through a great pass for Cusack. The Clyde striker took aim and tried to place the ball past Calum Antell at the keeper’s far post but the on-loan Hibs man got down well to save and the defence cleared the danger.
Just two minutes later there was more danger for Shire as this time White took aim from long-range and Antell had to dive full-length to tip the ball round the post for a corner. From the resulting flag kick the ball reached the unmarked Neill but his header was saved by the Shire keeper.
Clyde’s inability to make the breakthrough during that spell of pressure came back to bite them just a minute before the interval. Shire worked hard to win possession in midfield and from there Bradley Coyne’s perfect pass in behind the Clyde defence was collected by Turner, who raced into the penalty box and rounded the keeper before placing the ball in the empty net.
But the home team’s advantage might not have lasted long. Less than a minute later Paul Hay’s attempt glanced the Shire crossbar with Antell, for once, beaten.
Shire opened the second period strongly as barely two minutes after the re-start Turner was just a fraction away from heading a Horner cross into the net at the back post but he could not reach it and the ball sailed behind for a goal kick.
After 56 minutes some great link up play involving Coyne and Turner ended with Turner hammering in a shot from 20 yards which whizzed just the wrong side of Crawford’s right-hand post with the Clyde keeper scrambling to guide the ball out of play.
But the longer the match wore on the more Clyde started to dominate. Just after the hour a quick break out of defence left Cusack in the clear but his final shot was disappointing and was straight at the Shire keeper from just inside the box.
Clyde had a great opportunity not long after when White knocked down a cross into the path of substitute Ryan Kane whose half-volley was tipped round the post in superb fashion by the in-form Antell.
The visitors struck the bar for the second time in the match when Lee Sharp’s cross-cum-shot beat Antell but rebounded off the woodwork and there was just a sense that the home team was beginning to rock a bit at the back.
For all that, though, Clyde seemed to run out of ideas in the final third of the pitch and, as the game neared its conclusion there seemed a sense that the home team would hang on for victory.
But with two minutes of extra time already played Antell palmed a Hay free-kick over the bar for a corner and when the ball came over from the wing Brian McQueen headed for goal. Antell would probably have had his effort covered but Cusack got a glancing touch onto the ball and diverted its flight just enough for it to creep into the net off the inside of the post.
That was bad enough for Shire but worse might have followed. Iain Gray’s deep right-wing cross four minutes into injury-time found Cusack at the back post and only a brave save from Antell prevented him from scoring Clyde’s winner.
SHIRE : Antell, Jackson, Dingwall, Winter, Cane, Hunter, Stirling, Horner, Coyne, Turner(Lurinsky 72), Maxwell(A. Love 72).
CLYDE : Crawford, Gray, Sharp, Marr, McQueen, Hay, Neill(Irvine 85), Scullion(Kane 55), White(McDonald 75), Cusack, Oliver.
REFEREE : B. Cook.
ATTENDANCE : 490.