Dunfermline Athletic produced a fine display to see off Clyde in Round Three of the Scottish FC Youth Cup at East End Park on Monday night. Two goals from James Thomas, as well as strikes from Paul-Joseph Crossan, Cammy McClair, and Declan O’Kane saw the home side safely into the next round, with a Conor Lynass penalty the only reply for Clyde.
The hosts almost got off to the perfect start in under sixty seconds, but McClairs’ tap in was ruled out following a foul on Clyde goalkeeper Christopher Shaw.
Dunfermline continued to look the more dangerous in the opening exchanges, with Gavin McMillan looking especially lively in midfield and linking well with his two strikers McClair and Thomas; the early signs indicated the first goal wasn’t far away.
And those signs proved to be correct in the fifth minute, when a mix up in the Clyde defence saw Alex Grier head the ball over his onrushing keeper, allowing Thomas to run through on goal and tap in to open the scoring.
Dunfermline had a chance to make it two just moments later. McMillan played a fine ball out to Scott Mercer who in turn picked out Thomas in the centre, but the forward headed over the bar from close range.
Clyde responded well to going a goal down, and were gifted a way back into the game on twelve minutes with Stuart Morrison fouling Kieran Blair inside the box. Conor stepped up to slot a right footed finish past Cammy Gill in the Dunfermline goal and bring the score level.
Having got themselves back into the match, Clyde went looking for a second with Blair being found by a Tommy Porter pass out to the wing. But he couldn’t find a teammate as his cross was headed behind for a corner.
The game was an even one for much of the first half hour, and next it was Dunfermline’s turn to press for the lead. Finn Graham played a good ball to the feet of Mercer, who after a direct run into the box found McClair, but the forward was unable to bring the ball under control. Moments later McClair had another opportunity, this time heading over from Grahams’ cross.
As the half went on, Dunfermline began to assert some control on the match. Ryan Williamson was a constant danger with some marauding runs from right back, but Clyde were always looking to break with speed when their hosts lost possession. Jonathan Reynolds did well to hold the ball up before releasing Blair, but his pass was just over hit and ran harmlessly through for Gill to collect.
Williamsons’ influence on the game was growing, and following another run down the right, he found Mercer who with a drop of the shoulder managed to lose his marker, but his left footed shot flew high and wide of the goal.
Dunfermline stepped up their pursuit of the lead, with two chances from two corners coming in quick succession, but on both occasions O’Kane was the man to head wide following good deliveries from Mercer.
The second goal did eventually arrive, however, when after winning the ball back from a Clyde throw in, Crossan turned and having carried the ball in field released a left footed shot that diverted in off the post to give the home side a two one lead at the interval.