MATCH REPORT: ARTHURLIE 1-3 CLYDEBANK
By Ross Lafferty
Arthurlie’s return to the West Premier League started in rather sombre circumstances with a minute’s silence for former president Eddie Hawthorne before kick-off.
After the formalities of the remembrance, however, the game was started at a frantic pace, with Clydebank flying out the blocks and serving a reminder to their hosts that they were stepping up a level this season after their promotion from Conference A.
It was 10 minutes before Arthurlie put the Bankies goal under any pressure, Lee Roulston doing well to break free on the left, before his cutback to Gary Carroll was sent high over the bar.
Clydebank immediately broke up the park and when the ball broke to Gallacher, his shot from 12 yards was only kept out by an excellent instinctive stop from Garry Black.
The visitors were not giving Arthurlie any time to settle and Black was called into action once again on 23 minutes with a smart stop from Weir.
On the half hour Mick MacNeil tried to get on the end of a ball over the top but collided with Bankies goalkeeper Donnelly and Dale Simeon lashed the loose ball high and wide.
The Barrhead side were gradually getting a hold in the game and Roulston found space again out wide, this time on the right, before putting his shot just wide on 35 minutes.
A couple of minutes later there was some worry for Arthurlie when MacNeil went down following an aerial challenge with Niven.
After a lengthy period of treatment from both physios, the ‘Lie number 8 had to leave the park and was replaced by Alister Miller.
Bankies almost took advantage of the disruption to the Arthurlie lineup, McKinlay heading just wide from close range.
With the scores level at the break it was the home team who started the second half brightest, Simeon having a pop from distance early on that was well held by Donnelly.
Clydebank made a triple sub on the hour in a bid to change things and just 2 minutes later they were rewarded with the opening goal when Ciaran Mulcahy made an instant impact, heading home following Black’s save from Gallacher’s free-kick.
On 73 minutes though the scores were level again, Aaron Healy picked the ball up on the left and, after a mazy run past several defenders, was upended in the box; after the ref awarded the spot kick, Gary Carroll stepped up to calmly score the equaliser.
The parity didn’t last long, however, and Niven immediately put Bankies back in front.
On 80 minutes that lead was doubled, Liam McGonigle knocking it in from Alan Kelly’s cross.
Arthurlie responded with a triple substitution, but rarely threatened in the closing stages against a team who will surely be competing at the top end of the Premier this season.
Arthurlie Team: Black, Dunsmore, Bradley (Mackay 80), Shields, Magee (Elrick 80), McLaughlin, Roulston, MacNeil (Miller 42), Carroll (Smith 80), Simeon, Healy
Subs not used: Nolan, Scott (GK), Ross
Clydebank Team: Donnelly, Hodge, McHugh, Niven, Darroch, Johnstone, Gallacher (M.Smith 90), Slattery(A.Smith 87), Weir (Mulcahy 60), Higgins (Kelly 60), McKinlay (McGonigle 60)
Subs not used: King, McDonald