CLYDEBANK closed the gap at the top of the Super League First Division to one point with a 2-1 win over Bellshill Athletic on Saturday.
First half goals from Joel Kasubandi and Nicky Little were enough for the Bankies, who should’ve put the game beyond Hill’s reach before trialist Pete Byrne halved the deficit to set up a nervy finish at Rockburn Park.
Bankies started on the front foot and could’ve been ahead inside three minutes. A succession of Ryan Holms’ corner kicks proved dangerous for Bellshill, with Alan Vezza’s deft flick skimming narrowly wide of the post.
Bankies continued to press and went close once again. After great work down the left channel, Kasubandi dispossessed Bellshill full back David Shaw, hitting his shot high and wide of the target.
On sixteen minutes however, Kasubandi did open the scoring. On a heavy surface and in difficult weather conditions, Bankies resorted to a more direct approach. Kasubandi latched on to Jamie Lyden’s lofted clearance, with ‘Hill keeper Mark Peat storming out, Kasubandi cooly nicked the ball past him and slotted home his tenth of the season into an empty net.
With just under half an hour played, Bankies doubled their advantage. Danny MacKinnon’s free kick was initially cleared, but Rab O’Neill’s pass into Little saw him beat the offside trap, calmly side footing the ball into the back of the net.
The visitors should really have made it three before the break. A quick counter attack allowed Graham Mort to slip Mark Burbidge through on goal, but this time ‘Hill stopper Peat came out and collected at the feet of the pacey winger.
Midway through the second half, Bellshill halved the deficit. Alan Vezza’s attempted clearance wasn’t dealt with, and trialist Pete Byrne turned O’Neill and curled the ball into the far corner from a tight angle.
Bankies had chances to put the game beyond any doubt, but struggled to find the accuracy required. First, another great counter attack saw MacKinnon and Burbidge combine to send the latter bursting down the right, cutting the ball back to MacKinnon whose shot trundled narrowly wide.
Clydebank then squandered yet another chance as substitutes Shelvey and Barclay combined, with the latter taking the ball past the keeper, only to stumble and send the ball out for a goal kick.
There was to be one last chance for Bellshill, who had been gathering some momentum, but a free kick at the edge of the area came to nothing and Bankies held onto a hugely valuable three points.
Clydebank: Lumsden, MacKinnon, Cole, Lyden, O’Neill, Vezza, Burbidge (Barclay, 87), Mort, Kasubandi (Shelvey, 80), Little, Holms (Paterson, 84).