MARK Burbidge scored a late winner as Bankies beat Irvine Meadow 2-1 in the first league game of the season.
Jamie Lyden opened the scoring from a corner, before Meadow equalised from the penalty spot. Then, with two minutes remaining, second half substitute Burbidge was the hero as Clydebank left Meadow Park with all three points.
With Jamie Darroch and Andy Paterson absent, Bankies boss Budgie McGhie was forced to rejig his defence – with Lyden filling in at left back and captain Alan Vezza dropping into central defence alongside Calum Gow.
That allowed a midfield of Cammy Haddow, Alan Frizzell and Nicky Little supported by a three pronged attack of Peter McGill, Jordan Shelvey and Joel Kasubandi.
After a fairly frantic start, Bankies took the lead after ten minutes. Jordan Shelvey’s left footed corner was floated to the back post, with Lyden on hand to head straight at Meadow goalkeeper Grant Weir. The towering defender reacted well to bury the rebound from point blank range as Bankies scored their first league goal of the new campaign.
Midway through the half, the visitors should’ve doubled their lead when Kasubandi used his strength to go past the last defender and go one on one with Weir. The striker tried to place the bell beyond Weir, who spread himself well to save with an outstretched leg.
Meadow winger Ben Black caused problems for the Bankies back line on each flank, with Calum Gow a particularly commanding presence at the back.
Bankies were then forced into a change at the break, as Burbidge replaced Jordan Shelvey who took unwell during the game.
It was the home side who started the second half much the brighter side, and they could’ve been level within minutes of the restart. Good play down the right from Black saw him cross for Stuart Hannah, but his thumping header went narrowly over Josh Lumsden’s crossbar.
Ten minutes into the second period, Meadow were level. Great link up play between Black and full back McLennan saw a ball into the box handled by Cammy Haddow, with referee Chris Gentles pointing immediately to the spot. Ben Carson stepped up, sending Lumsden the wrong way as Meadow equalised.
Bankies regrouped and began to dominate possession once more, with Burbidge making a notable impact. The winger slipped the ball into Little, but last season’s top scorer fired narrowly wide of the post. Then, a blistering run down the right saw him link up well with McGill, whose driven effort was parried by Weir.
Then, two minutes from time, Bankies pressure paid off. Little fed Burbidge, whose right footed effort took a slight deflection and curled into the near corner as the travelling Bankies fans went wild.
In the immediate aftermath of the goal, Ryan Begley was dismissed for violent conduct in a clash with Alan Frizzell, while Lee McCrea was also shown a straight red card in the tunnel as Bankies picked up their first win of the league season.
Clydebank: Lumsden, Halliday, Lyden, Haddow, Gow, Vezza, McGill, Frizzell, Kasubandi (Young, 72), Little, Shelvey (Burbidge, 45).