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East Fife 1-1 Dumbarton (aet 1-1, 4-3 pens)

Scottish League Cup, New Bayview, 1/8/15.

My first match watching the new look Sons….and we’re a work in progress. Not surprising considering that only two of last year’s squad started the game. Two finished it as well but one had come off and later another had come on.

The match was preceded by an announcement to the owner of a Vauxhall Zafira to go back to the car – not an unusual thing to hear at a football ground but the following words were. I quote. “This is Methil and you’ve left your windows open.”

The first half was pretty uneventful. We had one close effort saved by their keeper, I think from Scott Taggart. Mark Brown didn’t have a save to make. We dominated the second half apart from a few breakaways on one of which they scored. The attacker was allowed too much room and Mark Brown had come too far off his line and was lobbed. They had the ball in the net a minute or so later but it was chalked off for a foul on the defender on the way through. For about two minutes East Fife threatened but then we got on top again.

The equaliser came from Kevin Cawley, neatly placed to head home after their keeper flapped at it a bit. We had a few more efforts on goal before the 90 minutes were up.

In extra time we carved them open several times but the ball just wouldn’t go in apart from one disallowed possibly for a foul on the keeper but who knows?

The statistics tell the story really.

So it was on to the lottery of penalty kicks. You have to say, 3-2 up with two kicks to one left we ought to have put it away. But we didn’t. Time to concentrate on the league, then. (The Challenge Cup can take care of itself. It usually does.)

Hampden Here We Come!

No. It’s not an unwonted indulgence in excessive enthusiasm.

Just a second round Challenge Cup game. (That’s sufficiently rare in itself to be worth a celebration.)

Queen’s Park away on 18th or 19th August.

Morton 2-3 Dumbarton

Scottish Challenge Cup,* Round 1, Cappielow Park, 25/7/2105.

And so it begins again. Only nine months to go.

But with an unusual result. I believe this is only our fifth win in this competition in its 25 year history. Two of those were in the same season.

Looking at the team sheet there were only two starters who were at the club last season. Life in part-time football.

While it’s a bit disturbing to have a three goal lead eaten into it’s still refreshing to kick-off a season with a win.

*It’s officially the Petrofac Training Cup but that’s just too much of a mouthful.

The CID Stadium?

The club has announced a new sponsorship deal for the stadium to follow in the foosteps of the likes of Strathclyde Homes Stadium and Bet Butler Stadium – not to mention Dumbarton Community Football Stadium.

It’s now to be officially called the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium – which at first I gulped at thinking it was almost as much of a mouthful as any of the names Livingston’s stadium has had over the years.

However, the sponsor is a local firm run by someone who has been a Sons fan for a long time. Win-win all round.

I’ll still call it the Rock, though. (In my absent-minded moments – stop laughing back there – I sometimes still say Boghead.)

East Fife Away

Sons’ first round League Cup tie will be against East Fife at New Bayview on August 1st.

That’s like a home game for me!

Morton Up First

I see from the club’s website that Sons first game of the new season will be away to Morton. The game is scheduled for Saturday 26th July; less than a month away.

Unlike the last two seasons we haven’t been drawn against Stranraer. I had half expected us to get St Mirren since Ian Murray has gone to manage there.

The second round is due on 19th or 20th August. I don’t suppose we’ll be interested in that one.

League Fixtures 2015-16

The full list has been posted on the club’s website.

Those first four look awkward; though maybe Queen of the South will not be as good as the past two seasons. But our home record against them is mince. I believe they haven’t ever lost to us at the Rock.

The run-in’s not too bad, the away game at Ibrox perhaps excepted. Will the last game – at Alloa – be crucial?

Ben Lomond From Dumbarton Football Stadium

A snow-capped Ben Lomond on 2/5/2015. Photographed from stand of Dumbarton Football Stadium. Ben Lomond is the only Munro I have climbed. (I say climbed. There’s a path. You can walk up it.)

Ben Lomond From Dumbarton Football Stadium

On the same day and from the same location I took this photo of Sons players applauding the fans after the last game of the season vs Raith.

End of Season Farewell

Most of these players have now left the club.

Final Place Confirmed

So. Motherwell it was who stayed up. Convincingly in the end.

Tier 2 is going to be very tough again next season. There’ll be two of the biggest supported clubs in Scotland in Hibs and Rangers (having now found out for themselves that this division is devilishly difficult to escape in an upwards direction: can it be long before noises are made to increase the size of Tier 1? Or is that too cynical?) Also there will be six other full-time teams and an Alloa Athletic seemingly somewhat revived by new(ish) manager Danny Lennon. Eighth for the Sons would be a magnificent achievement. I’d take that right now.

We’ve got a new manager ourselves of course.

But I’m feeling nervous already.

Tier 1 Play-off

At time of writing it looks as though Motherwell, after their 3-1 victory in the first leg of the play-off, will retain their top level status at the expense of Rangers.

Chickens should not be counted, however. Last year Hamilton were 2-0 behind in the tie after losing at home, the same total deficit as Rangers face now, but still won through by beating Hibs by the same score at Easter Road and then winning the penalty shoot-out.

While an overall Motherwell win would be a poke in the eye for those who feel a sense of entitlement rather than realising that they follow just another (at present not very good) team and it has been amusing to see Rangers not scooshing this division the way they did the lower two, my own preference would be for Rangers to prevail – but this is only for somewhat selfish reasons as it would avoid the possibility of them winning the Tier 2 title next season (or the year after?) and thus robbing Dumbarton of the unique distinction of having won championship titles at four different levels of Scottish football.

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