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Dumbarton 3-3 Raith Rovers

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 21/11/15

I must admit to feeling despondent when I heard the result, on the radio in the car coming home.(We were in Edinburgh yesterday afternoon.) The only consolations were that we had at last scored goals – only the second time this season we’d notched more than twice – that we’d not lost ground on the other two clubs on the same points as us before the weekend and that we’d put two wins between us and the automatic relegation spot.

It wasn’t till I got home and accessed the club website that I understood that we’d been 3-0 down with ten minutes to go and somehow got a draw out of it; which puts a different compexion entirely on the point gained. With a bit of luck that’ll give the team confidence.

Mind you, we’re not on league business next week as we entertain Alloa in the Cup. I don’t know what to think about that. After our great run of not losing against them for fourteen games they’ve won the last two, but we don’t want to give them encouragement before the league game at their place the week after. A Cup run would be nice but I’d rather have three points right now.

Then there’s the small matter of a trip to Ibrox between the two Alloa games. Not ideal from our point of view.

Queen of the South 1-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Palmerston Park, 7/11/15.

I’ve only the bare bones of the result to go on…. but it’s another defeat.

At least we didn’t lose any ground on those nearest us.

The league seems to have split into three separate groups, though. Right at the top, those chasing the upper play-off slots and the ones at the bottom.

No game for a fortnight now.

Dumbarton 1-2 Morton

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 31/10/15.

Oh dear. Things are now getting desperate. Especially with Livingston getting another win today.

Unless there’s a turn-round soon (and there’s little sign of that) I can’t see us avoiding the play-offs – or even the relegation spot.

So. Situation normal. Gloom abounds.

Alloa at Home

Well this is a surprise.

We haven’t been drawn in the cup against the highest placed league team possible.

(But neither have we drawn a lower league team.)

Instead it’s Alloa at home.

We play them away the next weekend too.

Dumbarton 0-5 Falkirk

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 24/10/15.

Oh dear. It looks like the wheels have come off the wagon big style. That’s nine goals lost in two games where in the previous nine we’d only yielded up twelve – and that with no more than two in any one game.

I don’t what it might be but something needs to be done soon to turn things round, especially if, as might be the case, Livingston are starting to get their act together.

Our next two are against Morton at home, where our record against them isn’t great, and Queen of the South away, ditto.

Hibernian 4-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Easter Road Stadium, 17/10/15.

OK so we had the first effort on goal, a turn and shot by Jordan Kirkpatrick, and a header by Wullie Gibson but Hibs dominated the first half almost totally. Eventually Dominique Malonga was neglected after he passed the ball inside and when the ball came back out to him he had too much time and curled a lovely effort into the net.

A minute later though we hit them on the break and Grant Gallagher thumped the ball in. Even so Mark Oxley in Hibs’ goal ought to have done better. That was the sole point in the first half I thought we might get something from the game. Too soon they got a soft free-kick (soft; as in it wasn’t one) and scored with a header from it.

The penalty killed us. When the guy fell down in the box with two of our defenders round him Brian Colvin was always going to give it.

Second half started as more of the same. Their goal was well worked; game completely over. Then Fraser Wright went off after being injured (replaced at left back by Mark Docherty) and we immediately looked more settled. The double forward substitution that followed had us going forward with purpose. With the Stevens Craig and Ross up front suddenly the Hibs defence looked more pressured. Even more amazingly Steven Craig got on to the end of a floated free-kick from Mark Docherty and put the ball in the net in almost a carbon copy of Hibs’ second.

Whether their substitutions reduced their effectiveness I couldn’t say but we certainly looked more menacing towards the end. Our penalty claim in the 90th minute was for an almost identical push/coming together as the one which they’d got an hour earlier. (Our forwards were also screaming for a penalty for handball in the first half but the opposite penalty area is so far away at Easter Road it was impossible to tell from where we were seated.)

For a long time during this game I was despairing as we were basically being overrun and not at the races. (I wondered if it would be the longest two hours of my football watching life.) The last 15 minutes, though, were something else. More of that, please. (And to start playing before the game is lost.)

St Augustine’s, Dumbarton

St Augustine's, Dumbarton

St Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Dumbarton (above; dedicated to St Augustine of Hippo) is possibly the most important building in my life. Not just because it was where I got married – though that can’t be minimised. It was the church where my grandfather (the original Jack Deighton) was the incumbent Rector in the 1930s and 1940s. The Episcopalian ministry was more or less the Deighton family business. Not only my grandfather but his brother (my great uncle,) his son (my uncle,) and his grandson (my brother) took up holy orders – or as I used to put it, “I come from a long line of penguins.” My generation was where the tradition ended though.

The church was where I spent a fair part of each Sunday in my youth as a member of the church choir. There were two accompanied services each Sunday; Matins/Morning Prayer or Sung Eucharist in the morning and Evensong in the evening.

More germane to its importance to my life is that it was where my mother first laid eyes on my father as he entered church in the choir procession and she told herself, “I’m going to marry that boy.” At the time they were both aged nine! My mother was a strong-willed woman and knew her own mind from a young age: her mother said she was so thrawn she’d walk on the other side of the road because she didn’t want to walk with the rest of the family. My father never had a choice. Still, without that I wouldn’t be here.

Since I moved to Fife the only times I have entered St Augustine’s have been for family funerals or as in Saturday’s case a memorial service for an old family friend who died earlier in the year. It was a chance to see how cruel time is to us all. One woman said to me, “I know you,” but couldn’t work out who I was till she was told. Mind you I didn’t recognise her either. My excuse is that she’d changed her hair colour.

I took the photograph below of the chancel, high altar, reredos and stained glass window at the east end; now all much more visible from the nave since the rood screen was removed during restoration. (The pictures on the lower altar are from the life of the old family friend.) The reredos is a particularly fine example of the form.

Interior, St Augustine's Episcopal Church, Dumbarton

The War Memorial to St Augustine’s congregation members used to be to the right of the entrance door. When the church was refurbished with heritage funding – the church is a grade A listed building – it was relocated to halfway or so up the left hand side:-

War Memorial, St Augustine's Episcopal Church, Dumbarton

It only occurred to me when I got home that this was probably the last time I’ll ever attend St Augustine’s. With the loss of that old family friend I no longer have a connection to the church and none with Dumbarton – except for the glorious Sons of the Rock of course. I’m kicking myself that I didn’t take more photographs, especially of the stained glass windows facing the High Street.

Dumbarton 2-1 Livingston

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 3/10/15.

Three points! And I’m no longer a jinx! I managed to pick up a home strip before the game as well.

We started with a flurry and Fraser Wright (fielded at left back) had a header from a corner just over but then Livi began to dominate and we more or less failed to threaten for the rest of the half. But we won the ball back quickly in midfield after a corner had been cleared and got into the space Livi had left, leading to a lovely Wullie Gibson cross for Kevin Cawley who didn’t miss the header.

Our defence hadn’t learned the lesson of last week though. Only three minutes of a lead and too many of our defenders plus keeper were drawn to the incoming corner. The Livi player’s header back across was to an unmarked man. Mind you he actually had to head it; it didn’t just bounce off him like last week.

I missed the incident which led to Livi’s Miles Hippolyte being sent off as the ball was well away, but it seems he was a silly boy. Curiously after that we were the team who looked more ragged for a while.

The winner came from another broken down set-piece, a throw-in this time. (New signing Steven Saunders has replaced Scott Linton in long throw terms. That improved our performance at throw-ins no end. We’ve got no height up front though. Saunders was decent enough in the right back role.) The ball came back out and sub Jordan Kirkpatrick hooked it back in. Eamonn Brophy took the ball down, swivelled and scored. It’s the first sniff of a proper chance he’s had in the one and a half games I’ve seen him – and he took it. He looked delighted too.

We’re still too ponderous in the build-up, but I’ll take the three points.

Next up: Hibs at Easter Road on the 17th. They’ll be looking for revenge for our 2-1 win in August.

Edited to add: Young Donald McCallum troubled them a bit with his pace when he came on and was instrumental in their goalie being booked for fouling him away out on the touchline but he looked awful lightweight against Livi’s tall muscular defnders.

Raith Rovers 1-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Stark’s Park, 26/9/15.

This is getting to be like a stuck record. (Oh dear; time expired simile outbreak.)

We didn’t look bad, very tidy on the ball in fact, sound enough defensively. And we even created some chances (well, half-chances.) But we never really looked like scoring.

Then again nor did Raith – till they did when we weren’t organised enough at a set piece.

And our set pieces weren’t anything to write home about. At least two were wasted with short balls and came to nothing. Willie Gibson (I see the club website has him as Wullie Gibson) had a particularly poor game; both those set pieces, many misplaced passes and the ball continually getting stuck under his feet. I’d have hooked him long before Stevie Aitken actually did.

We also lack height up front and we’re back to situation normal (for most of my many years following the Sons) with throw-ins. Very little movement.

It was my first look at loanee Eamonn Brophy. He looked lively enough, capable of scoring if he gets chances, making one for himself in the first half but he dragged it just wide. But this team doesn’t create chances. And we’re shot shy. Kevin Cawley had a header just over in the second half and Eamonn Brophy a shot blocked – but that was it.

I must say Donald McCallum looked sharp when he came on for Brophy. He could be very useful as an impact sub.

But this was a tight game, with the teams mostly cancelling each other out.

It looks like we won’t lose many goals. But if we can’t score we won’t achieve anything.

I’d been toying with the idea of travelling to the Rock for next week’s game. Maybe not now.

Dumbarton 1-2 Rangers

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 19/9/15.

Well. Not the half-expected gubbing -they’ve been going well this season. Disappointing even, in that we apparently threw them their second. Plus it resulted in a red card for Gregor Buchanan, whom we’ll miss next week. (That’s a stonewall home win by the way, as I’ll be at the game.)

I doubted we’d even score, so one is a bonus. But it was another set-piece. A goal from open play would be nice.

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