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Fixtures

The league fixtures for next season have come out.

It might seem ridiculous given Hearts and Rangers have gone from this division but every year it just looks harder.

I don’t like the fact we’re facing Dunfermline at their place for the first game. They ought to be on a high after promotion. Mind you, what sort of form either side might be in after the League Cup section games is anyone’s guess. Their group looks reasonably tough.

New Cup, New Laws

I see from the club website that the Challenge Cup has been given a revamp so that it will now include more Scottish clubs from outwith the SPFL, top division under 20 sides and even clubs from Wales and Northern Ireland. The format looks like a right dog’s dinner.

I note that Tier 2 clubs won’t be joining till Round 3. It won’t make any difference to us. We always lose in it anyway. (I doubt being seeded will alter that at all.)

What concerns me most is the inclusion of the top division under 20s sides. This feels like the thin end of a wedge that will eventually see them allowed to play in the lower leagues. I know similar provision happens in Spain etc with reserve teams but the Scottish scene has unique characteristics that make me uncomfortable at the thought.

Edited to add. I just took in the fact that the draw will be regionalised. Fat chance of me getting to a a game then. (But maybe we’ll be in the North for that too.)

There have also been changes to the laws of the game. We’ll need to see how those work out.

League Cup Fixtures

Now we have the dates for the League Cup games. I suppose I ought to mention it’s now called the Betfred Cup (but I shan’t do it again.)

Forfar Ath, Away, 16th July
East Fife, Home, 19th July
Dundee, Away, 23rd July
Peterhead, Home, 30th July

So, despite my son arranging his wedding day to avoid the football season, the powers that be have managed, by changing the opening day by a considerable margin, to put a game on then anyway. The season’s barely over and the new one’s only just over a month away.

League Cup Group

Sons have drawn Dundee, Peterhead, Forfar Athletic and East Fife.

Which will be the two away games is yet to be announced at time of writing.

Dumbarton in the North

I see from the club website that Sons have been included in the north area for the purposes of the new format of the League Cup (or Betfred Cup as it is officially known.)

Given that one of the major reasons for change was to have ties between sides more or less local to each other this decision seems utterly bizarre.

It is however a consequence of Sons relative success in that we have been included in the second layer of seeds due to finishing 8th in the second tier of the SPFL last season.

There is a possible nightmare scenario of trips to Dingwall or Inverness, Peterhead or Cove Rangers.

Alloa Athletic 1-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Recreation Park*, 1/5/16

So the season ends with a draw. At least we got an away goal in 2016 to show for it. Young Donald McCallum doesn’t have a bad scoring record for us and it’s not his first against Alloa.

The starting line-up may be reflective of Stevie Aitken’s thoughts for next year or on those who may not be with us.

It’s time now to put the Sons tops away for a couple of months. The end of July won’t be long in coming round though.

*Yes it is; don’t try to kid us.

Hibernian 4-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Easter Road Stadium, 26/4/16.

Not a surprising outcome given the balance of incentives.

I wonder if manager Stevie Aitken would have “rested” those he did had we needed a result. As it is our outside chance of finishing in 7th place has vanished. But 8th was the target and we’re there.

It’s even more annoying that we didn’t get anything from Rangers this season now that Livingston have beaten them. Unfortunately we played them when they had something to play for.

Party time for the away fans at Alloa on Sunday I should think. (Its traditional for Sons fans to turn up in fancy dress gear for the last away game.)

Dumbarton 2-1 St Mirren

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 23/4/16.

Job done!

I hadn’t looked at the scores till about 5.40, was most pleased to see Livingston down 3-1 and us ahead, then thought would we hold out? I didn’t know at the time we’d had a late kick-off so the wait was even more agonising. It sounds like Garry Fleming’s goal was a belter, though.

But we’re over the line. Scotland’s top part-time team for the fourth season in a row and the longest stay of a part-time club in a ten team second tier extended. Congratulations to manager Stevie Aitken, his staff and the lads. It’s been difficult watching at times but when we win a game at this level it means so much.

The past two seasons have seen our lowest points totals in this league (36 at present vs 34 last season and 51 and 43 for the two seasons prior) but 8th position was always the target and it’s been achieved.

And a season when we beat St Mirren three times and Hibs twice (and counting??) has to be memorable. It’s a shame we couldn’t prise even a single point from this season’s champions though.

I can relax now until the end of July.

Aberdeen’s Art Deco Heritage 3 (ii): The Beach Ballroom Again

I have mentioned the Beach Ballroom several times, but all of these refer back to my original post.

On the same day Sons played Aberdeen in the Cup quarter-final (over two years ago) I actually got round to taking photos of it myself.

Frontage:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen

Entrance. Good glazing on the doors:-

Entrance to Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen

From entrance looking east:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen

Frontage from east:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen from East

East elevation from south:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, Looking north from east side

North portion (Star Ballroom) from east:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, North end from east

Star Ballroom entrance. Good detailing above door:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, Star Ballroom Entrance

Easst elevation from north:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, looking south down east side

West elevation from (south)west:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, from west

Entrance block from west:-

Beach Ballroom, Aberdeen, South side from West

Dumbarton 2-3 Raith Rovers

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 16/4/16.

It started well. It finished; well…..

Pity about the bit in between. And the injury to big Christian Nade is a blow as we’ve only looked a team this season after he joined us.

I watched this courtesy of BBC Alba of course and things were looking okay at half time. Tom Walsh had even hit a good cross!

What happened in the second half though? We totally fell out of it even before Nade’s injury. Jamie Ewings didn’t have much of a hope with any of the three goals; a poorish kick-out led to one of them but the defence should still not have let Raith through so easily. They seemed to just walk through for two of the three, the other coming from a not deep enough clearance by Fraser Wright.

Despite never having hit a decent cross before this game Tom Walsh ended this with two assists, and doesn’t Steven Saunders love a goal against Raith? Too little too late of course.

We really need something from Saturday now but a draw against St Mirren might not be good enough. We don’t want to be relying on Rangers and Raith even if Queen of the South do the needful.

I note that with Rangers and Hibs progressing to this year’s final East Fife’s record of being the only team outwith the top division to win the Scottish Cup has now been lost. And wouldn’t it be just the thing if Hibs finally win the thing again after totally horsing up the league? (Or Hibsing it as now seems to be the parlance.)

Mind you it’d be a laugh to see them navigating a European campaign from the second tier.

Then again maybe not.

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