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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.

Morton 0-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Cappielow Park, 12/9/15.

I’m not sure about this result as I’d have taken a draw before the game but as we were against ten men for a while perhaps we ought to have got all three points. Also our record at Cappielow is fairly mince, so a point is good.

But…. We didn’t score. Again.

We won’t keep our head above water if we can’t put the ball in the back of the net.

And we won’t be getting any points next week….

Dumbarton 0-2 Alloa Athletic

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 5/9/15.

OK, so it’s not me who is the jinx. I wasn’t at this one.

But this is the sort of game we need to be winning – or at least not losing.

It looks like the cup games against East Fife and Queen’s Park were the true harbingers for our season and the first two league games were aberrations. The outlook is much less bright than it was a fortnight ago. Will our chronic inability to score be the decisive feature this season?

Falkirk 2-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Falkirk Stadium, 28/8/15.

Well it seems that even watching on television I’m a jinx. After fifteen minutes it was like the bad old days were back again. Our defence looked as porous as it has for seasons now. whether this was due to the changes at the back to accommodate new signing Fraser Wright (I don’t think Scott Taggart deserved to be dropped at right back but Stevie Aitken made Darren Barr captain so presumably now has to play him) I don’t know but we didn’t look organised there to begin with.

Their first had a bit of luck what with the ricochet off Kevin Cawley and the boy hit it well. The second may have been a great strike but where was the tackling?

At least we then made more of a fist of it than in the Queen of the South game. Inevitably our goal came from a set piece. When Grant Buchanan nodded back Willie Gibson’s corner Darren Barr simply wanted it more than the defender.

Second half we seemed to have quite a lot of the ball but only forced Danny Rogers into one save from which Garry Fleming couldn’t quite hit the rebound hard enough. We might have equalised when Grant Gallagher got himself through but was pulled up for a far from obvious foul. The ref gave us a decision in somewhat similar circumstances (a bit further out from goal though) a few minutes later so that may have evened out.

There were more positives from this than from the previous game but we can’t go on giving teams two goals of a start, though.

Dumbarton 0-2 Queen of the South

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 22/8/15.

OK. I admit it. It’s me. I’m the jinx.*

The three games we’ve won this season I’ve not been at. The three we haven’t won, I have. (Though this was the first time I’ve seen us beaten over 90 minutes.) And Queen of the South also kept their record of never having lost a goal at the Rock.

Queens were also more than a cut above either Queen’s Park or East Fife. They never looked in danger of losing said goal. I’ve just looked at the stats and they pretty much confirmed my impression. We only threatened with a Willie Gibson free-kick which the keeper pushed round the post.

Their first goal came when Mark Docherty got done by their wide man. The cross wasn’t cut out, came right across the goal and former Son Ian Russell did what he always does against us.

The second goal killed it (but to be fair, the first one had.) We switched off at a corner kick, allowing it to be played short and a cross to come in. Keeper Mark Brown was left exposed to try to contest the ball with their forward. Brown missed, the forward didn’t.

After that it was only a case of would they increase their lead? We never looked like reducing it. Debutant loanee Scott Brown came on but didn’t have much time to influence things, plus had a few wayward passes. Maybe when he’s had time to integrate with the squad. Midfielder Jon Routledge was given Sonstrust MOM. I couldn’t disagree. But he and Kevin Cawley were the only bright sparks. Garry Fleming just doesn’t look like a centre forward. He and strike partner Steven Craig never got into the game. From what I’ve seen of us so far this season it seems we’re going to struggle to score goals apart from set pieces. We got precious few set pieces today.

The main reason I went today was to try to buy a home top from the club shop. The queue before kick-off was so long I’d have missed some of the game. There was a steward blocking access at half time. At full time there was a sign up saying the shop was shut. I came home with no new top.

*I’m thinking of giving the game at Falkirk on Friday a miss. But it’s on BBC Alba. Will watching it on the TV make a difference?

PS:- I’m sad to see from the club website that three season stalwart Andy Graham has left “by mutual consent.” I think it’s fair to say new boss Stevie Aitken didn’t fancy him as first choice centre half. Sons fans will have fond memories of Andy. In particular his performance at Pittodrie in the cup quarter-final in season 2013-4 was immense.

Queen’s Park 0-0 Dumbarton

aet 1-0. Scottish Challenge Cup, Hampden Park, 18/8/15.

Any triumphalism is now put firmly on hold.

Again we faced a lower league team packing the defence – Queen’s had six across the back at times* – again we failed to break them down.

OK, we did get a penalty right at the end of normal time but Garry Fleming blasted it over the bar.

I never at any time felt that we would lose a goal but then in the first half of extra time we did. Andy Graham dwelled too long on the ball near our penalty area and ended up losing it, leaving us undermanned at the back. The free attacker stroked the cross in.** After that we were a bit more open as we pushed up and there were a couple of close things. Our best efforts were a Willie Gibson free kick their goalie saved and a Garry Fleming effort with his right foot when his left might have been a better bet. He’s not really convincing as a centre forward.

Were the players perhaps not too bothered about this game? The league is probably more important. If so I hope they’re more focused when the Scottish Cup comes round. I wouldn’t like to see us exit that this way.

This was my first view of the revamped Hampden; a vast bowl of a stadium. A weird sight indeed with its serried ranks of empty seats. The attendance was apparently 587. I had meant to take my camera but left home in a bit of a rush and forgot it. Next time we play Queen’s? (I can’t see us being back at Hampden any other way.)

*Queen’s had a player with number 10 on his back playing at centre back. This is a defilement of the spirit of football. A no 10 shirt rightly belongs to a fantasista.

**Edited to add:- The linesman put up his flag for an attacker offside (who looked to be on the bye-line from where we were) in the run-up to Andy Graham losing the ball. For some reason the ref overruled the flag.

St Mirren 1-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, St Mirren Park, 15/8/15


I’m struggling to remember when we last won our first two league games. In fact I can’t. And these two were against two of the teams expected to be in the promotion play-offs.

I wasn’t at the game as I was away down in England (hence the lateness of this posting) but it’s a cracking result.

Will we be able to keep it up?

Well, the next league game is a top of the table clash at home versus Queen of the South who just happen to have a 100% record at our new ground.

Plus there’s the small matter of a second round (be still my beating heart) Challenge Cup tie at Hampden against the other royally monickered Scottish team, Queen’s Park, tomorrow night.

Dumbarton 2-1 Hibernian

SPFL Tier 2,* The Rock,** 8/8/15.

A stunning start to the league campaign.

When was the last time we won our first league game?

And this against one of the teams fancied to be in the top two.

I wasn’t there but this is seriously encouraging.

It’ll be interesting to see how we fare against old boss Ian Murray’s St Mirren away next week.

*It’s the Ladbrokes Championship now, you know.

**The Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium.

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