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Christmas Presents

One from each of my sons.

A slipcased and delightfully illustrated Folio Society edition of Frank Herbert’s Dune plus a Savile Rogue football scarf in the colours of the mighty Sons, Dumbarton FC.

Christmas Presents

Football Scarf

Folio Society Edition of Dune
Spine of Folio Society Edition of Dune

Back in the Day

I was in a junk/second hand warehouse place today and spotted an issue of Goal magazine.

Thumbing through it I came across the Sons’ league placing that week in November 1973.

Eighth. In the top Division.

Those were the days, eh? I believe we finished tenth that season.

The previous Saturday’s results were given towards the end. Dumbarton 3-0 Motherwell.

The Sons team was given as Williams, C McAdam, Wilkinson, Menzies, Cushley, Ruddy, Coleman, Wallace, McCormack, Patterson, Heron. John Bourke came on as a sub for Peter Coleman and Johnny Graham for Brian Heron. Scorers were Heron, Bourke and McCormack.

I must have been at this match (I was a season ticket holder at the time) but confess I can’t really remember it. Unless that was the day John Bourke scored his first goal for the club which was a thumping header from a corner at the Turnberry End of Boghead.

Dumbarton 0-1 Bonnyrigg Rose

Scottish Cup Third Round Replay, The Rock, 6/12/16.

This season I wasn’t going to blog about games I hadn’t been to but this result cannot pass without comment. It’s appalling.

It may not have been a surprise after the first game in Bonnyrigg but it is still quite simply the worst result in the club’s history. Period.

Stevie Aitken as manager has to take a serious look at himself.

Cup Fourth Round

If Sons win the Cup replay against Bonnyrigg Rose (if….) then the “reward” will be a home tie against current Cup holders Hibs.

No use us getting ahead of anything though as that’s quite a big incentive for Rose actually, as a game against Hibs would be a sort of derby for them.

Bonnyrigg Rose* 0-0 Dumbarton

Scottish Cup** Third Round, New Saunders Park, 26/11/16.

It was great to be at an old-fashioned football ground, crowd tight to the pitch, free standing, ability to walk round the ground, no segregation – and never a hint of trouble despite that. A great occasion for Bonnyrigg; as the size of the crowd testified.

But for us this was dreadful. Against a team not even in the same football system as us and therefore technically at least five levels below ours we looked as if all we intended was to avoid defeat.

Too many passes went astray, too many players were off it. Okay we were missing a few but we should still be able to go to a Junior ground and look to attack.

They had the better of the play apart from a minor flurry at the beginning of the second half. They might only have had one threatening attempt in the first half – well saved by Alan Martin but routine enough – to our three (Garry Fleming’s effort from their mistake followed by Donald McCallum’s shot on the rebound, both well saved by their keeper, then Don’s attempt to dig out the ball after the keeper spilled a cross) but they had most of the play.

We looked comfortable enough defending – except for corners and free-kicks and a wonderful Alan Martin reflex save from one of those – but we ourselves only had a looping header on target in the second half.

Quite why Don was on from the start when they had two big central defenders who could head the ball all day is beyond me. Robert Thomson at least won a few when he came on, we might have made something of that if he had started and Don could have come on to run at them towards the end. Not that they looked lacking in fitness. The game could have gone on till next Tuesday and no goals would have been scored.

A replay is the last thing we needed; especially in the week running up to our encounter with Hibs at Easter Road. On this evidence we could go into that game out of the Cup.

*According to their website the home club’s full name is Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic.
**William Hill Scottish Cup

Scottish Cup Opponents

In the Third Round of the Scottish Cup Sons have been drawn to play Bonnyrigg Rose at New Dundas Park, Bonnyrigg on 26th November.

This will be the first time we have played a junior team in the Cup. It will be tricky as they are bound to be very up for it. Even more so considering we haven’t won an away match for nigh on a year.

They beat the Highland League champions in the last round which attests to their abilities.

I’ve got a bad feeling about this…..

Dundee United 2-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Tannadice Park, 22/10/16.

This was an unusual occurence. The last time I was at Tannadice to see the Sons (or at all) was over thirty years ago. (We did play there in the 1995-6 season but I didn’t go. A combination of the fact that that was during the time where we went a whole year without a win and my family was quite young.)

The end result was the same. We still haven’t won in Dundee since 1958.

They had a beginning flurry – Alan Martin with a superb double save – then we had a great chance, Garry Fleming stabbing the ball from close in but the keeper made a great save. Then Robert Thomson sent a header towards the post area which the keeper again clawed away and David Smith couldn’t connect properly with a ball that came to him after a corner. Martin again did the needful to keep out a free-kick.

The best bit about the first half was the seethe from the home support at their forwards continually being flagged offside. With their pace there was no need to even be close to an offside position.

At half-time I was slightly disappointed that we weren’t ahead.

The blows came equally spaced around the hour mark. Mark Docherty misjudged a header from a corner and it flew into the net. Their second was also from a corner. Our players were slightly late to react to Willo Flood running up from his halfway line. His free header across goal was turned goalwards but Alan Martin saved it. Unfortunately the rebound fell to one of them who couldn’t miss.

Despite a two goal lead they still couldn’t make any impact on us from open play. We did though, sub Andy Stirling’s cross deflecting to a perfectly placed Robert Thomson to bundle the ball below the keeper. They looked a bit nervous after that but we couldn’t make any more clear chances. Even so Sam Stanton was obviously held back when going through but no free-kick was forthcoming. Not the only odd decision by the ref in the game.

So our players scored two goals, theirs one. We scored from open play they didn’t. The team performance was good but we shouldn’t beat a team like Dundee United at their place. Still, it felt like at least a point lost.

Raith Rovers 3-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Stark’s Park, 24/9/16.

What an odd game. We started brightly enough then fell right out of it. They missed two great chances, one pulled wide when it looked easier to score then Alan Martin made a great save on a one-on-one after a short pass back.

But it was only delayed. We were opened up far too easily and the lad put it into the corner. We could have equalised when a throw-in got all the way through to Daniel Harvie but he could not control the bounce off his body and the ball looped over the bar.

Their second was again too easily created but the deflection was cruel to Alan Martin. We were so out of it I said, “We’re not coming back from this.” Their third was unsavable. The scorer was given too much space and simply belted it from a distance. It struck the post before nestling. “We’re definitely not coming back from this.”

Stevie Aitken made two subs at half time, Josh Todd for Craig Pettigrew and Sam Stanton for Andy Stirling. Robert Thomson had a neat back-heel that was cleared off the line but it wasn’t till Ryan Stevenson came on for Garry Fleming that we got presence in midfield. Stevenson it was who reduced the deficit when finally he took the responsibility for a shot that everybody else in the move had shunned. Consolation only I thought but somehow we managed to score again, a bit of pinball in their box ended by Robert Thomson but don’t ask me how as we Sons fans were up in the gods in the angle of the main stand about as far away from the goal at the north end as it is possible to get. For a few seconds I wasn’t even sure the ref had given it.

So, a drubbing ended up adding only one to our minus goal difference. We need to start playing (for which read defending) before going three goals down.

We’re now second bottom – and we won’t get any points next week. League leaders Queen of the South are at the Rock and notwithstanding the result there last time our record at home against them is awful.

And Lo! It Came to Pass

Once again our acquaintance with the Challenge Cup (now known as the Irn Bru Cup) has taken the briefest of forms.

Sometimes prediction is just so easy.

Falkirk 1-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Falkirk Stadium, 27/8/16.

Since I made my way up from Dumfries and Galloway where we’ve been for the past couple of days (yes, photos of deco buildings and of War Memorials were taken) I got held up at the roadworks on the M74 and as a result missed baout fifteen minutes of this. It seems we had a chance or two in that time but all I witnessed was Falkirk dominating possession – due mainly to our giving it away – for the rest of the first half. Alan Martin had two magnificent reaction saves in that time or else we’d have been right out of it.

The second half meandered along and we only really looked under threat when a header from a corner hit the bar and went over. Nevertheless we were defending for the most part, again losing the ball too easily or giving it away but a great passing move between Ryan Stevenson, Robert Thomson and Josh Todd carved out a chance which Todd couldn’t get past Danny Rogers in the home goal.

Sub Andy Stirling put in a great cross which Robert Thomson couldn’t quite get on the end of (and a later one which someone ought to have anticipated falling at the back post but no one did.)

We might have held out for the draw but the replacement of Stevenson by Darren Barr seemed to disrupt our organisation temporarily and they managed to get a man over in the box with only four minutes to go. Cruel.

I suppose Falkirk deserved the points on pressure and possession but our defence, where Mark Docherty was outstanding at centre-half,* didn’t deserve that.

Three of the five teams we’ve yet to play are at the top of the league, and unbeaten. It’s going to be tough again.

*Edited to add. Having looked at Sons TV’s footage of the game unfortunately he was the one playing their scorer onside for the goal.

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