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Dumbarton 2-0 East Fife

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 15/1/22.

What Ho, Jeeves!

A win! And a clean sheet!

Mind you. It was only East Fife.

The first half was odd. Both teams had chances – twice there was pinball in their penalty area and it seemed impossible we wouldn’t score; but we didn’t. It could have been 3-3 at half-time instead of 0-0. Sam Ramsbottom (in because our new loan keeper Kieran Wright injured himself in the warm-up, that’s how our season has gone) had a couple of good saves.

In the second half it was kind of the same except new striker Joshua Oyinsan put in a centre forward’s header from the six-yard line (I thought the keeper should have done better, as they say) from a great cross by our other official debutant Gregg Wylde, who actuallly played last week for us as a trialist. I had forgotten what a centre forward looked like! Oyinsan won headers and held the ball up, put himself about and got on the end of a cross; what’s not to like?

That goal, aesthetically pleasing as it was – there’s always something delightful about a headed goal from a cross – was surpassed by the second; a great hit by Gregg Wylde from thirty-five yards, hitting the post and rebounding back across the goal, crossing the line as it did so. What a belter! In those stakes probably only beaten by Lee Sharp’s at Livingston and Big Roy’s at Love Street on Christmas Day 1971.

Even so East Fife had two great chances themselves but both times failed to test Ramsbottom in our goal.

Still I’m not objecting to being eight points clear of automatic relegation and only two (realistically because of the goal difference difference) shy of the staying up spot at this stage of the season.

We’ll need to keep it up though.

A respite from league business next week with Dundee coming for a Scottish Cup visit.

But the next two league games are fiercesome. League leaders Cove at home and third-placed Montrose away.

Falkirk 6-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Falkirk Stadium, 8/1/22.

This just gets worse and worse. They hadn’t won for about as long as – or even longer than – us. Yet we were one down in 8 minutes, two in 13 and three by half-time.

It was four just after the restart and then – mirabilis – we actually scored. And then got a penalty to reduce the deficit by one more.

Normal service resumed by full time with those other two goals against.

Falkirk have been gash all season. We are obviously gasher.

There’s a feeling of dreadful inevitability about all this.

It looks like we are on for the Lowland League in two seasons’ time.

Something needs to change. And soon. Or the club may not even make it to its 150th anniversary in December. We’re not going to attract fans with runs and results like this.

Dumbarton 0-1 Airdrieonians

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 1/1/22.

The same old story. We didn’t play badly but….

What with injuries and Covid we were down to bare bones with only four bodies on the bench and even though it was a makeshift defence we actually played quite well defensively, by and large restricting Airdrie to shots from outside the box. (Except for Sam Ramsbottom’s flap at a cross just before half-time when we were lucky to get a free-kick for it.) But it only takes one of those long-range shots to succeed. As it was, when Sam Ramsbottom got his hand to ex-Son Dylan Easton’s effort I thought he’d pushed it round the post – until somehow it still hit the back of the net. The game was effectively over then.

We huffed and puffed throughout but had only a couple of half-chances to show for it, with a Sam Muir shot cleared near the line the closest we came.

We’ll need to hope manager Stevie Farrell can conjure something out of the bag during the January transfer window. Otherwise it’s only East Fife’s even poorer performance than us that will save us from automatic relegation.

And I wouldn’t be too sanguine about our prospects in the relegation play-offs either.

Dumbarton 2-3 Peterhead

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 18/12/21,

I’m seriously depressed now.

That’s us won 1, drawn 3 and lost 5 at home this season. Just dreadful. Compare that with won 4, lost 5 away from home, though.

But it’s individual errors that are costing us for the most part.

We started slowly but came into it and managed to score from our first ‘proper’ (ie floated as opposed to driven in at knee height) corner, Andy Geggan heading in at the back post. (Not that I actually saw it; the fog was so bad that the Pixellot camera on the stream coudn’t follow the ball.)

We couldn’t hold on to it, though. An inexplicable failure to make any challenges in midfield left Sam Muir exposed down our left and the guy ran on to put it under Sam Ramsbottom.

Amazingly we didn’t fall out of it at once. instead a great run by Sam Muir saw his cross missed by everybody except Conner Duthie at the back post (near post to the camera’s view.) Again I didn’t see it but it seems his finish was composed.

Could we hold on?

No.

Sam Ramsbottom’s mistake this time, failing to control a back pass and making a foul for the penalty or so the commentary said. Sam saved it but the rebound fell to the taker. 2-2.

Our best hope at half-time was probably for a postponement as the visibility was even worse in the second half due to the sun going down. The floodlight glare on the stream all but obliterated the view at either end of the pitch. But the ref played on. And the Pixellot camera trained itself more or less consistently on the middle of the pitch – except when the nearside ballboy was juggling with a spare ball.

Andy Geggan again had the ball in the net from a Joe McKee free-kick but the assistant’s flag had gone up. How he managed to make out it was offside in the gloom goodness only knows.

That might have made a difference but it was all over when Peterhead scored after a corner. Again I didn’t see the goal and had to rely on the stream’s commentary – apparently the tallest guy on the pitch had been left unmarked.

That was game over, we don’t come back from deficits.

We’re seriously in trouble now.

The annoying thing is we can score. But we can’t defend. Not a recipe for success.

Queen’s Park away on Boxing Day. We’ve lost 3-0 to them twice already.

Not a happy Christmas then.

Dumbarton 1-3 Montrose

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 11/12/21.

This all started quite well. We had the better of the first part of the game, even if Montrose looked tidy on the ball they didn’t threaten our goal. Eoghan Stokes put a header against the post from a narrow angle, Conner Duthie latched onto an exquisite pass from Andy Geggan, rounded the keeper and slotted it. The retreating defender could only put it in the net. Callum Wilson hit the bar from a corner.

Then the roof fell in. Paddy Boyle misjudged the bounce of the ball and his attempt to recover caught their attacker who tumbled to the ground. Penalty. No question. Then two minutes later they pulled our defence out of shape and had a man over on the left. Goal. Eoghan Stokes was through one on one just before half-time but the keeper narrowed the angle well and saved with his legs.

Again at the start of the second half we looked as if we might get back into it but the third goal killed it. Failure to challenge properly allowed the attacker to manœuvre the ball into a striking position. Game over.

It’s especially disappointing as we looked bright enough going forward when we passed the ball. We can only hope that a Ryan McGeever return might improve our defence (and provide an extra attacking threat on set pieces.)

Down to second bottom. Next Saturday’s game against Peterhead looks like a six pointer even this early. Lose it and I reckon we’re stuffed.

Cove Rangers 2-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Balmoral Stadium, 4/12/21.

To be expected I suppose, given that they are the league leaders.

But that’s now only one win in the last ten league games and we’re perilously close (one point) to the relegation play-off spot.

Things need to look up soon but I can’t see that happening against Montrose next week.

Scottish Cup Fourth Round Draw

Sons reward for beating Sauchie on Saturday is another home tie, this time potentially less winnable.

We will play top division side Dundee on Saturday, January 22nd.

That’s almost two months away.

Dumbarton 3-1 Sauchie Juniors

Scottish Cup, Third Round, The Rock, 27/11/21.

It took us a while but we won it in the end.

We were pretty comfortable first half. Sauchie had a few corners but never really troubled Sam Ramsbottom in our goal. Their one clear opportuniyty was blazed over the bar. Not that we had many on target ourselves but we did score a very good goal, Carlo Pignatiello slotting it under the keeper after an exchange of passes between Conner Duthie and himself.

Second half Sauchie came into it a bit more. But their goal was a joke. Their forwards had been falling over easily all game and one finally did it in the box. It was never a penalty. But of course they put it in and that gave them impetus.

Neverthless we continued to create openings, frustrated by a few poor crosses from Edin Lynch and other balls just out of reach plus an away keeper in inspired form.

About five minutes to go and sub Ryan Schiavone poked a cross over the line but neither the ref nor lino gave it. A replay after that would have been sore to take but we worked another opnening and the ball broke to Joe McKee who buried it. In the final minute of added time we got another, a Conner Duthie shot apparently spilled by the keeepr with Schiavone on hand to net the rebound. I say apparently because the live stream had stayed focused on Duthie not the ball. I only had the commentary and subsequent kick-off to indicate we’d sealed it.

A potential banana skin avoided then.

On Monday we’ll find out who we’ve got in the next round.

Ronnie Curran

I was saddened to read today on the club website that Ronnie Curran, has died. He was a centre half for Sons in the mid to late 1960s just at the time I had begun to follow the club, making a formidable companion to Hugh Harra.

He is one of only 32 players to appear over 200 times for the club.

Being a defender in those days meant not getting forward much so his tally of three goals in total isn’t actually too shabby.

Ronnie Curran: 14/12/1940-5/11/2021. So it goes.

Alloa Athletic 1-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Recreation Park,* 20/11/21

Well.

A win.

Very welcome.

We needed it; especially as the two teams directly below us both won today as well.

And at last a better result in the second quarter than we had against that team in the first.

How much the win depended on them having a man sent off just after their equaliser I don’t know but we had taken the lead (a Stuart Carswell penalty no less) which suggests we were doing okay.

Then Eoghan Stokes pops up with the winner. He’s making a habit of making vital contributions off the bench.

A bit of a break from the league next week since we play Sauchie at home in the Third Round of the Scottish Cup. (When, I wonder, was the last time we played two Clackmannanshire based teams in a row?)

I’m not expecting an easy game. They beat Highland League leaders Fraserburgh – away – in round one.

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