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Scottish Cup Draw

Sons have been drawn at home in the third round of this season’s Scottish Cup – facing Forfar Athletic on the 23rd Noveember.

At least it’s not someone in a higher division and not a potential embarrassment against a lower league side. It might only have been the once but we’ve had enough of those this decade.

Stranraer 0-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Stair Park, 19/10/19.

Well, it’s a welcome clean sheet – our first in the league this season – and I didn’t expect us not to win but yet still go up one place in the league. The only disappointment is we didn’t score. But you can’t have everything.

So we’re now in a promotion play-off place, again. On goals scored ironically.

Early days still, though.

Dumbarton 3-1 Forfar Athletic

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 5/10/19.

Well. That’s more like it.

We’ve still only beaten teams that are below us but we’ve done that to four of them now. But I note we still haven’t kept a clean sheet.

It was good to see that new loan signing Adam Frizell got on the score sheet straight away.

Before the season started I’d have taken four wins and a draw out of the first nine games. I’d not have thought we’d only be three points off third spot, though. (Only six off first spot too.)

There’s a long way to go yet, however. We’re only one point more than that away from the bottom.

East Fife 2-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, New Bayview, 21/9/19.

I’d have taken a draw before the game but having been 2-0 up (albeit against the run of most of the play) it definitely feels like two points dropped and an opportunity missed.

Then again we haven’t exactly been defensively sound at any point this season (the game at Annan apart) so I’m not at all surprised we couldn’t hold out.

After a brief flurry from Sons at the start East Fife had most of the play in the first half and had several efforts come close. Then in one of our occasional forays up front we got a corner on the right. Joe McKee’s delivery was well met by Morgyn Neill but the keeper made a smart stop down to his left. He had no chance with the header resulting from the subsequent corner, Ryan McGeever powering his header (almost identically flighted by McKee) into the top corner.

They had what looked from our end a stonewall penalty appeal but the ref booked the forward (who didn’t complain) for a dive.

Three minutes into the second half Ruaridh Langan took the ball for a walk in their area and was fouled. Isaac Layne stepped up and despatched the pen. It was too long a time left for any Sons fan to feel comfortable though and East Fife began to throw the kitchen sink at us.

Sure enough they got a man over after a free kick and though Conor Brennan got both hands on the ball somehow it slithered over the line.

East Fife now had their tails up and came at us even more strongly but were leaving gaps at the back as a result.

Still they it was who scored next after McGeever’s clumsy challenge in the box. Again Brennan got both hands to it but it squirmed under him. I merely note that another keeper might have saved both these efforts.

There were several more scares and also a few opportunities for us to score before the end (notably when Matthew Shiels was through one-on-one but he telegraphed his finish which was in any case too weak.) When it came the final whistle was something of a relief.

East Fife looked a good side, spreading it about well, looking like they knew what they were doing and well worth their position at the top of the table so this was a good point in that regard.

We looked good in patches but gave the ball away too often and frequently failed to get a pass away quickly enough and far too often resorting to a punt up to Layne.

Two home games coming up to finish the first quarter. We’ll see where we are by then.

Dumbarton 0-1 Airdrieonians

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 14/9/19.

I wasn’t at this game – I was away in fact, on a trip down south, but it sounds like we ought to have scored at least once and many folks were convinced we had the ball over the line just before half-time.

From the SonsTV footage it looks as if the ball might have crossed the line but from the angle it’s impossible to tell for sure. The still photo on the club’s match report makes it look not in but the keeper had possibly clawed it back by the time the shutter released.

Otherwise the game looked pretty even. At their goal Conor Brennan again seemed to flap at the ball from a corner kick and got nowhere near it. Such is life.

Montrose 1-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Links Park, 31/8/19.

Well. Who foresaw this three games ago when we were bototm of the league with no points, no goals and seven against?

Three wins in a row – two of them away – and only goal difference (those six at Falkirk are sore looking now) keeping us off the top spot.

We flurried a bit early doors and Montrose had most of the play but they only threatened our goal when we had given the ball away too cheaply in our own half.

We had fallen even more out of the game by the twenty-first minute without really looking like conceding and then suddenly scored. The keeper could only parry a Joe McKee shot and Isaac Layne was on hand to tap in from a slight angle.

It was Isaac again just after the half hour, heading in a McKee free-kick. He’s become a goal machine!

At half-time Montrose made two substitutions – as their fans had been demanding. It livened them up a bit but we still looked threatening when we pushed up. New loanee right back Reghan Tumilty ought to have made it safe at three when a deflected shot stranded their keeper but his nonchalant flick went the wrong side of the post.

Montrose were now throwing the kitchen sink at us but mostly to no effect. They did, though, have a header hit the top of the post/crossbar junction before going out.

It was a quick turn over when we lost the ball that led to their goal. It left us short on the right and the cross was poked in at the near post.

Connor Brennan had flapped at the ball twice in the first half without being punished – and Morgyn Neill also had his usual two bomb-scare moments when under no pressure whatsoever – but Brennan saved us in the last minute with a point-blank save from a powerfully volleyed effort. He’d also made another good save a bit earlier.

Perhaps it was inevitable, teams do send to sit back when defending a lead, but we yielded control too much in the later stages which made them more encouraged – especially after their goal. But we held out for the win.

It seems this is not the worst Dumbarton side in living memory after all. (It wasn’t even as bad as the one that played at the same venue in Manager Jim Duffy’s first game in charge.)

No comparisons with the Jim George or Jim Fallon eras required.

It’s the hope that kills.

Bury F C

The club’s name seems all too appropriate now.

And so a club with 134 years of history behind it – and an illustrious history at that encompassing two FA Cup wins, one of those with the highest winning margin in a Cup Final [albeit now shared,] from the heartlands of the early Football League, industrial Lancashire, has now gone, from the highest levels of the sport anyway.

I can only feel sorry for the fans. Supporting a football club means it is part of you, a family member almost. Its loss must feel devastating, the more so because most clubs have existed over several life-times and you don’t really expect yours to disappear.

But Bury’s fate serves as a terrible warning to us all about how owners of a club are more or less laws unto themselves, with little to no restraint on their activities – and nothing the average fan can do to influence their behaviour.

Any such shadowy creatures need to be scrutinised with a hawkish eye, ever vigilant, or your club might vanish in a historical blink.

Brabco, I’m looking at you.

Dumbarton 3-1 Stranraer

SPFL Tier 3, The Rock, 24/8/19.

Well. Not counting chickens or anything but the mood around the Rock and with the players must be a lot better after the last two games. We don’t have a great record against Stranraer either so it was a fine result.

New loan signing Reghan Tumilty seems to have made a good impression on the fans. Long may that continue.

And Brechin’s low points record is safe (from us anyway.)

Some odd results today. Maybe this division will be a lot tighter this year than people thought.

The Rock from the Rock

Or Dumbarton Football Stadium from above.

The good lady took these while I was at the Play-off game vs Alloa Athletic, May, 2018.

The pitch:-

Pitch Dumbarton Football Stadium

Teams line up:-

Teams  Line Up, Dumbarton Football Stadium

Part of Dumbarton Rock to right, Kilpatrick Hills (aka the Long Crags) in background:-

Dumbarton Football Stadium from Dumbarton Rock,

Closer view:-

Dumbarton Football Stadium from Dumbarton Rock

More extended view:-

Dumbarton Football Stadium from Above

Peterhead 2-3 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Balmoor Stadium, 17/8/19.

I saw this* but I’m still not quite sure I believe it.

After a 6-0 hounding last Saturday and our failure to beat a boys’ team on Tuesday night I doubt there was a single Sons fan who travelled to this match in any hope at all, far less expectation.

And it started out that way *(though I missed the first twenty minutes or so due to being held up on the way.) Peterhead were one up before I got into the ground. Our general play at this point seemed to be littered with misplaced passes and lack of control.

Their second came after they were awarded a free-kick for their forward falling over. Connor Brennan saved the effort well but only at the expense of a corner which they converted to a headed goal.

Cue much discussion among the Sons fans round me about whether this was the worst Dumbarton team they’d ever seen and if we’d even manage to secure any points at all in the league.

Then almost out of the blue we scored. PJ Crossan waltzed down the left and his cross found Ruaridh Langan directly in front of goal and he banged it in. There was strange lack of celebration by those on the pitch though. None of the usual gathering round the scorer.

It did though begin to engender confidence in the team. Half time may have helped here as we came out and started to take the game more towards the home side. We hadn’t really forced their keeper into any saves though but then Crossan took the ball up on the edge of their area and instead of skipping outside as he’d done so often before – there were three defenders lined up waiting for that – he shimmied inside to get a yard of space and belted it past the keeper. Celebrations this time; on the terracing, east stand, and pitch.

Isaac Layne had been lumbering about to little effect and generally being muscled out of things but had livened up by this time starting to win balls played up to him. Apart from a flurry after the equaliser we were dominating possession by now and won a free kick on the main stand side. Layne got in front of his defender to head it in. Delirium among the fans – we were just about pinching ourselves – and plenty of celebration on the pitch.

In trying to get back into the game Peterhead resorted to long balls most of which were pretty aimless. We held out reasonably comfortably. Manager Jim Duffy made late substitutions (to waste time I suppose) and among them was Ryan Tierney who impressed me again with his hold up play. He was unlucky with a late Crossan pull back which he hit first time and the keeper made a good save.

So a win, three points, a journey home much happier than had seemed likely earlier and a season now looking much less daunting than it had. Fans and players indulged in much mutual applause after the final whistle blew.

This might have been a one-off, football is a strange game, but the players at least should take heart from it.

At least we now only need a draw from somewhere in order to equal Brechin’s low points record. One more win would surpass it.

It’s the hope that kills.

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