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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

Dumbarton 0-1 Alloa Athletic

(aet 0-2.)

SPFL Tier 2 Play-off Final, Second Leg, The Rock, 13/5/18.

Well; we all knew that the good times wouldn’t last forever.

Yet for 93 minutes of this we were still a Tier 2 team.

Then all of a sudden no longer. That it was such a scruffy goal only put the knife in even more.

But after that I knew it was hopeless. Our defensive substitutions meant that there was no way we would be conjuring a goal in extra time. Our only hope was hanging on for penalties and that was unlikely given the momentum was against us and Alloa would be lifted and us deflated.

And the final nail in the coffin was driven in by an ex-Son in Jordan Kirkpatrick. Cracking goal though.

If only….

Kevin Nisbet had directed his header downwards more – or even to the near post rather than back across the keeper….

Andy Stirling had kept that rebound chance down instead of skying it….

Liam Burt had taken the ball for a walk to the corner flag instead of trying to score in injury time….

Alloa had scored from that double chance in the first, not the last minute. We’d have had to come out a bit and at least try to score. Froxy might even have been given a run-out….

We’d made the most of our breaks up the park in the second half last Wednesday….

Craig Barr hadn’t been suspended again. Dougie Hill looked much less comfortable than he did against Arbroath and Andy Dowie seemed affected too….

We actually had a striker….

Manager Stevie Aitken was not so wedded to defensive tactics….

It was a game too far really. We looked leggy and inhibited. All those catch-up games and the Challenge Cup run had taken their toll.

And so the great adventure comes to an end after six years.

Back to proper football grounds again next season. Ones where you can stand, not sit, that you can walk round to the other end at half-time, where you’re not stuck in a wee corner of the main stand. (New Broomfield, Stark’s Park and possibly Ochilview excepted.*)

We’ve had seven promotions in my lifetime. And now eight relegations.

I wonder how long it will be before we get promoted again.

And from which division.

*Edited to add:- and New Bayview. I’d forgotten it’s a one stand effort like ours at the Rock. Only the Angus grounds for the old-style experience, then. I can’t see me making it down to Stranraer.

Alloa Athletic 0-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2 Play-off Final, First Leg, Recreation Park, 9/5/18.

This could have turned out a lot worse. They’ve been going well and we haven’t really.

They had most of the ball in the first five minutes and then we scored in what was in effect our first attack. They didn’t clear the ball properly, left us a lot of space in midfield in their half and Danny Handling fed the ball to Stuart Carswell who fair thumped it. Outbursts of almost disbelieving joy in the away covered seating area. (It’s not a stand.) Carsy never scores. (His only other goal had a big deflection on it but this was an absolute belter, straight in.)

I remarked to Onebrow, “80 minutes of sitting in to go.” It wasn’t quite that but they did have a lot of the ball.

Carsy had our second effort too – again on target. On this evidence he should shoot more often.

They had a cute effort through ex-Son Jordan Kirkpatrick which it seems Scott Gallacher tipped on to the post – from my angle I couldn’t tell he’d got the touch – but apart from that there were only other long range efforts to worry about in the first half.

Second half Robert Nisbet really came onto a game up front before he was shifted into midfield after the substitutions. That’s the best I’ve seen from him. We had a good few efforts, notably Nisbet (just over) and Kyle Hutton (a great ping just past the post.) With a bit more care in the final pass we could have got even better chances.

They only really looked like scoring when we lost possession in their half and they sprang at us. Craig Barr had one superb defensive block (but the guy ought to have pulled the trigger earlier) and Scott Gallagher made a good save the one time he was really called on.

It’s going to be really hard to take if we blow this now, but we can’t afford to get ahead of ourselves; Sunday’s going to be a hard battle again.

Still.

I was there when Carsy scored!

Here We Go Again

Sons are off to the Recs* tonight for the SPFL Tier 2 Play-off Final, First Leg, against Alloa Athletic.

More torture to endure. You can catch it yourself on BBC Alba.

Kick-off is 7.45 pm.

*Recreation Park as was, now called the Indodrill Stadium.

Dumbarton 1-1 Arbroath

SPFL Tier 2 Play-off, Semi-Final, Second Leg, The Rock*, 5/5/18.

This was excruciating. We made it much harder than we ought to have done.

We came out of the blocks well and took the lead with Dougie Hill’s header from a Tom Walsh corner. We kept up the pressure and had several efforts, the best of which probably fell to Andy Stirling but he blazed it over the bar.

We weren’t in any danger till Liam Dick made a poor defensive header and put Andy Dowie in trouble. His short pass back went to their player who had the easiest finish imaginable.

After that we simply fell apart, every effort at the ball rushed, every clearance sclaffed, every second ball not gained.

Despite that we had some efforts on goal in the second half with Tom Walsh beating the keeper and having the ball cleared off the line, Danny Handling through on his own but lacking the pace to beat the defender and finally in injury time Liam Burt chipping the keeper on a one-on-one but missing the goal.

Scott Gallagher did have a few saves to make but was never really troubled.

Referee Craig Charletson was his usual arrogant self. Several times their players went through one of ours and not a free-kick to be had. The only one we got anywhere near their goal was given by the linesman. The man seems to hate us for some reason.

So. We have to go through all this again on Wednesday and Sunday against Alloa. I don’t think my nerves will stand it.

*Now The C&G Systems Stadium after our new, local, sponsors.

The New Saints 1-2 Dumbarton

Scottish Challenge Cup*, Semi-final, Park Hall Stadium, 17/2/18

I was at Oswestry!

This is a boast that may be overtaken in a month or so’s time. Or not as the case may be.

Whatever, I was there when the mighty Sons played their first national cup semi-final in 44 years and reached their first national final for 106 years. It’s historic stuff.

Mind you I couldn’t see us achieving that heady goal at any time during the first half. We started poorly and allowed them to play from the outset. They were neat and tidy, passed the ball well, hit the bar with their first attack and continued to look threatening without managing to test Scott Gallacher in goal. I don’t know what the first half possession stats were but we didn’t have much of it that’s for sure. We barely crossed the halfway line and when we did failed to muster any sort of threat on their goal.

I thought it was all over when they scored early on in the second half. Their winger got past stop-gap left back David Smith (a midfielder turned into a makeshift right-back last season) and put in a low cross which from where I was sitting Scottt Gallacher seemed to spill and it fell to the scorer.

The game changed after around the hour mark when Calum Gallagher and Iain Russell were replaced by Mark Stewart and Liam Burt and we started to play.

Still the equaliser was a surprise as we had looked toothless even when we got the ball in their area. It was beautifully worked though with Kyle Hutton winning the ball in midfield before strolling forward and feeding Danny Handling who made space for himself and fairly thumped it past the keeper.

In a hairy moment Scott Gallacher made a one-handed stop for a header after a corner just before the ref whistled for an infringement.

Then. Froxy.

He replaced scorer Danny Handling and slotted into right midfield. I’d watched him at the half-time kick-about and he didn’t look fit to me, but sometimes he doesn’t have to be fit.

It was a free kick given for a foul against Christian Nade (his legs have gone; I don’t know how he lasted the full 94 minutes) – the first he’d got all game despite their centre half being all over him at times. I thought it was too central but Froxy is Froxy, that left foot is something else. Bang. Top left corner. Cue delirium.

It felt like very late on but there were still about ten minutes to get through before the final whistle and I nearly had heart failure when Scott Gallacher had to juggle a shot that must have swerved in the air.

Considering that due to injuries we also had to play a centre half at right back and our midfield wasn’t at its strongest this was an amazing result.

We had only two shots on target in the whole game but they both hit the back of the net. That’s football.

Here’s a video of the scenes after the final whistle. Click on the picture to get to video:-

Sons' Victory Celebrations At Park Hall Stadium Oswestry

*Irn Bru Cup

Dumbarton 0-0 Morton

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

Well. It’s as you were in the league what with all five games being draws but the failure of Rangers to win means they have an even bigger incentive to beat us on Tuesday night as that will make them champions. They might not have to beta us if Hibs don’t win – but that’s a situation I wouldn’t like as then Livingston would have avoided defeat against them; on which point thanks to Alloa for getting the draw (which sadly wasn’t enough to prevent them being relegated.)

It’s all getting far too tense. It’s possible, if results go against us, that by the time we play Queen of the South on the 12th we could be four points behind Livi with a much worse goal difference; very much worse if our usual Ibrox thumping takes palce..

Dumbarton 3-1 Alloa Athletic

SPFL Tier2, The Rock, 8/3/16.

A welcome win and Christian Nade scored a hat-trick!

Had this game gone on last week I had thought of travelling through but of course it was postponed. Domestic circumtances this week precluded a trip to the west.

Slight fly in the ointment was Jon Routledge’s red card. But he was out for the Hibs game and didn’t get back in the team for Saturday’s debacle at Livingston.

Let’s hope the team that showed up against Hibs rather than the (same strating) side who misfired at Livi is the one that turns uo against Falkirk on Saturday tea-time. Yes, it’s a BBC Alba kick-off time.

Dumbarton 3-2 Hibernian

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 27/2/16.

I wasn’t at the game – the good lady and I went to an antique fair in Edinburgh then roamed the charity bookshops in Stockbridge before entertaining ourselves with a meal out on the road home – I didn’t even look for the score till nearly midnight so sure was I that we’d get nothing from this.

I was astonished at the result. The best I’d hoped for from this was a 0-0.

Yet we had gone three up. Not so easy to hold on to against a full-time team pressing for promotion; as it proved.

Christian Nade opened his account for us, which is good, and I see Jamie Ewings got the call in goal.

With Livi playing Alloa we certainly needed something from the game. I’m delighted.

Our next two games are against the only two teams below us. It could be our season right there.

Morton 2-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Cappielow Park, 13/2/16.

Well that’s the clean sheet run gone then. And we haven’t got into the habit of scoring….

Unfortunately below us Livi picked up a point and Alloa are showing disturbing signs of coming to life.

The game at St Mirren Park next Saturday has just grown in importance.

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