Archives » Andy Stirling

Falkirk 1-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Falkirk Stadium, 12/8/17.

Now this was a good point.

Falkirk may be below us at the moment but will undoubtedly finish much higher than we do. Plus they were astonishingly profligate in front of goal in the last few minutes. And given Morton’s result today it looks as if last week’s was a good point too.

Falkirk had most of the ball early on but didn’t do much with it. When we got it we weren’t particularly threatening either but all that changed when Craig Barr muscled onto a ball in midfield and fed David Wilson who played a great ball behind the middle last defender which Alistair Roy collected and proceeded to thump past the goalkeeper.

We do score some belters at this ground, Lewis Vaughan and Andy Stirling last season, Mitch Megginson in one of Ian Murray’s seasons. (And a few scramblers, Chris Kane and Archie Campbell among those.)

The eqauliser came when Sam Wardrop* got done out wide. The ensuing cross wasn’t picked up by our defence and Nathan Austin was trying to make space in the area when Mark Stewart made contact with his back. Silly. It gives the forward the chance to go over and the ref the chance to make the decision. Miles Hippolyte put it away.

Dougie Hill hit the bar from a corner but we spent the rest of the first half and most of the second standing off and allowing them the ball. A few close shaves and a couple of saves from Scott Gallacher – one with his face – meant we were still in with the chance of a point, though. The biggest cheer of the second half was ironic, when the referee finally gave a foul for Christian Nade who had been getting clambered over all afternoon without reward – at one point clattered into with malice aforethought but the challenge was deemed legal.

One point almost became three when a Nade flick-on fell to Stewart in the area but his shot was tipped over by the keeper.

There was still time for Falkirk to waste two good opportunities by screwing the ball wide, though.

My main thought during and after this game was what is the point of Mark Stewart? For the most part his positioning is decidedly odd. He huffs and puffs but that’s about all. His use of the ball was woeful at times.

We didn’t help ourselves at times with some poor passing but that may have been tired legs. We’ve got a midweek game in the Cup we never win in during the week. I hope the manager puts out a team composed of players who haven’t been getting a game; especially as its against a Colts team – who should never be near a senior competition.

*Edited to add. I see from SonsTV it was David Wilson who got done.

Dundee United 2-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Tannadice Park, 29/4/17.

Well, it’s not quite done.

We certainly can’t be relegated automatically but barring a nine goal swing between our game against Falkirk at the Rock on Saturday and Raith’s at home to Ayr we won’t be in the relegation play-off – and that has the (less likely) back-up that St Mirren also don’t get a point from their game with Hibs.

At the start a point didn’t look possible from this game. Dundee United stormed out of the blocks and came close too many times for comfort; as befitted a team looking for second place in the Division. Yet they didn’t score and we came into it a bit. It looked like we’d weathered the storm but then they scored from a corner. Alan Martin got his hands to it but couldn’t keep it out. He did make a great save from a header a few minutes later. Curiously though I was never in any doubt that he would; he’s a great reaction keeper.

Robert Thomson came close to us from a corner of our own glancing his header just over the bar onto the net’s roof. But it was only a delay. A corner from the other side was delivered fairly poorly, straight to a defender but he only hooked it to the edge of the box where it was first-timed back across goal to where Robert Thomson was steaming in. Cue scenes in the away end.

At half-time I remarked I hadn’t seen it being at 1-1 when the game had only been five minutes in. I was grateful for it though.

The second half we were very in it to begin with. Andy Stirling and Lewis Vaughan were starting to get space on the wings and Sam Stanton through the middle. He it was with a fine run made the opportunity for Lewis Vaughan to put us ahead. Dreams of a win in Dundee and arithmetical safety began. It wasn’t the only opportunity of the half, a squared ball was unfortunately behind the inrushing Robert Thomson or he’d have had a tap in.

United didn’t really look threatening but suddenly scored out of the blue. Sadly for Alan Martin it was a save that squirmed away from him to an oncoming attacker that gave them the equaliser.

For the last ten minutes we were under the cosh a bit but throughout the game we had kept our shape really well, the players clearly know what they are to do. A couple of scrambles near our goal line and then a bit of holding the ball up near their corner flag and the ref blew for full time.

All the players and staff came to applaud the Sons fans in the away end amid much acclaim for their efforts.

A draw at Tannadice is a great result for the Sons. I think it’s the best one we’ve had there since they got promoted from the old Division Two in the late 1950s. And we’ve taken seven points out of a possible twelve from United this season. Amazing.

Fingers crossed for a survival Saturday at the weekend.

Falkirk 2-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Falkirk Stadium, 25/2/17.

The referee was Mat Northcroft again.

Despite that – and his usual baffling decisions – it was a decent enough game, even if both teams weren’t quite at it.

Falkirk didn’t really threaten much in the first half. We forced a few corners early on but fell out of it a bit. Their goal may have been a fluke. Their left back was played in and hit it on the volley from where it looped over Alan Martin’s outstretched hand and into the net.

Our equaliser was a peach and came within a minute. Lewis Vaughan picked up the ball and ran at their defence, evading three men before dodging into the box and thumping it across Danny Rogers into the top corner. Honours even at half-time.

Our second ended up a mirror image of our first. Christian Nade chased down a ball in midfield, dispossessed the Falkirk player and played it to Andy Stirling who proceeded to waltz past defenders and then despatch it past Rogers the opposite way to Vaughan. Beautiful stuff.

Unfortunately we couldn’t keep the lead though there was a hint of offside about their equaliser. They did have the ball in the net again but that offside was given and we cleared a shot off the line. They had a looping effort that hit the outside frame of the goal and Daniel Harvie’s header from a corner also hit their bar.

A draw was just about right and a point was more than I expected from the game. It’s awfully tight just above the play-off places though.

Raith Rovers 1-3 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Starks Park, 28/1/17.

What an odd set of emotions this evoked. We won and I’m still raging at the referee.

We had the better of the first half, Robert Thomson and Sam Stanton had good efforts on target and I was beginning to think we might regret not scoring when on top. I didn’t expect to lose a blatantly illegal goal. Daniel Harvie was shoved over by the forward in the build-up – how the ref and stand-side assistant missed it is beyond belief – and the subsequent cross was converted. 1-0 down at half-time having played well with nothing to show for it I feared the worst.

Second half we started brightly and got the goal when Christian Nade headed in from a cross. Then the second decision under the Val McDermid stand that was criminal. Andy Stirling cut inside the fullback and looked to be scythed down in the box. even if there was no contact he was taking avoiding action from the lunge and that still makes it a penalty. No penalty. Andy Stirling got booke dfor “diving”. Why would he have dived? He wouldn’t have gone over in that position if not fouled. It definitely was not a dive. No-one dives at that angle. It was a pen and a sending off. That decision could have cost us. In many a game it would have. Today though Raith weren’t up to much.

Our second was a thing of beauty. A piece of intricate passing up the right seemed to have got us up a blind alley but the ball was suddenly switched over to the left and Daniel Harvie steamed onto the ball, took a few paces and lamped it into the far corner.

Six minutes later we made it three. A low corner looked to be a wasted one but it evaded everybody and reached Gregor Buchanan beyond the far post and his shot crashed in.

We saw out the rest of the game with not much trouble and Sons’ 87 fans making a noise fit for many more.

Those two decisions weren’t the only bad ones in the game but I can’t recall any iffy ones the ref made going in our favour including loads where he let things go which he should have pulled back for a foul for us. At one point he and the assistant stared at each other for seconds not knowing what to give. Eventually it went Raith’s way, of course. But those two in particular had been so appalling that even though we were winning somehow I still felt we weren’t and had been robbed. It is apparently not the first game this ref has given baffling decisions mostly against us. Let us name the guilty man. Mat Northcroft.

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.

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.

Dundee 6-2 Dumbarton

Scottish League Cup*, Dens Park, 23/7/16.

Wew were impressive in the first half and dominated it apart from a brief interval when they scored a silly free kick to give away at the edge of the box which Mark Brown flapped at.

Robert Thomson held the ball up well and generally looked lively, Ryan Stevenson and Andy Stirling combined well down the left hand side. We played some good stuff. The equaliser followed a cleared corner back out to Ryan Stevenson whose first time cross was headed back across to Robert Thomson (maybe a shade offside) who was under pressure but stooped to head the ball down and Frazer Wright (there’s a novelty; Frazer Wright!) bundled it over the line. The keeper clawed it out and we thought it hadn’t been given at first but the linesman had spotted it as over. The second had parallels a Robert Thomson headed effort had crossed the line – just) before it was cleared. I couldn’t actually see the shot as the guy in front had jumped up to claim the goal and obscured the ball. I just saw it travel into the net. It was soon obvious Gregor Buchanan had hit the shot.

Second half was a totally different story. Dundee looked much sharper and we barely got a kick. Their equaliser was offside though and their third came fom a free-kick that certainly wasn’t a foul – but it was coming. Mark Brown had made a great double save somewhere around there to keep us just about in it but it only delayed things. The last three they just walked through us.

On the first half performance we might just be able to compete this season. On the second we definitely won’t.

*Now the Betfred Cup.

free hit counter script