Archives » Craig Barr

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!

Arbroath 1-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2 Play-off Semi-final, first leg, Gayfield Park, 2/5/18.

Now here’s a rarity.

I was composing this post in my head just before the final whistle and it began, “Well, I’ve still not seen us win at Gayfield,” when – lo and behold – we do just that, Craig Barr knocking the ball in at the second attempt.

Admittedly this followed an almost continuous run of Sons pressure where both Iain Russell and Liam Burt perhaps should have scored.

But it all ended up rather better than it might have.

Scott Gallacher had already had to make two (comfotable) saves before we threatened their goal but their keepers saves were of a higher order, first from Danny Handling’s header and then from Tom Walsh’s shot from the rebound. A defensive mix-up at the bakk almost let Arbroath score but their forward amazingly pulled it back too far and it escaped the post.

Second half we were more in the game and got the opener when fine work by Andy Stirling allowed him to cross. Tom Walsh’s header was perfect for Calum Gallagher to loop his header over the keeper.

Their equaliser came from a free-kick given at the edge of our box but play should never have got that far as a shove in the back tokk one of ours out of the play in the build-up. The goal encouraged Arbroath and they came at us with Scott Gallagher having to make two fine saves. Then after Iain Russell and Liam Burt came on for Calum Gallagher and Tom Walsh came that late push.

It’s not over yet, Arbroath showed they could theaten us, but we go into Saturday’s second leg in a better position than I had feared.

It will still be a nervy affair though.

Inverness C T 5-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, 14/4/18.

We started the game well enough, scored the opener – Andy Stirling skinning his man and cutting the ball back beautifully for Grant Gallacher to thump it into the net – but we didn’t hold on to it long enough. The equaliser was a great strike, but the guy took the ball up in midfield with no-one near him and no-one closing him down.

If we’d held on till half-time maybe things might have been different, but just before the break Craig Barr inexplicably switched off and didn’t chase the ball allowing Nathan Austin in to round Scott Gallacher and roll it into the net.

In the second half we fell right out of it and they started to walk through us. We looked tired. I suppose, as I always suspected they would, games have caught up with us. It’s not really a surprise to me that our first bad winter in this division has coincided with our worst performance in it. And the postponements due to the Challenge Cup run haven’t helped.

The introduction of Liam Burt and Mark Stewart improved us – why wasn’t Burt on from the start? He always looked capable of fashioning something and Mark Stewart was a bigger threat than Calum Gallagher had been – but we were three and four down by the time the subs were made.

At least we looked a bit of a goal threat for the early part of the game. The play-offs might be a stretch too far though.

Dumbarton 2-1 Stranraer

Scottish Challenge Cup*, Third Round, The Rock, 6/10/17.

An odd night statistically. I’m sure that’s the first time we’ve won three Challenge Cup ties in one season and it marks four home games in a row we’ve won 2-1 – and the away game in that sequence was lost by the same score. And we don’t usually beat Stranraer.

I must say Stranraer turned out for this in an ugly black strip with horrible luminous yellow flashings and socks.

We should have had this dead and buried after ten minutes. At least four great chances in that time. Mark Stewart charged down a defender’s forward pass and set up Calum Gallagher who didn’t shoot first time but instead dollied round another defender and his subsequent shot was saved by the keeper’s legs. Then a Chris McLaughlin cross gave Calum Gallagher a free header and he didn’t get anything like enough on it. The goal came after a fine driving run into the box from David Wilson to set up Craig Barr who still had a lot to do but did it superbly. A minute or so later Dimitris Froxylias hit a chance over the bar. Pretty much it for the half except for Scott Gallacher going off to be replaced by Jamie Ewings and us letting Stranraer have too much possession.

Second half followed the pattern of the latter part of the first but we always looked comfortable. Scott Agnew (formerly of this parish) pinged over a few great cross-fields balls with that left foot of his but was otherwise uninfluential.

The game was all but over when Tom Walsh skinned the full back yet again and put over a beautiful cross. Mark Stewart showed Calum Gallagher how it’s done.

Froxy did track back more than I’ve seen him but when on the ball occasionally tried too much. He was perhaps a bit too cute with a late shot which was deflected then cleared off the line.

They had a couple of moments from corners where the ball flashed across the box but were nowhere near clinical and only two shots, both long range, on target in all of normal time both of which Jamie Ewings dealt with easily. Three minutes stoppage time was announced and I thought we might actually get a clean sheet. But another poorly given away and defended corner led to them scoring with the second last touch of the game.

It’s the first time I’ve seen us win this season, since late January at Raith in fact.

I’m glad we’re not in the third tier. I thought Stranraer were brutal (football fan speak for not very entertaining.)

*Irn Bru Cup if you must.

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.

Clyde 2-1 Dumbarton

Scottish League Cup, Broadwood Stadium, 22/1/17.

Well.

New season, new players – I had only seen two of the starters in a Sons shirt before (there were three from last season on the pitch by the end) – same old story. We don’t do Cups.

We never looked in trouble in the first half, passed it about fairly well but without much penetration. Loan signing Ally Roy had an opportunity to score first-time from a cross but struck it into the ground and it looped over the bar. The goal came from a corner that wasn’t cleared and from the returned ball Craig Barr headed it against the bar. It came down and was scrambled away but thelinesman gave the goal. Chris Johnston on the wing appeared lively but only once got past his man who got back to block the cross. In the end he flattered to deceive.

We didn’t step it up in the second and Clyde came more into it finally forcing Scott Gallacher into a save.

We looked vulnerable at the corners Clyde were getting but the equaliser was a fluke, a poorly cleared corner returned in a cross which looped over everyone into the corner of the net.

Their second was also poor defensively, a cross again following on from a corner not being cut out and a free header put past defender and keeper on the near post.

Christian Nade was brought on and his first touch was a drive which required a good save from the keeper. David Wilson tested their keeper in a similar fashion a minute or so later but that was it.

A bit more urgency throughout the game might have seen us win. Injuries haven’t been kind to us even so early on but this game suggested we don’t have a good depth of squad.

Early days but the league is looking a tougher proposition by the day.

A curiosity. We played in our away top but home shorts:-

Dumbarton FC

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