Archives » Dimitris Froxylias

Oswestry

The name is enough to bring on a warm glow for any Sons fan, more so to one who was there that unforgettable night, shrouded now in mystic memory.

Not that it was an unalloyed delight. For three-quarters of the game we weren’t in it – and it was a pretty glum experience. I was wondering why I had travelled all that way only for us to surrender meekly. Still we weren’t exactly out of it, not even when The New Saints scored early on the second half. But we gradually started to push forward and even got a couple of crosses in.

Then the moment it all changed with that pass from Kyle Hutton to Danny Handling, the sublime run from Mark Stewart to take away the defender and leave space for the shot, the shot itself, the outburst of almost disbelieving delirium, Danny Handling running up the park in delight, Sons fans applauding and shouting with a kind of relief.

Then a few minutes later the ironic cheers when the referee finally gave a free-kick against their defence for fouling Christian Nade, who’d been getting no joy up till that point.

Up stepped Froxy with that beautiful, beautiful, sublime strike into Sons legend. If his goal at Dunfermline earlier that season hadn’t already made him one, this certainly confirmed it.

Below are the game’s (short) higlights – with Welsh commentary.

Watch Kyle Hutton’s reaction to Froxy’s goal (at about 2 minutes seven seconds in.) It looks like he’s thinking, “Did that just happen?”

Sometimes the football gods are with you, at others not. Pity the final wasn’t so memorable, but that was another story.

Oswestry, however, will stay with me forever.

I took photographs, naturally, of the ground and the town, all coming up.

And of course I have already posted the video of the celebrations at the final whistle.

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.

Dumbarton 0-1 Inverness C T

Scottish Challenge Cup (Irn Bru Cup) Final, McDiarmid Park, 24/3/18.

I’m a bit deflated at the moment as I’m sure you can imagine. Football can be such a cruel game.

I made the fatal mistake of beginning to hope when Scott Gallacher made the penalty save with about seven minutes to go. But to lose it in the last gasp of injury time was harsh; especially on the players who’d worked so hard.

We had the better of the early exchanges, ranking up several corners (I can’t remember them getting even one in the whole game) and having a shot on target without really troubling the keeper. More worryingly they came into it towards half-time by which time the on target count had become 2-2.

They had more of the second half and did make Scott Gallacher handle the ball a few times. The nearest we came was with a Danny Handling shot which the keeper held. I noticed today that Handling has a terrible habit of turning back with the ball. Who was it back in the day who did that all the time. Paul Quinn? Robert Russell? Not Russell I think, much further back than him.

After his debut for Cyprus yesterday (the Sons’ first full international player since 1932) Froxy came on as a late sub but it was too late for him to affect the game much. The only free-kick he could attempt was from way too far out even for him.

Here’s a photo of my match ticket:-

Irn Bru Cup Final Ticket

Before entering the stand I took a few photos of the ground as it’s the first time I’ve been there. Through a frosted glass window I caught Sons’ manager Stevie Aitken in the dressing room probably trying to get a signal on his phone:-

Stevie Aitken

I’m proud of the lads, they did well. But I’m gutted – for them and for me.

They’ll need to raise themselves for Tuesday night’s game now. At least most of the players who were unavailable for today should be in the squad.

This cup run has probably ruined our league season what with all the postponements. We don’t have a midweek free now until the last week of the season.

But when will be the next time Sons are in a national Cup Final?

Brechi City 1-3 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Glebe Park, 17/3/18

When was the last time we scored three goals? (Last season.)

When was the last time we scored three goals in one half? (I can’t remember.)

This was pretty much over at half-time. We’d scored three without really threatening their goal and lost one to a well-struck free-kick.

We had most of the ball early doors but hadn’t made their keeper make a save. Then we had a flurry of three corners in a row. The two from Andy Stirling were cleared out for more corners. The one from Froxy was headed (by Andy Dowie?) back across goal to an unmarked Calum Gallagher who only had to let the ball bounce off him but headered it anyway.

Then Sam Wardrop was fouled in the act of crossing the ball but not given the award. He tried to carry on but only lasted two more minutes. I hope he only went off as a precaution ahead of next week.

Another Froxy corner was then headed goalwards by Andy Dowie and deflected beyond the keeper by a defender. Two up inside half an hour. Unheard of this season.

They pulled one back with that free-kick. It was well placed but I thought Scott Gallacher was a bit too far across his goal at the set-up.

Things could have been tricky if they had get their heads up but after another Froxy corner not well cleared the ball was squared back across goal by Craig Barr and squirmed about the goal line before Danny Handling poked it home.

The second half was a bit of a non-event with Brechin having most of the ball. They were awarded a penalty. That could have made for a nervy last twenty minutes but it was screwed past the post to make their recent sub Isaac Layne, who had been wanting to take it, not at all a happy bunny.

We had two further chances with both Calum Gallagher and Danny Handling through on the keeper but their shots were too straight.

Three welcome points though.

Dumbarton 0-1 Queen of the South

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 10/3/18.

Well, this is becoming depressing.

Another home game, another 1-0 defeat. No leage goal since Boxing Day (and none in the two games before that.)

And it seems we missed a penalty.

If we didn’t have a Cup final to look forward to things would be bleak indeed.

And it seems Froxy is unavailable for that due to a Cyprus call-up. Gloom all round.

Falkirk 0-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Falkirk Football Stadium, 24/2/18.

Well it wasn’t a defeat, but it wasn’t a win and realistically, while for them it was a mustn’t lose, for us it was a must win.

And it could have been a lot worse. They hit the woodwork four times.

I’ve been resigned to the playoffs for weeks now. We’re not going to make up nine points, not to mention sixteen goals, in the twelve remaining games.

What’s really killed us though is that Brechin haven’t been taking points off the teams above us. The tenth placed side in our previous seasons in this division all managed that sometimes. Without that it’s a hard grind for a team like us.

Given the almost inevitability of us finishing ninth I’d have liked to see us play with a bit more ambition. When we did get forward in the last ten minutes or so we looked like we could have troubled them at the back. Still, I have to admire they way we defended. We might have ridden our luck a little but it was dogged.

Loanee Liam Burt certainly made a difference when he came on – as he did in Oswestry – and we looked sharper with Mark Stewart up front or in wide midfield. Sam Wardrop at right back also makes an enormous contribution. We badly missed him when he was out through injury.

Froxy didn’t make it on. I suppose Stevie Aitken thought that in a tight game his lack of defensive ability could have hurt us. I know he won the semi-final for us but he had a very poor clearance thereafter which almost gave them an equaliser. In a sense he’s a luxury player for us.

I still hope we have a more positive attitude on Tuesday night against Inverness though.

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

Outbreak of Sycophancy

I see some USian actress has got herself engaged to a bloke who lives in a big house in London.

I don’t really see the need for it to take up over half of the Six O’Clock BBC News bulletin, though, nor the obsequious interview, nor the programme at 19.30 punting Panorama to 22.45.

On a less sour note, check out our Dimitris’s* goal from Saturday.

What a belter.

*I suppose I’ll need to go along with everybody else’s “Froxy” from now on.

Dunfermline Ath 2-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, East End Park, 25/11/17.

In the end this was one point more than I thought we’d get but in reality two dropped.

First half we were in control but neither side really looked like scoring. It was a good enough game nevertheless – even if Dunfermline appeared poorer than a team in third place in the division ought to be. They weren’t really on it, but that may have been due to us not letting them play. Not that that would excuse their misplaced passes…

I have to say the atmosphere im the away end was brilliant with youngsters having brought along a drum. I’m sure this must have communicated to the players. It was noisy enough!

Second half things livened up a bit. I’d just remarked to Onebrow that om Walsh’s shooting could be improved. Next move he opened the scoring, taking the ball up, moving past a man and placing his shot into the corner. We could see it was in and the keeper wasn’t going to get it from the moment it left his foot.

It didn’t last long. Just after they made a double substitution a ball into our box was taken down and as soon as the player turned with it I knew it was going in.

Our first sub had a spectacular effect. Our Dimitris, back from injury, came on, with his first two touches of the ball swept past two defenders and with his third pinged it across the keeper into the far top corner. A goal to grace any game. Wonderful. Mind you he was pretty anonymous from then on, apart from having his legs taken away from him towards the end.

Dunfermline then threw everything at us and despite some good defending up to that point unfortunately with a minute or so to go managed to get their second equaliser after a bit of ping-pong in our box. So a potential three points became one.

The referee was poor though. A lot of decisions went against us when they shouldn’t have. At one point one of Dunfermline’s players threw himself into Christian Nade and bounced off him. Free kick to Dunfermline! Several times their players went right through one of ours and we didn’t even get a free kick, still less the yellow cards the challenges deserved. Nick Walsh was the guilty man.

But the performance showed we can compete with teams in this division.

Brechin City 0-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Glebe Park, 4/11/17.

So, a welcome return to the Glebe. Though the beech hedge has been given a terrible scalping.

This was a reminder of what lower league Scottish football is all about. Standing on the touchline two feet from the referee’s assistant, hearing all the verbals between the players. Pity about the standard of the football….

This was a bit of huff and puff, not much real quality on show. Not surprising really considering the import of the game. Plus we were missing about six players for various reasons.

We had much the best of the first half and made a few openings but nothing ever quite clear cut, Brechin always getting a body in the way. During a succesion of corners which all came to nothing I began to wonder if we’d suffer a sucker punch in the second half.

That looked more likely after the interval as we fell badly out of it and Brechin pressed. But they didn’t open us up either; only a long range effort put Scott Gallacher under any pressure but it cannoned off the top of the bar. This was the sort of game which our Dimitris could have made his own and the absence of Christian Nade shows how little we have in the way of aerial threat without him.

With a few minutes left the ball fell to Tom Walsh in Brechin’s box. Here’s the chance I thought. His shot too went over. That there was at least two points gone, it seemed.

That reckoned without Chris McLaughlin who got down the line one more time and whipped over his cross into that six yard danger area. It bounced off a Brechin player and towards the goal. It felt like it took ages before trundling into the back of the net. It’s the sort of goal a team concedes when nothing is going for it. Brechin must have been gutted.

Yet overall we deserved the win I would say, especially for our first half dominance. Special mention to Kyle Hutton, who gets a lot of stick from Sons fans but more or less ruled the midfield today. His long passing can be awry but when he keeps it short things are better.

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