Archives » Easter Road

Dumbarton 0-1 Falkirk

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 6/5/17.

Well; it’s done now.

Next season Sons will still be playing in Scottish football’s second tier. That will be six years in a row – a magnificent achievement for a part-time club.

But it was close this time. Never before has it gone down to the last day, never before have we survived only on goal difference. It’s an indication of how difficult the task is year on year. And once again we have finished above at least one full-time club. We are punching above our weight.

Making it all the more sweet is that we have been the beneficiaries of what the Scotsman inquired might have been the worst transfer of the season. It was in fact the best. Lewis Vaughan’s goals contributed directly to six points in our efforts to stay up.

But survive we have and congratulations to the management team and players.
It’s a roller-coaster ride following Sons at the best of times. In this division wins are hard to come by and few enough per season. When they do occur the joy is that much more delicious.

It will all end one day but while trips to big grounds like Ibrox, Tynecastle or Easter Road are not on the agenda for next season there is still (maybe) Tannadice and the likes of St Mirren and East End Parks to go to and the possible prospect of rare games for us in Inverness.

But football doesn’t stand still. The worrying starts again in a couple of months time. Less if you fret about the manager’s future and summer signings.

Bonnyrigg Rose* 0-0 Dumbarton

Scottish Cup** Third Round, New Saunders Park, 26/11/16.

It was great to be at an old-fashioned football ground, crowd tight to the pitch, free standing, ability to walk round the ground, no segregation – and never a hint of trouble despite that. A great occasion for Bonnyrigg; as the size of the crowd testified.

But for us this was dreadful. Against a team not even in the same football system as us and therefore technically at least five levels below ours we looked as if all we intended was to avoid defeat.

Too many passes went astray, too many players were off it. Okay we were missing a few but we should still be able to go to a Junior ground and look to attack.

They had the better of the play apart from a minor flurry at the beginning of the second half. They might only have had one threatening attempt in the first half – well saved by Alan Martin but routine enough – to our three (Garry Fleming’s effort from their mistake followed by Donald McCallum’s shot on the rebound, both well saved by their keeper, then Don’s attempt to dig out the ball after the keeper spilled a cross) but they had most of the play.

We looked comfortable enough defending – except for corners and free-kicks and a wonderful Alan Martin reflex save from one of those – but we ourselves only had a looping header on target in the second half.

Quite why Don was on from the start when they had two big central defenders who could head the ball all day is beyond me. Robert Thomson at least won a few when he came on, we might have made something of that if he had started and Don could have come on to run at them towards the end. Not that they looked lacking in fitness. The game could have gone on till next Tuesday and no goals would have been scored.

A replay is the last thing we needed; especially in the week running up to our encounter with Hibs at Easter Road. On this evidence we could go into that game out of the Cup.

*According to their website the home club’s full name is Bonnyrigg Rose Athletic.
**William Hill Scottish Cup

Dumbarton 2-1 Livingston

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 3/10/15.

Three points! And I’m no longer a jinx! I managed to pick up a home strip before the game as well.

We started with a flurry and Fraser Wright (fielded at left back) had a header from a corner just over but then Livi began to dominate and we more or less failed to threaten for the rest of the half. But we won the ball back quickly in midfield after a corner had been cleared and got into the space Livi had left, leading to a lovely Wullie Gibson cross for Kevin Cawley who didn’t miss the header.

Our defence hadn’t learned the lesson of last week though. Only three minutes of a lead and too many of our defenders plus keeper were drawn to the incoming corner. The Livi player’s header back across was to an unmarked man. Mind you he actually had to head it; it didn’t just bounce off him like last week.

I missed the incident which led to Livi’s Miles Hippolyte being sent off as the ball was well away, but it seems he was a silly boy. Curiously after that we were the team who looked more ragged for a while.

The winner came from another broken down set-piece, a throw-in this time. (New signing Steven Saunders has replaced Scott Linton in long throw terms. That improved our performance at throw-ins no end. We’ve got no height up front though. Saunders was decent enough in the right back role.) The ball came back out and sub Jordan Kirkpatrick hooked it back in. Eamonn Brophy took the ball down, swivelled and scored. It’s the first sniff of a proper chance he’s had in the one and a half games I’ve seen him – and he took it. He looked delighted too.

We’re still too ponderous in the build-up, but I’ll take the three points.

Next up: Hibs at Easter Road on the 17th. They’ll be looking for revenge for our 2-1 win in August.

Edited to add: Young Donald McCallum troubled them a bit with his pace when he came on and was instrumental in their goalie being booked for fouling him away out on the touchline but he looked awful lightweight against Livi’s tall muscular defnders.

Tier 1 Play-off

At time of writing it looks as though Motherwell, after their 3-1 victory in the first leg of the play-off, will retain their top level status at the expense of Rangers.

Chickens should not be counted, however. Last year Hamilton were 2-0 behind in the tie after losing at home, the same total deficit as Rangers face now, but still won through by beating Hibs by the same score at Easter Road and then winning the penalty shoot-out.

While an overall Motherwell win would be a poke in the eye for those who feel a sense of entitlement rather than realising that they follow just another (at present not very good) team and it has been amusing to see Rangers not scooshing this division the way they did the lower two, my own preference would be for Rangers to prevail – but this is only for somewhat selfish reasons as it would avoid the possibility of them winning the Tier 2 title next season (or the year after?) and thus robbing Dumbarton of the unique distinction of having won championship titles at four different levels of Scottish football.

Easter Road Stadium

Home of Hibernian FC.

I took these at the League Cup game in August, not the 0-0 last week.

From the access road:-

Main Stand Exterior:-

South Stand Exterior:-

East Stand:-

North Stand:-

Main Stand:-

The teams at kick off. You can just about see the hoops on the front of the Sons strip on a couple of our players. It’s a particularly horrible shade of green Hibs are wearing this season. And no white sleeves. Poor show.

Hibernian 3-2 Dumbarton

Scottish League Cup, Round 2, Easter Road Stadium, 26/8/14.

A case of might have been. Two-nil up with less than fifteen minutes to go you would expect not to lose; but of course we did.

The first half I thought Hibs looked sharper and more threatening but apparently we had more possession (from Boghead Ranter – about halfway down the page.) They seemed to have more space but we held them off. That is a hellish green they have for a shirt though, not Hibs-like at all.

Garry Fleming had a good game but against opponents like this his limitations were highlighted. His strengths through, particularly effort and putting himself about gave their defenders problems. Colin Nish looked more up for it than usual and came onto a game. I thought Scott Taggart was good at centre half – in the first half anyway. In the second our defence was too far away from the Dumbarton support to be sure of anything about it.

The second half was a bit different. We suddenly had a period of domination and got the goal, Scott Agnew’s corner headed back across goal by Nish and Mitch Megginson reacting quickly to hook the ball in on the volley.

The second followed another Agnew corner, again knocked back and Garry Fleming’s tenacity (He was fouled but we weren’t going to get a penalty) meant the ball rebounded to Mark Gilhaney who hit it. The ball ricocheted off at least two Hibs defenders before just crossing the line.here was some confusion for a second or two before the ref – or perhaps the linesman – gave it.

Curiously at that point – at least 25 minutes to go – some Hibs fans decided to leave!

In retrospect that goal came too early. If we had gone two up later it might have killed them. As it was they had a long time in which to come back. Nish’s substitution (by Jordan Kirkpatrick) may have been the turning point. Suddenly our one tactic for getting the ball out had gone and we were pressed back more and more. In addition we began to look tired, especially Garry Fleming whose own substitution was about ten minutes too late.

When they scored it only invited more pressure but unbelievably the second was more or less a carbon copy of the first; a cross headed in by the impressive but all but unmarked El Alagui. I don’t remember seeing a striker as good as him all last season. Ater that there was only going to be one winner – and I didn’t want it to be in extra time. One small mercy then.

Three goals lost in less than twelve minutes isn’t good, even if we were tiring against a full time team. But when we had a go at them they looked vulnerable and we showed we can score.

However, we’re losing at least three goals a game; no matter whom we play and no matter the centre back pairing.

This is beginning to look like an amalgam of the 2010-11 and 2012 -13 seasons. And beginning to feel horribly like a relegation season. Things need to change soon.

Busy, Busy

I’ve been busy on and off and haven’t had much time for blogging.

Bête  cover

I’m not mentioning Saturday’s result, I’m too depressed. Just as well I didn’t make the trip. I feel I ought to turn up at Easter Road for the League Cup game though.

My latest Interzone review book has arrived. It’s Adam Roberts’s latest, Bête. (It’s not that long ago I read his Jack Glass.) The review will appear in issue 255.

I think I forgot to mention issue 253 had come out.* That one has my review of Kieran Shea’s Koko Takes a Holiday.

*Edited to add. My memory is mince. I did mention it, when I reviewed the fiction in issue 250.

Scotland 3-1 Australia

Easter Road, Edinburgh, 15/8/12.

Thankfully I missed any sight of the Florida debacle in June when the USA humped us 5-1.

I only caught the highlights of this, where Scotland looked impressive enough. But I didn’t recognize many of the Australians so don’t know if it was a strong team or what.

Australia’s goal was a belter (almost literally.) Mark Bresciano couldn’t have hit it any more sweetly.

Jordan Rhodes caught the eye, great movement across the defender for his header from an excellent cross. The poor Aussie defender placed his header for the own goal beautifully. Ross McCormack got behind their defence too easily for the third but took it well.

Danny Fox’s crossing for the first two goals was good but he seems very one-footed. He won’t always have time like that.

Two World Cup qualifiers next month will be more nail-biting, I’m sure.

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