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Falkirk 1-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Falkirk Stadium, 26/12/15

I might have taken this before the start. They’ve been on a good run after all.

But it was the manner of the goal that was disappointing. Yes, it might have been a foul but the guy took two further steps before he decided to fall over. He could easily have stayed on his feet. Nevertheless we ought to have coped. But we switched off and gave the scorer time to hit it (which he did, beautifully.)

Up till then they hadn’t had a shot on goal. I don’t recall much else in that way from them first half either.

Just before half time Jordan Kirkpatrick’s first time volley looked in all the way from where we were sitting but it crept just over.

Very early in the second half only a magnificent block by Frazer Wright stopped them going two in front. We were well placed to see throughout the second half what a good defender he is. Otherwise Mark Brown had a great save with his foot from an almost point blank header and that was it.

Falkirk played the ball about well enough but they never really cut us apart. It would have been interesting to see how they would have dealt with things if they hadn’t been a goal up as they started to look jittery at the back as the game progressed especially when Donald McCallum came on. By the end of the game we were the team on top (without ever testing their keeper.) Neaerst for us in the second half was another Jordan Kirkpatrick effort.

In the end I came away from the game feeling frustrated we hadn’t got a point out of it.

I’ve still to see us win this season1 and have only witnessed two draws (in the Cup games) which both ended in defeat; on pens and in extra time respectively.

Maybe I should stay away.

Anyway: here’s some beardy bloke at the game getting into the Christmas spirit with a “Bah Humbug” hat.

Bah Humbug

1Edited to add. I’ve just remembered I was at the 1-0 win against Livingston on October 3rd.

Serial Manager Slayers!

So, Livingston have sacked manager Mark Burchill.

That’s three opponents in a row whose managers Sons have seen off.

First Alloa, then St Mirren and now Livingston.

Can we dare hope to polish off the next two as well? Falkirk’s Peter Houston and Rangers’s Mark Warburton?

No; me neither.

Well, maybe Warburton.

Alloa Athletic 0-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Recreation Park,* 5/12/15.

Yay! Three points.

Most welcome. More, please.

I wasn’t at the game. The weather was foul – both wind and rain – and the away section at Alloa isn’t well protected from the elements. I also had the feeling that the closure of the Forth Road Bridge would mean heavy traffic on the approach to Alloa. (It’s also put me off going to Livingston on the 19th and Falkirk on Boxing Day.)

I felt irrationally cheered by the result. I confess I don’t much care about the Cup game on Tuesday night. The next two league games are more important.

*Call it the Indodrill Stadium if you wish.

Birds at the Helix, Falkirk

On the path to the Kelpies (see previous post) we saw a family of swans on the other side of the canal. A dog was being walked and had to be wary of the adults.

Closer to the Kelpies a more exotic bird was being exercised. It turned out a man took his parrot there every day. It could fly about a bit on the end of a line. I caught it below when it was on the ground.

Parrot on a stick. Well, on a lead:-

Kelpies  parrot

On the walk back to the car the swans had moved over to the near side of the canal and settled down by the side of the path. A wide berth was given and warnings shouted to kids on bikes not to get close:-

Swans + Cygnets 1

Swans + Cygnets 2

The Kelpies

I had seen the Kelpies before, from the M9, and also in the distance from the Falkirk Stadium but hadn’t actually visited them till we took the good lady’s US blog friend Peggy there in May.

They were designed by sculptor Andy Scott and stand in an area called The Helix, by the Forth and Clyde Canal and the River Carron.

The Kelpies have become quite a tourist attraction. When we went there the visitor centre hadn’t yet opened but they were still well worth a look.

This is the view from the path leading to them from the overflow car park:-

The Kelpies

Close up they are stunning:-

The Kelpies Close


Kelpies 3

The Kelpies and Shadows

Kelpies Rear

The Kelpies: Head

Dumbarton 0-5 Falkirk

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 24/10/15.

Oh dear. It looks like the wheels have come off the wagon big style. That’s nine goals lost in two games where in the previous nine we’d only yielded up twelve – and that with no more than two in any one game.

I don’t what it might be but something needs to be done soon to turn things round, especially if, as might be the case, Livingston are starting to get their act together.

Our next two are against Morton at home, where our record against them isn’t great, and Queen of the South away, ditto.

Falkirk 2-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Falkirk Stadium, 28/8/15.

Well it seems that even watching on television I’m a jinx. After fifteen minutes it was like the bad old days were back again. Our defence looked as porous as it has for seasons now. whether this was due to the changes at the back to accommodate new signing Fraser Wright (I don’t think Scott Taggart deserved to be dropped at right back but Stevie Aitken made Darren Barr captain so presumably now has to play him) I don’t know but we didn’t look organised there to begin with.

Their first had a bit of luck what with the ricochet off Kevin Cawley and the boy hit it well. The second may have been a great strike but where was the tackling?

At least we then made more of a fist of it than in the Queen of the South game. Inevitably our goal came from a set piece. When Grant Buchanan nodded back Willie Gibson’s corner Darren Barr simply wanted it more than the defender.

Second half we seemed to have quite a lot of the ball but only forced Danny Rogers into one save from which Garry Fleming couldn’t quite hit the rebound hard enough. We might have equalised when Grant Gallagher got himself through but was pulled up for a far from obvious foul. The ref gave us a decision in somewhat similar circumstances (a bit further out from goal though) a few minutes later so that may have evened out.

There were more positives from this than from the previous game but we can’t go on giving teams two goals of a start, though.

Dumbarton 0-2 Queen of the South

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 22/8/15.

OK. I admit it. It’s me. I’m the jinx.*

The three games we’ve won this season I’ve not been at. The three we haven’t won, I have. (Though this was the first time I’ve seen us beaten over 90 minutes.) And Queen of the South also kept their record of never having lost a goal at the Rock.

Queens were also more than a cut above either Queen’s Park or East Fife. They never looked in danger of losing said goal. I’ve just looked at the stats and they pretty much confirmed my impression. We only threatened with a Willie Gibson free-kick which the keeper pushed round the post.

Their first goal came when Mark Docherty got done by their wide man. The cross wasn’t cut out, came right across the goal and former Son Ian Russell did what he always does against us.

The second goal killed it (but to be fair, the first one had.) We switched off at a corner kick, allowing it to be played short and a cross to come in. Keeper Mark Brown was left exposed to try to contest the ball with their forward. Brown missed, the forward didn’t.

After that it was only a case of would they increase their lead? We never looked like reducing it. Debutant loanee Scott Brown came on but didn’t have much time to influence things, plus had a few wayward passes. Maybe when he’s had time to integrate with the squad. Midfielder Jon Routledge was given Sonstrust MOM. I couldn’t disagree. But he and Kevin Cawley were the only bright sparks. Garry Fleming just doesn’t look like a centre forward. He and strike partner Steven Craig never got into the game. From what I’ve seen of us so far this season it seems we’re going to struggle to score goals apart from set pieces. We got precious few set pieces today.

The main reason I went today was to try to buy a home top from the club shop. The queue before kick-off was so long I’d have missed some of the game. There was a steward blocking access at half time. At full time there was a sign up saying the shop was shut. I came home with no new top.

*I’m thinking of giving the game at Falkirk on Friday a miss. But it’s on BBC Alba. Will watching it on the TV make a difference?

PS:- I’m sad to see from the club website that three season stalwart Andy Graham has left “by mutual consent.” I think it’s fair to say new boss Stevie Aitken didn’t fancy him as first choice centre half. Sons fans will have fond memories of Andy. In particular his performance at Pittodrie in the cup quarter-final in season 2013-4 was immense.

Job Done!

And without a ball being kicked. (Not by us anyway.) Plus with six games to go.

Congratulations to manager Ian Murray and the squad.

Tonight’s 1-0 win by Falkirk over Cowdenbeath means that Sons will play SPFL Tier 2 football again next season. Survival in this league has to be our first aim every season we’re in it. Anything beyond that is a bonus.

While it is true that either Cowdenbeath or Alloa can outdo our current points tally of 33 the arithmetic means it is not possible for both of them to do so since they play each other in the last game of the normal season. (What a tasty encounter that may be: though I think the last time they had a crucial last day game against each other – in 1991, for promotion in that case – I believe it was a 0-0 draw.) The lowest we can now finish is in eighth place, one above the play-off spot. Our present seventh position is way more likely, though.

We’re 9 points behind Raith Rovers with 18 to play for. Catching them would be a tall order but still worth striving for.

To emphasise what an achievement this is for the club it is worth pointing out that no part-time team has stayed at this level for so long since league re-organisation in 1994. (Cowdenbeath may yet equal us in this regard but are 1 point behind Alloa at the moment with the possibility of having to negotiate the play-offs to do so.)

Hibernian 3-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Easter Road, 21/2/15.

Painful. That’s the word I would have used at half-time to describe our performance. Nothing that happened in the second half changed it.

We looked utterly toothless. Our set-up was strange (what’s new this season?) – the absence of Darren Petrie from midfield, as last week, was baffling considering his debut at Falkirk. Also not starting was new loanee Chris Duggan.

Hibs dominated throughout. While the two first-half goals came from poor defending and the third was a deflection we also had Danny Rogers to thank for good goalkeeping and that Hibs clearly relaxed and didn’t force things once the game was won.

The substitutions were odd too. Fair enough Dylan Easton being replaced by Chris Turner but why take off Mark Gilhaney rather than Archie Campbell? Gils could have taken up his usual position on the right where he is generally effective. And perhaps they ought to have been made at half-time rather than after Hibs had scored again. And Darren Petrie for Scott Linton with nine minutes to go?

It is painfully obvious that Chris Turner isn’t half the player he was in his first two half-seasons. Since his injury he’s lost pace (and that was never his strong suit) and his confidence looks shot.

This was 3-0 going on a total doing.

Before the game, considering we had lost our last two home games to Livi and Cowden, I was looking at the fixture list and wondering where the points are going to come from. After it I’m deeper in gloom than ever.

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