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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.

Livingston 1-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Almondvale Stadium, 21/3/15

What an odd game.

We started brightly and had two efforts on goal from Garry Fleming neither of which were on target. Then Chris Turner dangled his leg out to stop a Livi player getting past and was booked. An unneeded foul which I said to Onebrow would be even more unnneeded if they scored from it. So what happened? 1-0 Livi. Danny Rogers seemed a bit immobile as it went in.

There followed a succession of fouls by Livi layers on ours all of which went unpunished – even the one that resulted in Darren Petrie having to be substituted. Dylan Easton came on but this wasn’t really the sort of game where he could shine as Livi were very physical. Despite that it was two more of our players who got booked. In Mark Wilson’s case it looked to me as if he played the ball onto their player. I thought it wasn’t till late in the game that the ref saw fit to book any of their players but the BBC says one was yellow carded after 45 mins. The worst refereeing decision came in the second half when Garry Fleming was given offside despite the fact that he had run on to a pass misplaced by one of their players.

From five minutes into the second half Livi were time-wasting. That was an irritating spectacle. I was thinking we’ve beaten way better Livi teams than this.

The time-wasting came back to bite them late on when Scott Agnew drove a free-kick into the net. Is that Aggie’s first goal from a free-kick since we got promoted to this division?* It wasn’t even in the corner, hit on the goalie’s side of the wall, but I wasn’t caring.

No time-wasting by Livi now. But it was us who scored again, Garry Fleming latching on to a ball after a set piece wasn’t fully cleared and fairly belting it into the net. He simply wanted it more than the defender.

So a win that sees us 11 points clear of 8th place with 7 games left (with Alloa only having 18 points to play for and Cowdenbeath 24.) Livi are 17 points behind us with only 21 to play for. I think we won’t finish last, then.

*Edited to add:- Apparently not. I seems he got one in the 4-1 demolition of Hamilton Accies last spring. I wasn’t at that game.

Dumbarton 4-1 Hamilton Academical

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 26/4/14.

Wow! 4-1.

Makes up for the doing we got at their place early on in the season.

It also sets up the last day nicely for nail biting by Hamilton and Dundee fans – and perhaps Falkirk ones too. Plus Alloa must be bricking it now Cowdenbeath are only two points behind.

Sadly fourth spot is now beyond us. I can’t see a twelve goal swing in our favour next week. Fifth is achieved with a game still to play though. This is a magnificent achievement by the management and players. We can bask in it over the summer.

Hamilton Academical 3-3 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, New Douglas Park, 1/2/14

I’d have taken this before the game. I’ll take it even more after we went 3-2 down with two minutes to go. But up popped Chris Kane with the equaliser a minute later.

I “watched” this on the videoprinter from about 4.30. I hadn’t felt up to the trip across.

From the report on Sportscene Results it sounded like Stephen Grindlay had twice spilled the ball to lead to Accies goals.

But not much damage done; only one place lost.

Amazingly we are now the outright top goalscorers in the Division, two better off than Dundee. Our defensive record is the third worst though.

Big week now. Home to Livingston on Wednesday then a chance to reach a Cup quarter-final at Alloa on Saturday. I’m not expecting that game to be a 5-1 away win again.

Dumbarton 2-1 Hamilton Academical

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 20/12/13

Well a home win will do nicely. Especially because it’s the first since August, was against a team in the top two and achieved without our two best midfielders. Scott Agnew is still out and Chris Turner didn’t recover from limping off at Stark’s Park on the 13th.

I was surprised Jordan Kirkpatrick got a start today after being carried off last week. And Colin Rhyming Slang was on the bench.

Plus we gained ground on Cowdenbeath, Queen of the South and Livingston.

Maybe my gloom and doom of last week was misplaced.

(Maybe.)

Scottish Cup Draw

So, Cowdenbeath at home.

Once again we don’t get an easy one. In cups – especially the Scottish – we have a tendency to draw teams above us. (I know Cowden are below us at the moment but they’re in the same Division. We could have hoped for a Div below at least – even if that’s a banana skin.)

At least it wasn’t Hamilton again. That’s another thing that seems to happen often; getting drawn against the same teams as before – more often in the League or Challenge Cups though.

And it’s at home. But our home form has stuttered recently.

We’ll be sick of the sight of Cowdenbaeth at season’s end.

Hamilton Academical 4-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, New Douglas Park, 17/8/13

Oh dear. Looks like business as usual.

I do hope this does not mean the wheels have come off the bus.

We’re only saved from being bottom by virtue of a last minute penalty at Central Park.

34 games to go though.

New Douglas Park, Hamilton

Home of Hamilton Academical Football Club, popularly known as the Accies.

These are the entrance gates:-

New Douglas Park Entrance Gates

The Main Stand is the one you can see in the above photo.

Once you get inside you find the seating area is quite high up. See the steps.

New Douglas Park,Hamilton, Main Stand from Entrance

The Main Stand from inside:-

New Douglas Park, Hamilton, Main Stand

View across ground:-

New Douglas Park, Inside the Ground

Note no stand to right here and the temporary stand on the opposite side. That’s a Morrison’s supermarket behind it.

The North Stand:-

New Douglas Park, North Stand from Main Stand

Apparently Sons fans were in this stand for the Saturday game but it wasn’t used on the Tuesday night.

A few more photos of New Douglas Park are on my Flickr.

Update

I’ve been away (again.)

That’s why I didn’t mark the fact that on Tuesday night, due to Airdrie United’s defeat at Hamilton, we could not be automatically relegated this season. The worst that can now happen is that we will be involved in the play-offs.

This is what most Sons fans (in a spirit of realism) would have settled for before the season started. That we are in a position to stay in Div 2 without the benefit of the play-offs is testament to the remarkable efforts of the players (and the new manager since he was appointed.) This would be the case even without Dunfermline’s points deduction.

To be certain of survival a couple more wins might still be required, though.

Hamilton Academical 2-1 Dumbarton

SFL Div 1, New Douglas Park, 2/4/13

So. Honours even over the two games.

This was a game we could have won though. After some Hamilton pressure (and Paul McGinn going off with a hamstring injury) we scored with our first effort on goal. Their keeper came out for Scott Agnew’s cross, stopped, and Jim Lister’s header looped up, taking an age to drop into the net.

Thereafter Hamilton had most of the first half but we also played some neat stuff and should have extended the lead. Brian Prunty – strangely out of sorts (possibly carrying an injury?) – scuffed one right in front of goal then Scott Agnew put it wide when it looked easier to hit the target. Despite Hamilton’s possession Stephen Grindlay had only to make one save in the first half.

Second half we had two earlyish chances, Prunty’s header saved by the keeper and Mark Gilhaney’s shot beating him but striking a defender. Those missed chances were crucial as Hamilton’s heads might have gone down.

We looked shattered for the the last third, four games in ten days taking their toll. Hamilton dominated. You can’t surrender possession as easily as we did and hope to hold out forever. Stout defending was eventually undone.Shay had two very good saves before the inevitable equaliser which he got a hand to but it diverted only on to the post and in. Their subsequent winner was hotly disputed by the Sons players who claimed it hadn’t crossed the line.

Even then we had a chance to salvage a point. Someone – I don’t know who, the area was crowded – put in a great header and their keeper incredibly clawed it up and over the bar.

The game in hand over Cowdenbeath is now gone. But when was the last time we were as high as 19th in Scottish football – as we were before the game? (1986-87, as it happens.)

This must also be the first time a manager has lost his job just after his team has beaten us.

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