Archives » Mark Gilhaney

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.

Falkirk 3-3 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Falkirk Stadium, 31/1/15.

Well, this was an odd game. I’d have taken a point before the start but didn’t think we’d even score; never mind get something out of this. What with Colin Rhyming Slang offski – apparently in the huff about not being given the vacant assistant manager’s job (though his record in charge of the under 20s was, frankly, dire) – Chris Kane back to parent club St Johnstone and Garry Fleming suspended, I couldn’t see where goals might come from, especially since that’s been our failing this season.

Unsurprisingly Falkirk had most of the early posssession but when a set piece came back out to him loanee centre back Stuart Findlay sent over a beautiful cross and Scott Taggart hit the net then 1-0 was dreamland.

It didn’t last. What felt like a minute later the ball broke to an unmarked Falkirk attacker in the box. 1-1. Then we lost the sort of goal that happens to teams in relegation bother. Two ricochets on the way through and the final shot deflected into the net off the attempted block by Findlay.

Falkirk again had most of the second half. But a Scott Linton throw-in wasn’t cleared and fell for debutant loanee Darren Petrie and he didn’t panic and slash at it, but still smashed it past the keeper.

What a difference a goal makes. Our five minute spell of ascendancy ensued and after good work on the right by Mark Gilhaney, the ball came over for Mitch Megginson to cut it back into the path of Archie Campbell who steered it into the far corner.

While we might have scored another on the break as Falkirk had to press for the equaliser and Scott Agnew did have an effort just over the bar they were always going to get one more chance. (If the ref had had his way, he said, darkly, they would have had more than one. Even a Falkirk fan on the Pie Shop said some of his decisions were plain wrong.) It duly came with ten minutes to go.

Still we rode it out and gained an unlikely point. Four attempts on goal, three on target, three goals. About time we had such a ratio.

As well as Darren Petrie – solid in midfield and took his goal very well – it was also my first view of fellow loanee Dylan Easton, who runs about a bit like Josh Falkingham but has none of that player’s irritating qualities. Dylan had a tendency to over-elaborate but had confidence, dig, some sublime touches and is capable of the superb pass.

All in all I’m much more relaxed than I was this time last week in the wake of the home thumping by Livingston, not least because of the dumping of the 3-5-2 for this game in favour of 4-2-2 (or was it 4-4-1-1 or 4-5-1?)

Raith Rovers 2-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Stark’s Park, 17/1/15

If you had told me at half-time that we would come near to taking a point out of this game I would have laughed. We were woeful. No organisation, no bite, no shape, no nothing. All we had to show for it was a couple of long-range efforts from Garry Fleming. We badly missed Chris Kane up front. There wasn’t even Colin Rhyming Slang – on the bench throughout – to contest (contest?) for the ball. Though new loanee Stuart Findlay looked good, reasonably quick and comfortable on the ball. I think we were supposed to be playing 3-5-2 but it was all over the place really and they were able to get in behind us too easily.

Chris Turner had probably his worst game for us that I have seen. He’s not the player he was last season. It was his clumsy challenge that gave away the penalty and he simply wasn’t up to speed all game. There doesn’t seem to be anybody in the squad to allow him a rest what with the injuries to Jordan Kirkatrick and Mark Gilhaney.

Having said all that, Raith ought to have put us away. They didn’t and instead of going for the jugular second half opted for containment and hitting on the break. As a result we came into it. We actually looked like a team and had several Scott Agnew efforts for encouragement. One of those was parried by the keeper and Mitch Megginson pounced to score the rebound. A few minutes later the keeper spilled a cross under pressure from Garry Fleming and Mitch had a gaping goal, easier than the one he scored. He hit it too hard and it went over, off the bar. In stoppage time their keeper made a great save and in the subsequent passage of play a defender headed it off the line. On another day…..

Then again, Raith had missed a golden opportunity earlier in the half on one of their breaks upfield and also hit the post but a symptom of Raith’s second half approach was that even at 2-0 they had started time wasting.

Archie Campbell, despite his pace, doesn’t look the answer to our striking deficiencies.

Improvement next week is vital. Or at least to play for the whole game the way we played in the last twenty minutes yesterday.

Dumbarton 0-3 Falkirk

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 20/12/14.

I wasn’t at the game but witnessed it via BBC Alba.

I needn’t have bothered. We didn’t turn up for the first half and should have been down by more than one goal at half time. With Mark Gilhaney and Chris Turner missing from the starting line-up we were short in midfield. The only spark at all was, as usual, Chris Kane – and we won’t have him in the New Year.

Once Chris Turner replaced Steven McDougall for the second half things improved but we never really tested their keeper. When the second went in and David van Zanten was taken off for Archie Campbell I knew Falkirk would score again… and they did.

And…. Did Scotty Linton even get a kick of the ball after coming on for Mitch Megginson? I don’t think Archie touched it either and he was on the pitch for longer.

I hope things are better at Central Park next Saturday.

Livingston 1-2 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Almondvale Stadium, 15/11/14.

Had today’s games finished at half-time Sons would be bottom of the table. Had I written this post at half-time it would contain one word: dreadful.

We simply were not in this in the first half. We couldn’t string a pass together (never mind two,) the players seemed anxious, hurried. The side was totally without shape and baggy. We had not one attempt at goal. We stood off Livi and let them play. Result 1-0 down; and nearly another. Playing 3-5-2 wasn’t helping. The players were very ill at ease with the system.

Second half we reverted to 4-4-2, with Garry Fleming up alongside Colin Rhyming Slang, and started pressing. Result; we were in the game. After what I think was our first corner of the match the ball broke to Garry Fleming who rifled it in. (One of our players had had a high boot in there somewhere so we maybe got away with that: then again for their goal one of our defenders had his shirt pulled, preventing him getting to the scorer for a block.)

Garry Fleming was also instrumental in our second with a brilliant piece of trickery to evade the defender and play the ball down the wing for Mark Gilhaney to cut it back. Mitch Megginson nearly overran the ball but stretched behind himself to control it. He still had room to take the step back, pivot and stroke the ball into the net. Couldn’t have seen this at half-time. Mitch had had a terrible game up to then. His goal seemed to galvanise him though, as he went on a good run later.

We only had two shots on target all game – and scored with them both!

I’ll take it.

Heart of Midlothian 5-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Tynecastle Stadium, 18/10/14

A curious one this. Hearts were clearly the better team – the best I’ve seen against us in years, just shading Aberdeen in the cup last season – but we didn’t deserve to lose five. On the other hand we did little in the way of attacking in the first half. Andy Graham made the Hearts keeper make a save but that was about it. We definitely miss the Chrisses, Turner and Kane.

We allowed too many crosses in and the first goal came from one of them. The penalty was a penalty. I thought Scott Linton would get to the ball but the attacker was quicker. Danny Rogers touched the ball but he was unlikely to save two inside a week. He had made a great save at 1-0 though.

Second half we came out more brightly and should have had a penalty ourselves when Mark Gilhaney was tripped in the box. For their third we back-pedalled instead of closing down and the guy tucked it away.

Garry Fleming’s goal came when Colin Rhyming Slang headered a corner back across goal from a corner and was finished very well.

Their fourth was from a corner and I was lamenting the fact that we had all eleven men within twenty five yards of our goal. Leave two up and they have to leave three back.

The last was another on the counter immediately after one of their defenders had made a block and dragged the ball with his hand; so we should have had a foul.

Still, I came away thinking we hadn’t played too badly, and not too down-hearted.

It’s a funny old game.

Raith Rovers 1-3 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Stark’s Park, 12/4/14

Straight away as the teams came out I noticed their keeper was wearing an all orange number which nearly matched our away strip. It was about ten minutes in before it was changed for a black top. A woman Sons supporter shouted out, “what about the shorts?” Ooh-er, missus. (The shorts were changed for black ones during half time.)

This was a comprehensive win. We had six efforts on target to Raith’s two before we scored. The goal had been coming and Mark Gilhaney’s first time drive when the ball came out to him was a fully deserved result for our endeavours up to then. Jamie Ewings had two excellent saves – one from a defensive header for which he had little time to react but still diverted on to the bar – in the first half.

Our second was a great individual goal from Mitch Megginson, slaloming through their defence before slotting it past the keeper. Does Mitch score ordinary goals?

A comfortable enough first half. I know Raith were missing several midfielders for one reason or another but you can only play the team you’re up against; and we did, rather well.

The third came when Colin Rhyming Slang – who had a good game overall – reacted quickly to the break of the ball in the box to knock it in at the near post.

Their goal followed on from a passage of play notable for the most blatant handball I’ve ever seen, the ball being knocked down by the Raith attacker from about head height as he was on the run. How the ref, two linos and the fourth official between them could not see it is beyond me. The ensuing corner came back out to their player who curled it in well thus ruining our potential first away clean sheet of the season. But the corner should not have been.

Raith had a bit of a flurry after that but any chance they had of more goals was ruined when their defender was given a straight red for denying Garry Fleming a clear goalscoring opportunity and the game kind of petered out after that.

Curiously for the second straight game at Stark’s Park Jordan Kirkpatrick had to leave injured.

There is now not even the arithmetical possibility of a relegation play-off. Fourth place is possible but will be difficult, fifth would still be a remarkable achievement.

Edited to add:- Chris Turner did a lot of quiet, unobtrusive stuff in the game allowing the other midfielders to get on with playing on the front foot.

Alloa Athletic 1-5 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Recreation Park, 18/1/14.

Stunning. Simply Stunning. I’d never envisioned this when I looked towards this match.

I can’t remember seeing such a one-sided first half when we were the side on top – especially away from home. (Even the 6-0 at East Fife two and a half years ago wasn’t so lop-sided.) We were two-nil up, at 30 mins in, before they had a decent attack. Stephen Grindlay had had only pass backs and one pick up to deal with until after Mark McLaughlin deflected a cross in and Chris Turner got his head onto another. He did have to make a save from close-in header at 2-0, though. Chris Kane had hit the bar about 5 mins in and late in the first half converted a chase with their keeper to the corner of the box into a penalty which he took himself. There was contact but he’d seen it coming and didn’t avoid it. 3-0 at half time was already dreamland. I’d worked out that our goal difference – not to mention our points – was now better than Alloa’s.

They came out a bit more fired up in the second half but couldn’t make any impression. Jordan Kirkpatrick set up a shooting chance for himself but his piledriver just cleared the post, Mark Gilhaney had a great chance, one-on-one with the keeper whom he rounded but sent his shot over. (Well, we were shooting downhill by then.) They, however, ran up the park and scored but only while Mitch Megginson was temporarily laid out in our penalty area.

Any thoughts of a comeback were snuffed out when a cross reached Chris Kane – what a worker he is; brave too – he played for about an hour with a bandage up his nose after a clash. He ought to have put the cross in with his first touch but instead it teed up for him to belt it past the keeper.

The best was the last, a peach; a superb cross from the right was hit first time on the volley by Jordan Kirkpatrick and rocketed into the net. Jordan’s reward was an immediate substitution! That gave Scott Agnew some game time though.

Brilliant performance. Pass marks all round, I even noticed Colin Rhyming Slang making defensive clearances. Alloa were much poorer than I’d thought they would be. No need for Paul Hartley to chuck in the towel as their manager after the game, I’d have thought though.

Moreover, an unlikely concatenation of results means we’re now fourth in the table. In a promotion play-off spot. Our highest league position in 30 years.*

When will I wake up?

*Edited to add: Our highest league position in nigh on 30 years.

Raith Rovers 2-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Stark’s Park, 14/12/13

Not a good day for a game. High wind and driving rain for most of it.

Sons held their own in the first half yielding one chance which the guy blazed against the bar and over, while at the other end ours fell to Colin Nish (two headers wide and one shot right at the keeper) and another header – by whom it was too far away to see – that flashed past the post.

Second half we were on top and they broke away while sub Mitch Megginson and Mark Gilhaney were both on one side of the park and they exploited the space to score.

The sending off might have chaned the game but we got hopelessly out of shape (again!) and got caught three on one on the counter.

Late on Andy Graham played a great forward ball (he was our most incisive player all game – from centre half) to other sub Garry Fleming who swept it across for final sub Steven McDougall to score.

We should have got a draw from this but Raith had three real chances and took two of them. Pity most of ours fell to Colin Nish – whose name would make good rhyming slang. At one point he was unchalleged going for a high ball and still missed it.

Things everywhere did not go well for us. Jordan Kirkpatrick was our best player but was carried off injured in the first half and with all subs committed Chris Turner had to go off too meaning our midfield next week is probably going to look decidedly strange. Then Cowden go and win at Dens! You can’t trust anyone these days.

I’ve now got a very bad feeling about the season. Ian Murray’s going to be tested as a manager from here on in.

Livingston 1-3 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Almondvale Stadium,* 16/11/13

Well; after half an hour I couldn’t see this coming. We had looked sprightly enough early on but never threatened their keeper and then about twenty minutes in they scored when there appeared to be no danger. Sometimes you just have to say it was briiliant. The ball came on from the wing and Mark McNulty hit it exquisitely first time. Jamie Ewings was never stopping it. That’s two wonder strikes against us in the last two games I’ve been to. Jamie did make a great tackle in a one-on-one a few minutes later and had another good save in the second half. Plus he had had to look lively at their first corner to stop the wind taking the ball in, and they hit the bar at 1-0.

Mitch Megginson’s leveller was a thumper. Andy Graham then Colin Nish held it up in the box. Mitch fair belted the lay-off, Sons fans perfectly placed to see it was in the moment he hit it.

Second half we came out much more aggressively and had more attempts on goal in the first minute than in the whole of the first half. Mark Gilhaney’s shot then Jordan Kirkpatrick’s parried effort which Colin Nish ought to have converted rather than poking it over.

Looked like Ian Murray had told them during the interval to press much higher. Whatever, it worked. We started to exploit them on the break. Paul McGinn’s great run up the wing saw him cleverly step inside, the defender took him over inside the box. After some dealy Chris Turner converted. Some turn round.

We began to defend a little too deeply for a bit but a swift counter attack took the ball from our box to theirs via a fine upfield ball to Jordan Kirkpatrick who switched it all the way across to Mark Gilhaney who eveded his man to get clear in the box and looke dset to score but cleverly tuned tha ball across for sub Brian Prunty (on for the mostly ineffectual Colin Nish) to tap it in.

The rest of the game was spent waiting for the final whistle – only a couple of near-close things.

This was a win we needed though. Had we lost things would be looking a bit glum.

*Edited to add:- They’ve changed the stadium’s name again. It’s now the Energy Assets Arena. Oh tempora!

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