Archives » Mark Stewart

Inverness C T 5-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, 14/4/18.

We started the game well enough, scored the opener – Andy Stirling skinning his man and cutting the ball back beautifully for Grant Gallacher to thump it into the net – but we didn’t hold on to it long enough. The equaliser was a great strike, but the guy took the ball up in midfield with no-one near him and no-one closing him down.

If we’d held on till half-time maybe things might have been different, but just before the break Craig Barr inexplicably switched off and didn’t chase the ball allowing Nathan Austin in to round Scott Gallacher and roll it into the net.

In the second half we fell right out of it and they started to walk through us. We looked tired. I suppose, as I always suspected they would, games have caught up with us. It’s not really a surprise to me that our first bad winter in this division has coincided with our worst performance in it. And the postponements due to the Challenge Cup run haven’t helped.

The introduction of Liam Burt and Mark Stewart improved us – why wasn’t Burt on from the start? He always looked capable of fashioning something and Mark Stewart was a bigger threat than Calum Gallagher had been – but we were three and four down by the time the subs were made.

At least we looked a bit of a goal threat for the early part of the game. The play-offs might be a stretch too far though.

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

Dumbarton 2-1 Stranraer

Scottish Challenge Cup*, Third Round, The Rock, 6/10/17.

An odd night statistically. I’m sure that’s the first time we’ve won three Challenge Cup ties in one season and it marks four home games in a row we’ve won 2-1 – and the away game in that sequence was lost by the same score. And we don’t usually beat Stranraer.

I must say Stranraer turned out for this in an ugly black strip with horrible luminous yellow flashings and socks.

We should have had this dead and buried after ten minutes. At least four great chances in that time. Mark Stewart charged down a defender’s forward pass and set up Calum Gallagher who didn’t shoot first time but instead dollied round another defender and his subsequent shot was saved by the keeper’s legs. Then a Chris McLaughlin cross gave Calum Gallagher a free header and he didn’t get anything like enough on it. The goal came after a fine driving run into the box from David Wilson to set up Craig Barr who still had a lot to do but did it superbly. A minute or so later Dimitris Froxylias hit a chance over the bar. Pretty much it for the half except for Scott Gallacher going off to be replaced by Jamie Ewings and us letting Stranraer have too much possession.

Second half followed the pattern of the latter part of the first but we always looked comfortable. Scott Agnew (formerly of this parish) pinged over a few great cross-fields balls with that left foot of his but was otherwise uninfluential.

The game was all but over when Tom Walsh skinned the full back yet again and put over a beautiful cross. Mark Stewart showed Calum Gallagher how it’s done.

Froxy did track back more than I’ve seen him but when on the ball occasionally tried too much. He was perhaps a bit too cute with a late shot which was deflected then cleared off the line.

They had a couple of moments from corners where the ball flashed across the box but were nowhere near clinical and only two shots, both long range, on target in all of normal time both of which Jamie Ewings dealt with easily. Three minutes stoppage time was announced and I thought we might actually get a clean sheet. But another poorly given away and defended corner led to them scoring with the second last touch of the game.

It’s the first time I’ve seen us win this season, since late January at Raith in fact.

I’m glad we’re not in the third tier. I thought Stranraer were brutal (football fan speak for not very entertaining.)

*Irn Bru Cup if you must.

Dumbarton 2-1 Brechin City

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 16/9/2017.

A welcome first three points. Even this early in the season this had the feel of a must win game. (Certainly mustn’t lose.) We have to look to be taking points away from the only other part-time team in the division.

Mind you when I turned on the TV to look at the latest score at 4.30 we were losing. At least we turned it round with two late goals but from the looks of it them going down to ten men might have aided us (though I have to say it doesn’t usually.)

So it seems there is a point to Mark Stewart after all and our Dimitris came up with the winner again.

Falkirk 1-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Falkirk Stadium, 12/8/17.

Now this was a good point.

Falkirk may be below us at the moment but will undoubtedly finish much higher than we do. Plus they were astonishingly profligate in front of goal in the last few minutes. And given Morton’s result today it looks as if last week’s was a good point too.

Falkirk had most of the ball early on but didn’t do much with it. When we got it we weren’t particularly threatening either but all that changed when Craig Barr muscled onto a ball in midfield and fed David Wilson who played a great ball behind the middle last defender which Alistair Roy collected and proceeded to thump past the goalkeeper.

We do score some belters at this ground, Lewis Vaughan and Andy Stirling last season, Mitch Megginson in one of Ian Murray’s seasons. (And a few scramblers, Chris Kane and Archie Campbell among those.)

The eqauliser came when Sam Wardrop* got done out wide. The ensuing cross wasn’t picked up by our defence and Nathan Austin was trying to make space in the area when Mark Stewart made contact with his back. Silly. It gives the forward the chance to go over and the ref the chance to make the decision. Miles Hippolyte put it away.

Dougie Hill hit the bar from a corner but we spent the rest of the first half and most of the second standing off and allowing them the ball. A few close shaves and a couple of saves from Scott Gallacher – one with his face – meant we were still in with the chance of a point, though. The biggest cheer of the second half was ironic, when the referee finally gave a foul for Christian Nade who had been getting clambered over all afternoon without reward – at one point clattered into with malice aforethought but the challenge was deemed legal.

One point almost became three when a Nade flick-on fell to Stewart in the area but his shot was tipped over by the keeper.

There was still time for Falkirk to waste two good opportunities by screwing the ball wide, though.

My main thought during and after this game was what is the point of Mark Stewart? For the most part his positioning is decidedly odd. He huffs and puffs but that’s about all. His use of the ball was woeful at times.

We didn’t help ourselves at times with some poor passing but that may have been tired legs. We’ve got a midweek game in the Cup we never win in during the week. I hope the manager puts out a team composed of players who haven’t been getting a game; especially as its against a Colts team – who should never be near a senior competition.

*Edited to add. I see from SonsTV it was David Wilson who got done.

free hit counter script