Archives » Nicky Devlin

Dunfermline Athletic 4-0 Dumbarton

SFL Div 1, East End Park, 24/11/12

I was going to say no complaints, but…. see below.

I was going to say the better team won but… the faster, stronger, fitter team won. Does that make them better? I suppose it does. They were in the Premier last season after all and we were in Div 2.

We were okay for a while; even forcing their keeper to make more saves than Stephen Grindlay had up till their first goal. I was in line and thought Josh Falkingham was offside but he was also totally unmarked. The game was then effectively all over.

I shouldn’t have said to GordyBrow when the teams were announced that they hadn’t given Josh Falkingham’s full name. He replied, “I suppose that’s ‘diver’ followed by something rude.” I said, “Yes.”

The second goal was a joke. James Creaney failed to cut out a ball to the winger and then the cross wasn’t collected by Grindlay – he’s always been terrible for spilling low crosses – and came off Andy Graham’s leg to screw towards the line. He just failed to clear it before it crossed. Exactly the sort of thing that happens to you when you’re way adrift at the bottom of the league.

So here’s the complaint. In the second half I’d thought it was Falkingham who ran through one on one with Stephen Grindlay, pushed the ball past him and fell down. From where I was it certainly looked a dive. Falkingham is famous for it. It turns out it was Joe Cardle who couldn’t stay on his feet. Whoever, the ref gave the penalty and showed Grindlay a red card to boot. Down to ten men and a penalty to come…

I say again; when a penalty is given, in what sense has a goal scoring opportunity been prevented? A penalty and a red card and a goal is a triple punishment. Too many times does something like this spoil a game. It didn’t affect the outcome here, Dunfermline were always going to win, but often it can.

Jim Lister was withdrawn to allow Jamie Ewings to face the pen which he almost got to. 3-0 down with ten men against the joint league leaders was only going to end one way.

Curiously we played better after that. Onebrow opined Dunfermline had stopped playing. But we were left cruelly exposed whenever we sallied upfield.

Their fourth was a peach. Due to the man shortage Joe Cardle was one on one on Nicky Devlin with no extra cover, duly took it past him and curled a beauty behind Jamie Ewings into the corner.

It seems we don’t have the personnel to compete effectively against the better teams in this division. (And the not so good teams too?) There was a litany of weak challenges, hurried touches, misplaced passes and stretched interceptions. The players appear shorn of confidence, not wanting to take time on the ball. Chris Turner was an exception to this last, as was Steven McDougall when he came on (but like at Cowdenbeath he carried it too far and was crowded out.)

Ian Murray’s got a big job on.

Livingston 1-1 Dumbarton

Scottish League Cup, Round 2, Almondvale Stadium, 28/8/12

(3-2 after extra time)

Well, this game showed we can at least live with a Div 1 side.

In fact on chances created we did well enough to win it. We hit the post twice within a second in the second half.

To begin with, though, their nippy midfield was skipping through ours as if they weren’t there. They looked confident on the ball and their passes found their men. We struggled to contain them but came onto a game as the half wore on and started to make chances. Mark Gilhaney’s long range shot was spilled by the keeper and scrambled away, Jim Lister was through and squared it to Brian Prunty but it hit off the defender’s leg. Then an inch perfect chip from Scott Agnew allowed Jim Lister in on the keeper. 0-1.

Not two minutes later we conceded a needless penalty. Nicky Devlin should have had a shout to hoof the ball but former Son Iain Russell nipped in front of him and got shoved. He converted the spot kick. Had he not, we might have won 1-0.

The game opened up a bit in the second half but Stephen Grindlay dealt with anything that came through. With more composure in front of goal, Brian Prunty shot hurriedly at one point, we could have nicked it. And Nicky Devlin’s cut in and shot that hit the post for Jim Lister to fire against the same post off the rebound maybe showed luck wasn’t with us. Scott Agnew had a couple of long range efforts, making the keeper save one of them.

Extra time (which we didn’t need with an important league game on Saturday) and the full time nature of Livingston might have made the difference. Their second looked to have been avoided by a Stephen Grindlay save but the rebound was driven past him. Even so our man on the line ought to have cleared but shinned it.

Their second was well worked and we should have been out of it. But we plugged away and finally after a good move, and two saves from their keeper off it, Mark Gilhaney slotted it in. We might have equalised from a header off a Scott Agnew free kick but it flew past.

Positives, then. 1-1 at 90 mins. (I’d have preferred a league point.) Scott Agnew showed a return to form. Jim Lister was a thorn in their defence all night – a good shout for man of the match.

The lads ought to take some confidence from this.

East Fife 0-6 Dumbarton

SFL Div 2, New Bayview Stadium, 27/8/11.

We don’t get days like this very often. Utter dreamland.

At half time it was 4-0 going on a basketball score. Dumbarton were totally dominant. I don’t know what the corner count was but we were in double figures. Whether East Fife were suffering from their exertions against Dunfermline in midweek is problematic (and they also lost a midfielder early on due to a reckless challenge on his part) but they were never at the races here.

The first came from the selfless Pat Walker chasing down a hopelessly lost cause and forcing a corner which was pushed out on the opposite side for another. The Fife defence switched off, Mark Gilhaney took it short to Martin McBride who curled it deliciously into the far corner of the net. The next followed a flick on by Pat Walker from another corner, the ball broke to Prunty. 2-0. The third (from another corner?) was another case of the ball falling to Prunty. The fourth was headered by Jamie Lyden from yet another corner – from the right this time. It squirmed under the keeper, the only one of the six he was at fault for.

I cannot remember when the last time was we were 4-0 up away from home at half time. Neither could the rest of the – actually rather disbelieving, though delirious – Sons fans around me. It may never have happened before.

Then came something else I’ve not seen before. Training apparatus was set out in the interval and the team came out early to do a session.

Half-Time Training Session

This was, I guessed, a response to the fact that in the previous two games we had lost early goals in the second half.

There was a small flurry by the Fife on the restart but it didn’t come to much. Apart from a little understandable looseness at times given the huge lead we had, normal service was resumed thereafter and again we carved the E Fife defence apart at will. Over elaboration, by Mark Gilhaney in particular, meant no more goals for a while. Then Jamie Lyden came into contact with an opponent in our box. It was soft – though I’d have screamed for it at the other end – and the ref may have felt sorry for the Fife. But so abject were they Jamie Ewings saved the penalty.

Prunty finally got his hat-trick before adding a fourth after a great pass from sub Kieran Brannan following a fine run.

This is probably the first time since the mid 1950s a Son has scored four in an away match. In that famous game – Arbroath 5 Dumbarton 4 – Hughie Gallacher scored all four of ours while Dave Easson got all of Arbroath’s.

It may seem strange that, despite his four goals, Bryan Prunty isn’t my man of the match. But Pat Walker deserves it for his tireless running and getting battered by the defence every time he challenged for a high ball. Prunty actually had quite a few more chances which he hit straight at the keeper.

But overall the whole team was a success – no exceptions. With better final balls and less elaboration we might have had a rugby score.

Jamie Lyden is enough to make you forget Nicky Devlin, plus Jamie has goals in him. Jamie Ewings had only one hairy moment when he played the ball just a little too far round the charging attacker on a back pass but he managed to get rid of it quickly enough.

After our somewhat shaky start the boys should not lack confidence now.

Livingston 2-0 Dumbarton

League goals against predictor:- 140

SFL Div 2, Almondvale Stadium,* 6/11/10

League goals for predictor:- 18.

The game was played on a pitch that in one area was very heavy – all but waterlogged – making it difficult for everyone concerned.

I said at the start we’d have to score to get a draw as Grindlay was in goal and he doesn’t keep clean sheets. We didn’t – either of them. Neither did he.

Yet to lose 2-0 to the team at the top of the division is no disgrace, I suppose. To lose 1-0 would have been better. We were on track for that and – with a bit of luck, going downhill with a following wind – might even have equalised. As soon as former Son, Iain Russell, came on as substitute for Livi, though, what then transpired was inevitable.

Believe it or not, at the time it was against the run of play. We were pressing, had been doing so relatively strongly, but a misplaced pass – the story of Dumbarton’s game actually – saw Livi break away. Russell got it out on their right and proceeded to waltz through almost our entire defence before putting it past Grindlay.

Now, I’d seen the shot coming for all the while he’d had the ball and it was never going to be swept back across goal yet somehow Grindlay was still beaten at his nearer post.

Their first was a free header from a corner. That should not happen. I was up the other end (the away fans were crammed into a small section of the South Stand) so can’t say if Grindlay should have come for it or not.

Loan signing Craig (or is it Calum?) McLeish looked impressive first half but it only took him 45 minutes to descend to our level. Young Nicky Devlin showed up brightly on the right hand side, and was good defensively too.

We’re still a poor team. A draw would have flattered us but Livi didn’t look much better – certainly not a team with almost a whole division between us and them.

There were, though, signs of improvement. We looked nothing like the desperate side that was so poor at Stenhousemuir. A bit better decision making (some decisions at all at certain times would be good) and passing to team mates instead of to the opposition and we’ll get somewhere. With Derek Carcary back we might even have a goal threat.

*Like The Rock, Almondvale Stadium has been sponsored but Almondvale’s new name is utterly ridiculous. I am not going to dignify it by mentioning it further.

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