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Dumbarton 0-1 St Mirren U21

Scottish Challenge Cup,* The Rock, 13/8/19.

So. Humiliation as predicted.

This surely beats even losing to Bonnyrigg Rose for a terrible result.

This Sons team could be about the worst we’ve ever had and the players’ heads must be seriously down. Goodness knows how we can turn the season round. It’ll be some miracle if we do. I am seriously depressed.

I’ve been planning on going to Peterhead on Saturday ever since the fixtures came out. I doubt I will enjoy the experience.

*One consolation. I’ll not need to call this the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup again, this season at least.

Falkirk 6-0 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 3, Falkirk Stadium, 10/8/19.

Two games in, two defeats, no goals scored, seven conceded.

That’s a good start isn’t it?

Looks like Sons’ fans fears for the league season were well founded.

Tuesday night’s game at the Rock against St Mirren under 21s in the Challenge Cup* could be another humiliation.

What Peterhead will do to us at their place next Saturday also doesn’t bear thinking about.

Right now I’m even wondering if we will outdo (underdo?) Brechin’s record low points total of two seasons ago.

It’s the hope that kills you.

*Now the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Challenge Cup

Challenge Cup 2019-2020

Sons’ opponents in the new season’s Challenge Cup* will be either St Mirren Colts or East Kilbride, who play against each other the previous week for the privilege of meeting us.

At least it’s a home game for us, but given our record in this competition under its various names – season 2017-2018 notwithstanding – it will most likely be the only one.

*Now apparently sponsored by Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer.

We’ll Always Have Oswestry

Sons have parted company with manager Stevie Aitken.

I can’t say it comes as a surprise. The fans forum site Pie and Bovril (aka the Pie Shop) has been alive for weeks with people clamouring either for him to resign or be sacked.

Results this season have been so disappointing, notwithstanding a long injury list, that it was almost inevitable he would have to go.

Many blamed his odd decisions for the loss in the play-off final in May and a perception that he was wedded to defensive football certainly didn’t help his cause.

He did keep us up in Tier 2 for an extra two seasons with quite a few notable wins against “big” teams and got us to the Challenge Cup final last term but again his negative approach to that game annoyed many fans.

The high point of his tenure though was the semi-final game against the New Saints at Oswestry. Being there for that was an incredible experience – even if for the first hour it felt like purgatory. Two great strikes more or less out of the blue saved us that day and rescued a poor season.

Now his tenure as manager ends even if he lasted longer than many at the Rock.

So long, Stevie, and thanks for (some of) the memories. It was time for you to go though.

Challenge Cup Comes Round Again

June 26th and the draw for the new season’s Challenge Cup (Irn Bru Cup) has been made.

It almost seems like yesterday we travelled to McDiarmid Park for last season’s final.

I doubt we’ll be making a similar trip this season since it looks like our usual performance in this competition (a first round knockout) is on the cards again.

We’ve got Morton at home: a team against whom our record is miserable.

Dumbarton 0-1 Alloa Athletic

(aet 0-2.)

SPFL Tier 2 Play-off Final, Second Leg, The Rock, 13/5/18.

Well; we all knew that the good times wouldn’t last forever.

Yet for 93 minutes of this we were still a Tier 2 team.

Then all of a sudden no longer. That it was such a scruffy goal only put the knife in even more.

But after that I knew it was hopeless. Our defensive substitutions meant that there was no way we would be conjuring a goal in extra time. Our only hope was hanging on for penalties and that was unlikely given the momentum was against us and Alloa would be lifted and us deflated.

And the final nail in the coffin was driven in by an ex-Son in Jordan Kirkpatrick. Cracking goal though.

If only….

Kevin Nisbet had directed his header downwards more – or even to the near post rather than back across the keeper….

Andy Stirling had kept that rebound chance down instead of skying it….

Liam Burt had taken the ball for a walk to the corner flag instead of trying to score in injury time….

Alloa had scored from that double chance in the first, not the last minute. We’d have had to come out a bit and at least try to score. Froxy might even have been given a run-out….

We’d made the most of our breaks up the park in the second half last Wednesday….

Craig Barr hadn’t been suspended again. Dougie Hill looked much less comfortable than he did against Arbroath and Andy Dowie seemed affected too….

We actually had a striker….

Manager Stevie Aitken was not so wedded to defensive tactics….

It was a game too far really. We looked leggy and inhibited. All those catch-up games and the Challenge Cup run had taken their toll.

And so the great adventure comes to an end after six years.

Back to proper football grounds again next season. Ones where you can stand, not sit, that you can walk round to the other end at half-time, where you’re not stuck in a wee corner of the main stand. (New Broomfield, Stark’s Park and possibly Ochilview excepted.*)

We’ve had seven promotions in my lifetime. And now eight relegations.

I wonder how long it will be before we get promoted again.

And from which division.

*Edited to add:- and New Bayview. I’d forgotten it’s a one stand effort like ours at the Rock. Only the Angus grounds for the old-style experience, then. I can’t see me making it down to Stranraer.

Dumbarton 0-1 Inverness C T

Scottish Challenge Cup (Irn Bru Cup) Final, McDiarmid Park, 24/3/18.

I’m a bit deflated at the moment as I’m sure you can imagine. Football can be such a cruel game.

I made the fatal mistake of beginning to hope when Scott Gallacher made the penalty save with about seven minutes to go. But to lose it in the last gasp of injury time was harsh; especially on the players who’d worked so hard.

We had the better of the early exchanges, ranking up several corners (I can’t remember them getting even one in the whole game) and having a shot on target without really troubling the keeper. More worryingly they came into it towards half-time by which time the on target count had become 2-2.

They had more of the second half and did make Scott Gallacher handle the ball a few times. The nearest we came was with a Danny Handling shot which the keeper held. I noticed today that Handling has a terrible habit of turning back with the ball. Who was it back in the day who did that all the time. Paul Quinn? Robert Russell? Not Russell I think, much further back than him.

After his debut for Cyprus yesterday (the Sons’ first full international player since 1932) Froxy came on as a late sub but it was too late for him to affect the game much. The only free-kick he could attempt was from way too far out even for him.

Here’s a photo of my match ticket:-

Irn Bru Cup Final Ticket

Before entering the stand I took a few photos of the ground as it’s the first time I’ve been there. Through a frosted glass window I caught Sons’ manager Stevie Aitken in the dressing room probably trying to get a signal on his phone:-

Stevie Aitken

I’m proud of the lads, they did well. But I’m gutted – for them and for me.

They’ll need to raise themselves for Tuesday night’s game now. At least most of the players who were unavailable for today should be in the squad.

This cup run has probably ruined our league season what with all the postponements. We don’t have a midweek free now until the last week of the season.

But when will be the next time Sons are in a national Cup Final?

Buzzing

Today’s the day!

Cup Final day.

Cup Final Programme cover

I’ve been okay during the week but began to get nervous last night.

‘Mon the Sons!

The Road to the Final

From Sons TV’s You Tube channel, a compilation video of the games in this year’s Challenge Cup.

Tickets!

Tickets are now available for the Challenge (Irn Bru) Cup Final.

In That Number

Some have even been purchased!

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