Archives » Stephen Grindlay

Alloa Athletic 0-1 Dumbarton

Scottish Cup Round 5, Recreation Park, 8/2/14.

We dominated the first half of this and only had one hairy moment when Stephen Grindlay made a good stop and Paul McGinn didn’t look favourite for the rebound but still managed to scoop it away. The goal was well worked, Scott Agnew did brilliantly to bring the ball down and then hooked it across goal for Colin Rhyming Slang to volley in from close range. Then Chris Kane won himself a penalty – almost a carbon copy of the incident in the recent league game but this one was more definite. Unfortunately his shot was a carbon copy of the previous one and the keeper saved it (while injuring himself in the process.)

The second half was a bit more even but we were really troubled only twice – another great stop from Stephen Grindlay and an absolutely magnificent goal line clearance from Andy Graham after it looked a certain goal. Scott Linton hit the bar with a belter but the game was pretty scruffy and scrappy in the latter stages.

So a Cup quarter-final to look forward to. When was the last time we had one of those? Was it 1979? I don’t remember one since.

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.

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.

Cowdenbeath 2-4 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Central Park, 11/1/14.

A great win, thoroughly deserved, which takes us 17 points clear of Morton and 9 above Cowden. Mind you, the start was a bit iffy.

The first back pass Stephen Grindlay had to deal with he managed to hit an attacker with and it rebounded to another Cowden player who promptly laid it across goal where the scorer couldn’t miss. Amazingly we were level within about a minute after some ping-pong in their box when Colin Rhyming Slang hit the loose ball home.

We dominated the rest of the half and Mitch Megginson finished well after being put through the middle. The defender who tried to take him out got a yellow card for his trouble. In the meantime Chris Kane also got past a last defender but neither the lino nor the ref saw the jersey pull which stopped him getting his shot away.

They had an opportunity to score again but Stephen Grindlay got a foot in the way. Paul McGinn was right through but clipped his shot just over. Their equaliser came when Stephen Grindlay looked to have an easy clutch but somehow let it spill into a Cowden player.

In the second half we scored early, Chris Kane, who looks to have a bit of pace and effort in him, was well placed to finish off a fine passing move.

Thereafter we sat back a bit and allowed Cowden too much of the ball. They had a free-kick which rattled the bar as the sum total of their threat though and we looked dangerous on the counter, which is where the clincher came from, another great piece of interplay resulting in Mitch getting his second.

The only real chance we gave up came right at the end when one of their players was free in the box but couldn’t get his head to it properly.

I must say Colin Rhyming Slang had a good game today, winning a fair number of aerial balls and having some neat touches as well as scoring.

Cowdenbeath 2-3 Dumbarton

SFL Div 1, Central Park, 27/4/13

Firstly, congratulations to all the players and staff at the club. This result means we have finished in a higher position in Scottish Football than at any time since 1987. It is a magnificent achievement for the club. Special thanks to the manager Ian Murray who has dragged us from certain relegation to safety with a game to spare.

Arguably we have overachieved this season. Most Dumbarton fans hoped to finish eighth but expected to be no higher than ninth and in the play-off spot.

I ought to have taken my camera. I’d forgotten last away game was dress-up day. The zombies were good; and the two women with t-shirts that said “Murray’s Angels.”

We had the best of the early play and Stephen Grindlay had nothing to do beyond goal kicks. He hadn’t had a save to make before they scored – and we donated that one with a loose pass in their half allowing a break with three men on two. They had a brief spell in charge after that as they took confidence from the goal but then the game swung in the space of five minutes.

Or was it five seconds? For the equaliser was an absolute belter, Scott Agnew nipping the ball off an opponent’s toe in the centre circle, striding forward into space and chipping the goalkeeper from at least 35 yards. Not quite as good as Paddy Flannery’s along-the-ground strike from a little further out at the same end at the same stadium (too many years ago now) but getting on for it.

The second came from a floated in cross that was on Jim Lister’s head from the moment it left Garry Fleming’s boot and then rapidly into the net.

When the penalty was awarded – right at the extreme corner of the box, a penalty for a foul there is a bit ridiculous really but those are the rules – when Steven McDougall beat his man almost on the bye-line and fell over the trailing leg (he didn’t dive, he couldn’t avoid the outstretched leg and fell as a result) I remarked to Simon Barrow, “We don’t have a good penalty record here.” (I’ve seen too many games.) Simon predicted where it would go though, Scott Agnew unerring from the spot.

The second half was ridiculous.

We must have had about 7 chances to add to the score, Agnew, twice, Garry Fleming, Steven McDougall, substitute Brian Prunty twice – he may have been trying too hard as he didn’t start the game – and Mark Gilhaney all not scoring from good opportunities. To be fair their keeper had three good saves in that lot.

As is the way (as is the Dumbarton way) the last minute or two – where did the added time come from? – were made more nervous for the fans by their second, which came just after the substitution of Alan Lithgow by James Creaney meant a reshuffle in the defence.

The final whistle saw mutual congratulations between the players and fans. A remarkable season will end happily.

I’ll bask in it for now, knowing that I don’t have to face next Saturday with trepidation. Crucial last day games are always the worst.

But next season may be harder. There is likely to be one fewer part-time team in Div 1.

Falkirk 1-3 Dumbarton

SFL Div 1, Falkirk Stadium, 16/4/13

Falkirk impressed me. They looked good on the ball, passed it well – for the most part – and seemed to know what they were doing. However, perhaps due to their exertions on Saturday in the Cup semi-final, they didn’t really create much even if in Lyle Taylor they have the best footballer I’ve seen all season. There’s just something about him that speaks class. Our defence did what it had to, though, and restricted his opportunities.

We had four chances and took three of them, all three very good goals; the second so outstanding Onebrow opined it was the best goal he’d ever seen us score. (He’s young though.)

Falkirk had the best of the match up until we scored, their forwards finding space in our half, but the final ball was never quite right for them. Then almost out of nowhere, a couple of quick passes saw Mark Gilhaney evade his man and place it past the keeper. A few minutes later it got even better as a brilliant passing move with at least three one-twos in tight situations was finished off by Garry Fleming slotting it in.

After that we began to push up too far, left too much space and Falkirk’s goal was coming. It was expertly taken following a fine chip to Lyle Taylor who finished in the only place Stephen Grindlay wouldn’t be able to reach his header.

I began to worry then but we held out till half time.

Stephen Grindlay had a few good saves including a one-on-one with Lyle Taylor in the second half. Taylor also got through once more and was perhaps nudged at just the right time to prevent him getting his shot away cleanly.

Our third chance came when a cross from Steven McDougall was flapped out by the keeper to Mark Gilhaney whose shot was knocked away by a defender on the line. The third goal followed a fine through ball from Chris Turner. Garry Fleming ran on and finished into the corner.

These were three points I wasn’t expecting. When was the last time we beat Falkirk twice at their place in the one season? I thought it might have been in the days of the Spring Cup! (We beat them at Brockville in that competition. I was there. But no. I’ve just checked. Falkirk beat us twice in the league that year. We did do it though in 1980-81.)

One more win should see us stay up.

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.

Dunfermline Athletic 3-4 Dumbarton

SFL Div 1, East End Park, 23/3/13


The scale of this result can be measured by the fact that Dunfermline had won their last 12 games against us and we hadn’t won at East End Park since 1986.

1-0 down at halftime I couldn’t see it coming. We weren’t 2-0 down long enough for me to be too despondent but at 3-1….?

Fortunately Chris Turner hit an absolute belter to make it 3-2 almost straight afterward and that sowed seeds of doubt in the home team.

We actually had a good first ten minutes but fell out of it for the rest of the half apart from Chris Turner having an effort chalked off for offside. I was in line and he looked OK to me. Not the last time the linesman was to be derided.

Their first goal came from when Nick Phinn was pushed off the ball in our half and they ran up and scored. Stephen Grindlay seemed to be beaten very easily.

Their second was dreadful defending. Their forward went through about three half-arsed tackles before hitting it in the corner.

Two minutes later a great passing move saw the ball hit across goal by Paul McGinn and Steven McDougall was free just beyond the back post to score our first against Dunfermline this season.

This was immediately after Jim Lister had come on for Nick Phinn. He made a difference. The home centre backs knew they were in a game then.

Their third was a joke. The through ball that led to it saw two Dunfermline players offside both of whom subsequently touched it, one playing it forward to another while both were well beyond the defenders. The linesman’s flag stayed resolutely down. He made gestures to suggest a defender was playing them on on the far side. Utter rubbish. The rest of the match was filled with Dumbarton fans shouting at him and raising ironic cheers when he finally did flag someone offside. (It’s what we pay our money for.)

The equaliser came from a defender dwelling on the ball and Jim Lister chasing him down, he then picked out Scott Agnew with a cut back, not the more obvious ball across the box. Aggie finished cleverly back the way it had come. Dreamland.

It then got better.

Our fourth was another intricate passing move finished off by Steven McDougall, calmness personified in the box, beating his man before slotting it past Paul Gallacher.

Dunfermline pressed for the few minutes remaining but we always managed to get bodies in the way or tackles in.

Up to today we had only 4 points out of the last 21 and the Murray magic seemed to have gone. Now it’s 7 out of the last 24. Even with Dunfermline’s troubles this must give the lads great confidence.

Games come thick and fast now, starting at home on Wednesday, then two in a row at Hamilton.

Edited to add:- Chris Turner was lucky to stay on the field after his deliberate hack at Josh Falkingham. I know Falkingham’s an annoying wee so-and-so but serious foul play is serious foul play no matter who it’s committed against.

Raith Rovers 3-2 Dumbarton

SFL Div 1, Stark’s Park, 16/2/13

An opportunity missed here, as we really should have got something from this game. Still, we were fielding a makeshift defence, including a 17-year old loanee at centre back.

The pitch was in a dreadful state, being heavily sanded, which affected the play at times but that was the same for both teams.

This was my first look at the Ian Murray galvanised team and we played some good stuff, knocked the ball about well – notwithstanding the pitch – and created good opportunities.

We were the better side in the first half and ought to have gone one up when debutant Nick Phinn delayed too long over a rebound and allowed the keeper to get into position to block his effort. Brian Prunty also blazed one over when he hurried his shot.

They scored when a man down as their defender had to go off to get a head wound bandaged up – bizarrely Jim Lister, also injured in the same incident, was not allowed by the referee to come back onto the pitch long after he was able to do so – our defence was drawn towards the ball and the back post was unguarded. Apart from that they had only one effort on target well saved by Stephen Grindlay.

Big Jim might have had a penalty if he’d gone down after the keeper caught him but he stayed on his feet, at the same time being forced wide, and the chance evaporated.

Prunty’s next effort was more measured. After receiving a great pass from Jim Lister he rifled it in off the post with almost the last kick of the half.

The second half was evens for a while. They scored again with a drive from the edge of the box, before Prunty equalised once more with a fine conversion after an assist from the bandaged centre back.

Raith had more of the last quarter but the killer goal was so late there was no coming back.

17 year old debutant Stuart Urquhart was not as raw as he might have been. Nick Phinn also had a reasonable debut (but should have scored.)

Earlier in the season with a makeshift team we’d have been pummelled. This felt like – it was – a point dropped.

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.

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