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Dumbarton 0-1 Falkirk

SPFL Tier 2, The Rock, 6/5/17.

Well; it’s done now.

Next season Sons will still be playing in Scottish football’s second tier. That will be six years in a row – a magnificent achievement for a part-time club.

But it was close this time. Never before has it gone down to the last day, never before have we survived only on goal difference. It’s an indication of how difficult the task is year on year. And once again we have finished above at least one full-time club. We are punching above our weight.

Making it all the more sweet is that we have been the beneficiaries of what the Scotsman inquired might have been the worst transfer of the season. It was in fact the best. Lewis Vaughan’s goals contributed directly to six points in our efforts to stay up.

But survive we have and congratulations to the management team and players.
It’s a roller-coaster ride following Sons at the best of times. In this division wins are hard to come by and few enough per season. When they do occur the joy is that much more delicious.

It will all end one day but while trips to big grounds like Ibrox, Tynecastle or Easter Road are not on the agenda for next season there is still (maybe) Tannadice and the likes of St Mirren and East End Parks to go to and the possible prospect of rare games for us in Inverness.

But football doesn’t stand still. The worrying starts again in a couple of months time. Less if you fret about the manager’s future and summer signings.

Dundee United 2-1 Dumbarton

SPFL Tier 2, Tannadice Park, 22/10/16.

This was an unusual occurence. The last time I was at Tannadice to see the Sons (or at all) was over thirty years ago. (We did play there in the 1995-6 season but I didn’t go. A combination of the fact that that was during the time where we went a whole year without a win and my family was quite young.)

The end result was the same. We still haven’t won in Dundee since 1958.

They had a beginning flurry – Alan Martin with a superb double save – then we had a great chance, Garry Fleming stabbing the ball from close in but the keeper made a great save. Then Robert Thomson sent a header towards the post area which the keeper again clawed away and David Smith couldn’t connect properly with a ball that came to him after a corner. Martin again did the needful to keep out a free-kick.

The best bit about the first half was the seethe from the home support at their forwards continually being flagged offside. With their pace there was no need to even be close to an offside position.

At half-time I was slightly disappointed that we weren’t ahead.

The blows came equally spaced around the hour mark. Mark Docherty misjudged a header from a corner and it flew into the net. Their second was also from a corner. Our players were slightly late to react to Willo Flood running up from his halfway line. His free header across goal was turned goalwards but Alan Martin saved it. Unfortunately the rebound fell to one of them who couldn’t miss.

Despite a two goal lead they still couldn’t make any impact on us from open play. We did though, sub Andy Stirling’s cross deflecting to a perfectly placed Robert Thomson to bundle the ball below the keeper. They looked a bit nervous after that but we couldn’t make any more clear chances. Even so Sam Stanton was obviously held back when going through but no free-kick was forthcoming. Not the only odd decision by the ref in the game.

So our players scored two goals, theirs one. We scored from open play they didn’t. The team performance was good but we shouldn’t beat a team like Dundee United at their place. Still, it felt like at least a point lost.

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