Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (2) v Falkirk (1)

Saturday 15th February 2014, Kick Off 3pm

SPFL Championship

ANOTHER resolute performance from Dumbarton was deservedly rewarded by victory over SPFL Championship contenders Falkirk at the Bet Butler Stadium.

The win means that the men from the Rock remain undefeated in the league in 2014, extending their overall unbeaten run to seven games – while also remaining the highest scoring team in the division at present, with 42 goals.

"We were disappointing in the first half," conceded Sons' boss Ian Murray after the game. "But fair credit to our players. They dominated the second period. We fought to the end and got a wee bit of luck with a deflected goal."

As the match got underway, the Bairns where soon dominating possession and launching a series of measured attacks on the Dumbarton area.

Mark Millar, Craig Sibbald, Rory Loy and Phil Roberts all had attempts on goal within the first 12 minutes, the latter three efforts requiring important stops from busy Sons' goalie Stephen Grindlay.

At the other end a free kick from Scott Agnew more than 30 yards out was tipped over the bar by Falkirk 'keeper Michael McGovern. The resulting corner was then safely cleared away.

Meanwhile, it took some great defending from Jordan Kirkpatrick to stop they determined Roberts when he got in behind the Dumbarton at line.

In the middle of the park Sons were struggling to hold onto possession, while Falkirk were given too much time on the ball during much of the first half hour.

In fairness, Dumbarton were defending well and closing down spaces in and around the area. But it was perhaps inevitable that at least one lapse would occur, and although the Bairns were proving less than clinical in the box, when the Sons mistake came it was ruthlessly punished.

Mark Beck had far too much space to thread a ball past a retreating Dumbarton defence. Rory Loy grabbed hold of the ball as Grindlay rushed off his line, just beating the keeper to it as he right-footed his shot in from the left side of the box into the corner of the net.

Immediately after the restart Sons could have been straight back into the game. Agnew got in behind the Falkirk defence, but McGovern did well to block the resulting shot with his legs.

The visiting side threatened again. Grindlay made a terrific save from Beck, heading in from close range. The ball rebounded dangerously but somehow went wide of the post from less than a yard out.

McGovern also impressed by denying Paul McGinn after he made an overlapping run, picked up the ball from Mark Gilhaney and attempted to slot it home.

There were no further chances before the whistle blew for half time and both sides had a chance to regroup following a crowded first 45 minutes.

Dumbarton got the game underway again for the second half and straightaway began to apply pressure on the visitors' defence.

Indeed the opening period of play following the restart was almost a direct reversal of what has happened in the first half, with Falkirk sitting back and absorbing wave after wave of assault.

'Keeper McGovern was called upon to parry away a menacing Scott Agnew shot before Mitch Megginson put in a volley that was deflected fractionally wide. It was a case of 'so close but so far' for Dumbarton.

Mark McLaughlin, booked moments earlier for a robust challenge on Roberts, then came close again for Sons when he got onto the end of a long throw from Scott Linton and flicked it narrowly past the post.

The match was turning into an end-to-end affair, with both teams looking dangerous on the break.

But it was Dumbarton who struck next, just beyond the hour, drawing level through a glancing header from Megginson into the bottom corner of the net after Colin Nish had put in a fine looping cross with his weaker foot.

The home supporters immediately began to get behind their team again, urging them forward in the hope of grasping the advantage – Sons having fought their way manfully back into a match which could easily have slipped away from them.

Impressive loanee Chris Kane brought the ball down and turned swiftly in the area to fire in a shot. However his attempt was well blocked.

The momentum was clearly with Sons at this point. Free kicks won by Andy Graham, Mitch Megginson and Jordan Kirkpatrick respectively kept Falkirk under the cosh.

Then on 73 minutes came the goal that put Dumbarton into the lead and proved the eventual winner. It was Kirkpatrick who fired into the bottom corner from 20 yards with a viciously swerving ball struck with the outside of his foot. It took a slight deflection on the way, and therefore gave McGovern little chance – though the big stopper certainly looked frustrated.

The roar of approval from Sons fans signalled a thrilling finale, as the home side went in search of a third goal while seeking to secure their lines, and Falkirk looked for an equaliser.

Gaffer Ian Murray made the first of two late substitutions when Michael Miller came on to replace Colin Nish on 81 minutes, before Megginson gave way to Steven McDougall on 85 minutes.

Kane fired just wide for Dumbarton from 18 yards out as the tannoy announcement came through that Jordan Kirkpatrick had deservedly been named Sonstrust Man of the Match.

Sons held on effectively for the remainder of the game to claim a vital three points with their 2–1 win against one of the SPFL Championship title contenders.

It was an exciting game of football overall, with sheer doggedness eventually winning out for Dumbarton, while Falkirk were left to rue their several missed opportunities.

Falkirk slip to third in the table and are now six points off leaders Dundee. Sons are in a highly creditable fifth place.

Dumbarton: Grindlay, McGinn, Linton, Kirkpatrick, McLaughlin, Graham, Gilhaney, Agnew, Kane, Nish (Miller 81), Megginson (McDougall 85). Subs Not Used: Smith, Thomson, Murray, Ewings (gk).

Falkirk: McGovern, Duffie, Kingsley, Millar, Vaulks, McCracken, Roberts (Leahy 85), Sibbald (Shepherd 84), Beck, Loy, McGrandles. Subs Not Used: Durojaiye, Flynn, Bowman, Blair, Chalmers.

Referee: Greg Aitken. Assistants: George Drummond, Stephen Graham.

Simon Barrow