Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Raith Rovers (2) v Dumbarton (1)

Saturday 17th January 2015, Kick Off 3pm

SPFL Championship

A STRONG performance in the second half was not enough for Dumbarton to rescue an away game against Raith Rovers that ended in a dispiriting 2-1 defeat.

“I was disappointed to lose today, said boss Ian Murray afterwards. “We deserved a draw, at least.”

The match got off to a slow start in increasingly cold conditions at Stark's Park, with Dumbarton attacking the home end.

New signing Stuart Findlay, in the Sons defence, had a busy start, with an effective series of headers and clearances early on.

The first strike on goal was for Dumbarton, as Scott Agnew drove the ball wide from the edge of the area.

Ross Callachan had a pop from range for the hosts shortly after, but it went over the bar. He had another attempt that went out for a throw-in just a minute later.

Then Martin Scott beat Danny Rogers in the Sons goal to a cross, before heading off target.

For Dumbarton, Garry Fleming rounded Rovers' 'keeper David McGurn. However, he found that the angle was too tight to get a shot on target.

Nonetheless, Fleming still won a corner, which big Andy Graham headed straight at McGurn.

Raith came perilously close on several occasions. They hit the post through Mark Stewart before Rogers collected the rebound. Then Ryan Conroy curled a free kick just wide of Sons' left-hand post.

In an unhappy development, Garry Fleming's picked up his sixth yellow card of the season, and now faces suspension for two weeks.

On 28 minutes Grant Anderson slipped past Dumbarton's Scott Linton and Lee Mair, before being brought down by Chris Turner inside the area for a penalty.

Up stepped Conroy to open the scoring with a well-taken spot-kick, which left Rogers with no real chance.

Three minutes later it was 2-0 to Rovers. Callachan went wide, shaking off Sons defenders, before before clipping a ball in for an unmarked Anderson to heads home at the back post.

Dumbarton looked stunned, and so did their band of supporters.

The visitors nearly pulled one back shortly after the restart, but Agnew's cross missed both Mitch Megginson and Andy Graham.

The half time whistle left a mountain to climb for Sons in the second half.

When the game got underway again, Dumbarton started to look brighter straight away. A header from Megginson missed the target narrowly.

However, Raith broke away after a few minutes of Sons pressure and looked as if they would make it three. Somehow they swept the ball wide.

The away team started to dominate play and engage in some good build-up moves without actually creating any definitive chances.

Archie Campbell cut in from the left and fired in a shot, but it missed the far corner.

Danny Rogers made tow vital saves from close range to keep Dumbarton in the game.

Gaffer Ian Murray made his first (and only) change of the afternoon on 77 minutes, when Scott Taggart came on for Scott Linton.

It did not seem the move to really change the texture of the match. Nonetheless, Sons stepped up the pace and variety of their forward movement, and began to create some hope that they would pull one back.

The optimism was rewarded on 81 minutes, as a shot from the impressive Scott Agnew was parried by McGurn in the Raith goal, only for Megginson to be on hand to push the rebound firmly home for 2-1.

It looked as if Sons were destined to equalize when Fleming put the Rovers' 'keeper under pressure from a cross and Megginson was on hand to smash the ball in – but agonisingly his strike cannoned off the bar when it looked easier to score.

Dumbarton came so close to grabbing leveler at the death. However, David McGurn pulled off a wonder save to claw the ball away high in the corner, before the rebound was cleared off the line.

That was Sons' last chance. The defeat leaves them still in seventh position in the SPFL Championship. It adds pressure to next Saturday's encounter with foot-of-the-table Livingston at the Rock.

Dumbarton: Rogers; Van Zanten, Linton (Taggart 76), Graham, Mair, Turner, Agnew, Megginson, Fleming, Findlay, Campbell. Subs: Ewings; Nish, McCallum, Whitefield.

Raith Rovers: McGurn; Thomson, Watson, Hill, Anderson (McKay 87), Stewart (Nade 79), Elliot, Scott (Moon 72), Callachan, Conroy, McKeown. Subs: Cuthbert; Fox, Vaughan, Barr.

Referee: John McKendrick. Assistants: Gavin Harris, David Doig.

Attendance: 1,475 (Sons travelling support c150).

Match Highlights.

Simon Barrow