Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (4) v QoS (2)

Tuesday 12th April 2016, Kick Off 7.45pm

Ladbrokes Championship

DIG in — or dig a big hole for yourself.

That was what was facing Dumbarton at half time, trailing 2-1 to Queen of the South.

And in the second half, they dug in — as in really dug in. This vital game in hand over Livingston did not just end in victory; it was won out of the park.

Christian Nade opened the scoring, but Iain Russell and Alex Harris put the Doonhamers in front. At that point, the gap between Sons and Livi would stay at two points with only one game more to play.

They had to deliver. So they did. Tom Walsh got his first goal for the club, Nade headed his second of the game, and Garry Fleming sealed it from the spot.

In real style, Dumbarton ended the evening with clear daylight between themselves and second-bottom spot.

They are now five points ahead. By the time the BBC Alba cameras stop rolling on Saturday, it could be eight points with victory over Raith Rovers.

Should that be the case, Sons will seal a place in next season's Championship with a third consecutive home win against St Mirren on Saturday, April 23.

They may only need to win one of those two games if Queens can stop Livingston winning at Palmerston while Dumbarton play the Buddies.

But when you have lost only once at home in 12 outings, why not aim to do the job yourself?

With Sons' home record, they were confident going into this game, despite not having beaten Queens at home in the league for 24 years.

And the perfect start was made after five minutes when Nade intercepted a slack goal kick and ran in to slide the ball home.

However, the visitors, although playing for nothing, fought back. Jamie Ewings stopped Mark Millar's free kick from creeping in at the far post, before Dale Hilson was put through only for the keeper to save at close range.

On 25 minutes Fleming had almost an identical chance to Hilson, but had the same result, as the keeper blocked his effort.

And two minutes later Queens were level. A free kick was only headed to the edge of the area where Russell was waiting to thrash home.

Then right on half time, with the match becoming a scrap, a big blow came Sons' way.

Harris saw off the challenge of the defence on the edge of the area and fired home his third goal against Sons in two games.

The response in the second half now had to be good. Within five minutes of it, Sons delivered one emphatically.

Two minutes was all they needed to level after the restart. A visiting defender's attempted clearance instead broke to Walsh, who cut into the area and bent home an outrageous finish.

Then on 50 minutes Nade connected with Mark Docherty's corner and, via a couple of minor deflections, found the net.

Docherty's set pieces were to be a recurring theme in the second half. Two free kicks which he delivered into the area were met by Steven Saunders, but neither could find the target.

Walsh and Saunders were kept out by the visiting keeper in quick succession, the latter from another Docherty delivery, as Sons looked to get it done and dusted.

They were almost handed another setback when Callum Tapping got a sight of goal, but Ewings was equal to his effort.

And with five minutes remaining, Gregor Buchanan clashed with Jake Pickard in the area as the Sons defender went for an overhead kick. Penalty it was.

Had Nade still been on the pitch, and on a hat-trick, the discussion between him and Fleming over who was taking the kick may have been a sight to see.

But with the Frenchman now watching from the bench, the stage was free for Sons' regular penalty taker to bury the spot kick.

The points were safe. With Morton having done them a favour by beating Livi on Saturday, Dumbarton's part of the bargain was delivered.

The 2016/17 Championship — Sons' fifth consecutive season in the second tier — is not clinched yet, but is in sight. It deserves to be after a fightback like this.

Dumbarton: Ewings; Docherty, Saunders, Buchanan, Cawley (Gallagher 64), Fleming, Routledge, Lindsay (Taggart 80), Wright, Walsh, Nade (Heffernan 76). Subs: Brown; Barr, McCallum, Waters. Booked: Cawley.

Queen of the South: Thomson; Dowie, Brownlie, Higgins, Harris (Oliver 70), Millar, Russell, Jacobs (Kidd 75), Tapping (Murdoch 82), Pickard, Hilson. Subs: Atkinson; Conroy, Moxon, Smith. Booked: Tapping, Higgins, Hilson.

Referee: Stephen Finnie.

Crowd: 573.

Andy Galloway