Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Forfar Ath (2) v Dumbarton (2)

Saturday 16th July 2016, Kick Off 3pm

Betfred Cup

THE Betfred League Cup now has penalty shootouts after drawn sectional games. We may as well make the most of it, then.

Dumbarton got off the mark in the Group A opener at Forfar. But they missed out on their place in the competition's history by missing out on the bonus point for winning on penalties.

Grant Gallagher, having scored the first of two equalisers, ended up being the unlucky player whose miss during the shootout meant Sons took one point.

Garry Fleming buried his penalty in the finale, having already scored from the spot during the game, while Josh Peters and Thomas O'Brien scored for Forfar.

The Loons had Jamie Bain sent off, but it was so late in the game that he probably hadn't even reached the changing room by the time the final whistle went.

Similarly to the shootout, the game had its hits and misses for Sons. An improved second half performance brought its rewards as they twice fought back.

But at times it was a hard toil against a Forfar side rebuilding after relegation from League One at the end of last season.

The new-look Sons side has had only 90 minutes and a shootout of competitive football together. However, the match, just like any other, gave gaffer Stevie Aitken things to think about.

The only thing there was to think after the first half was that the second surely would be more exciting. There really was not much to welcome the fans back to competitive football.

An effort by Gallagher, which went narrowly over the bar, was about the size of it until 10 minutes from half time, when Forfar went in front.

Peters, a trialist with Sons in pre-season, punished a loss of possession on the edge of the area with a composed low finish.

A narrow angled shot by Gregor Buchanan, saved by the home keeper, almost gave an instant response. Equally, the Loons could have extended their lead, with Jim Lister narrowly missing a promising low ball across goal. O'Brien also had a header deflected away by a defender.

The home side also had the better of the second half's early stages as Mark Brown kept out Gavin Swankie, and then Lister again at close range after he beat the offside trap.

Those misses were punished by Sons on 54 minutes with a goal of quality. Craig Pettigrew, on his weaker left foot, sent over a gem of a cross which Gallagher snapped up with his head from six yards.

Within eight minutes, though, it all had to be done again as O'Brien found the net from 25 yards with a ferociously struck shot.

Gallagher was then given the chance of a double, just the same as he scored in last season's first competitive game, against Morton. However, after being put through, his shot was turned wide at close range.

But it was from the resulting corner that Sons got the equaliser. With the ball bouncing around the area, David Cox used an arm to control it and Fleming, returning to penalty duties after last season, made no mistake.

For the 21 minutes that remained, play raced from end to end. David Smith headed past while Gallagher again shot over, and at the other end Brown kept out Lister again.

In a strong finish by Dumbarton, Ryan Stevenson almost embarrassed the home keeper with a free kick from the left wing which dropped towards goal only to hit the bar. The keeper then turned Andy Stirling's low shot wide.

However, Brown again was on form in injury time, saving from Lewis Milne at close range. The appeals for a foul on Milne from the home fans were certainly loud, but they were ignored by the referee.

Instead, once Bain had departed for a second booking for a foul on Robert Thomson, there were nine more penalties.

Cox, Milne, Lister and Andy Munro all scored for Forfar while Thomson, Fleming and Stevenson did likewise for Sons. However, Gallagher's penalty, Sons' second, went over.

Which left Swankie to roll up and score the winning penalty. But Dumbarton still came away with one point in what is already a wide open group.

Forfar Athletic: Adam; Bain, McIntosh, Munro, Malcolm, O'Brien, Cox, Milne, Lister, Swankie, Peters. Subs: Hill; Fotheringham, Hay, Yates, Mailer, Devine. Booked and sent off: Bain.

Dumbarton: Brown; Pettigrew, Docherty, Buchanan, Stevenson, Gallagher, Fleming, Thomson, Smith (Todd 76), Wright, Stirling. Subs: Barclay; McCallum, Clark, Kassarate.

Referee: David Lowe.

Andy Galloway