Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (3) v Peterhead (3)

Saturday 30th July 2016, Kick Off 3pm

Betfred Cup

THAT was the first-ever Betfred League Cup group stage, then.

It's been fun, and a change for Scottish football. It's also going to continue for 16 teams who made Sunday's knockout draw.

But not for Dumbarton. It's been a frustrating and tough group which has failed to yield a victory.

Even after taking a 3-1 lead, and a shootout which lasted 20 penalties, Sons had to settle for finishing the group on two points after a draw against Peterhead which was followed by defeat in the shootout.

Despite Kevin Dzierzawski giving the visitors the lead, first competitive goals for new signings Robert Thomson and David Smith had Sons ahead at half time. The advantage could have been greater.

When Ryan Stevenson converted an early second half penalty that seemed to be that as long as Sons continued to dominate. Instead Peterhead fought back, and after Leighton McIntosh reduced the arrears, Rory McAllister's penalty equalised.

That forced the shootout and, with only Sons keeper Mark Brown and Peterhead's Scott Rumsby not having taken a penalty, the visitors prevailed 6-5 to win the group.

For Dumbarton, there was much to demonstrate the positive capabilities of the side, which once again suffered with a lack of numbers.

But after missing chances, and the conceded goals making it a total of 13 in the group, there is also plenty to work on ahead of Championship business starting at Dunfermline.

After McAllister and McIntosh had early chances for Peterhead, Garry Fleming had a shot turned away by the keeper, with Thomson denied a tap-in as the ball rolled behind him.

Instead the Blue Toon took the lead on 16 minutes as McAllister beat three challenges and rolled the ball across to give Dzierzawski a simple finish.

Soon after, Fleming joined an already lengthy injury list after damaging his hamstring, but Sons got back into proceedings.

And on 22 minutes, Gregor Buchanan headed down Mark Docherty's free kick for Thomson to bundle home.

Stevenson and McIntosh went close for each side before Donald McCallum, on as Fleming's replacement, hit the post with a narrow angled drive.

But nine minutes from half time Josh Todd found Smith with a cross from the left and the midfielder headed home a clinical finish.

Andy Stirling then became the second player to hit a post while Thomson and Todd missed further opportunities.

How important would those be? Not very, by the looks of the early second half. Two minutes after the restart McCallum was fouled by Fiacre Kelleher in the area and Stevenson did what needed doing for a 3-1 lead.

But Peterhead still had a lot at stake, and 10 minutes later the cushion was reduced to a goal as Sons failed to defend a corner to full effect and McIntosh scrambled home.

Soon after McAllister ran in on goal, but Brown did well to deny him at close range. From the resulting corner, he turned Scott Ross' header over.

However, on 69 minutes, Docherty went into the back of McAllister for the game's second penalty and the Peterhead striker ensured it was all square again despite Brown guessing the right way.

Thomson and Smith had shots saved for Sons while Brown again saved from McAllister at close range. He then turned the same player's free kick on to the bar, with Dzierzawski heading over from the rebound.

That ensured penalties, which started looking like a procession but ended up verging on bizarre.

Thomson, McCallum and Smith all had their kicks saved, and with McAllister and Jamie Stevenson having scored for Peterhead, Ryan Strachan had the chance to win it with just their third kick.

But he shot over and, with Todd getting Sons off the mark, Brown then saved from his namesake Jordan. Even after Ryan Stevenson converted for the second time in the afternoon, Kelleher had Peterhead's third chance to win it only for Brown to save again.

So it went on, and each team was successful with their next two kicks. Docherty's 'Panenka' effort and Buchanan's conversion were countered by Dzierzawski and Nathan Blockley.

Peterhead keeper Graeme Smith then saved from Amadou Kassarate, giving himself the chance to win it by taking his team's next kick. His shot went over and events continued into round nine.

Stirling scored, as did Steven Noble. Craig Pettigrew then stepped up to ensure every outfield Sons player had taken a kick, but Smith saved. Nicky Riley avoided giving Brown and Rumsby the chance to complete the set by scoring the decisive kick.

Bring on the Championship.

Dumbarton: Brown; Pettigrew, Docherty, Buchanan, Stevenson, Todd, Fleming (McCallum 19), Thomson, Smith, Wright (Kassarate 74), Stirling. Subs: Barclay; Clark.

Peterhead: Smith; Ross (Blockley 85), Noble, Kelleher, Rumsby, Strachan, Stevenson, Dzierzawski, McAllister, Nassor (Brown 46), McIntosh (Riley 74). Subs: Hobday; Baptie, Samuels, Adams. Booked: Ross.

Referee: Alan Muir.

Andy Galloway