Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dunfermline Ath (4) v Dumbarton (3)

Saturday 6th August 2016, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

WELCOME to the new league season.

Seven goals, three penalties and a red card. The Ladbrokes SPFL Championship is back with us.

If only it could carry a result for Dumbarton as well as drama.

Truth be told, for most of the second half, defeat by the odd goal was almost unforeseeable as Dunfermline went all out to ensure their league flag celebrations were accompanied by a win.

Robert Thomson's second goal in as many games had Sons ahead after Michael Moffat's penalty for the home side hit the post. But within eight minutes of the opener, a Joe Cardle double had Dunfermline ahead.

Cardle completed his hat-trick in the second half by cashing in on a defensive error, much the same as David Hopkirk did to make it 4-1.

That was still the score going into injury time, when Michael Paton's foul on David Smith brought a penalty for Sons, which Mark Docherty converted.

Remarkably he was given another opportunity from the spot after Lee Ashcroft fouled Thomson, an offence for which he was dismissed.

When Docherty scored again, a match dominated by Dunfermline had just one goal between the teams. But there was next to no time for an equaliser.

Five paragraphs that game took to sum up. Anybody watching could come away with more on where it went wrong for Sons.

The errors costing goals, and the surrender of a lead for the third consecutive game, were to their huge cost.

However, Sons did pick up their first three-goal haul away from home since January 2015.

After Dunfermline hoisted the League One flag, they and Sons cancelled each other out before Ryan Stevenson fouled Kallum Higginbotham in the area on 14 minutes.

Moffat sent debuting keeper Alan Martin the wrong way, but Sons were saved by the post.

And four minutes later, with Josh Todd having fired narrowly wide after making space, Sons were ahead when Stevenson's free kick was parried by the home keeper and Thomson pounced.

When Martin made an incredible close range save from Gavin Reilly's header, Sons' luck looked in, but didn't last.

On 23 minutes Cardle rolled home a narrow angled finish to equalise. Then three minutes later, he saw off the challenge of several Sons defenders to fire inside Martin's right hand post.

Todd then headed an Ashcroft effort clear although Martin looked to have it covered anyway. After this Dumbarton found some sort of rhythm and, while unlikely to equalise, saw the rest of the half out.

Eight minutes after the restart Reilly was put through only to lose control of the ball and allow Martin to save. A few minutes later the same player saw a header saved as the Pars stayed on top.

Craig Pettigrew responded with a shot from the corner of the area which the home keeper did well to save. When Thomson just missed Smith's low ball into the area, Sons looked like they might get back into it.

So it was to say the least frustrating when after 67 minutes, a slack pass was intercepted and Cardle applied a low finish to become already the second player to score a hat-trick past Sons this season.

Fifteen minutes later another careless concession of possession led to Hopkirk finishing from a narrow angle to give the Pars a 4-1 lead.

Hopkirk and team-mate Andy Geggan missed chances to inflict further goals. Instead, in injury time, Docherty was the one doing the finishing, twice, with Ashcroft dismissed on the second occasion.

Dunfermline Athletic: Hutton; Williamson, Martin, Geggan, Moffat (Hopkirk 79), Cardle, Ashcroft, Richards-Everton, McCabe, Reilly (McMullan 70), Higginbotham (Paton 74). Subs: Gill; Fordyce, Wedderburn, Spence. Booked: Geggan, McCann, Hutton. Sent off: Ashcroft.

Dumbarton: Martin; Pettigrew, J Thomson, Buchanan, Stevenson (McCallum 72), Todd, R Thomson, Harvie, Smith, Wright (Docherty 80), Stirling. Subs: Barclay; Barr, Clark, Kassarate. Booked: Stevenson, R Thomson.

Referee: Barry Cook.

Crowd: 3,496.

Andy Galloway