Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Hibernian (2) v Dumbarton (0)

Saturday 10th December 2016, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

AFTER the past few days, this probably wasn't the fixture Dumbarton wanted.

Away to the joint league leaders — the sort of fixture where very few outside G82, G83 or G84 give you any chance.

In the end, those predictions came through, and Hibernian had something to spare besides goals by Paul Hanlon and Brian Graham.

Sons were brave, battled hard, kept the ball well in spells and restored a measure of pride on a day which was always going to be difficult.

What they did not have was the cutting edge required for a result which would have made outsiders sit up and take notice.

It was their fifth blank sheet in six games, a statistic they are working hard to put right.

For the first quarter of the game, they were holding their own. The defence held firm, and the ball got into promising positions further up the pitch without any end product.

After the 25-minute mark, Hibs found some sort of rhythm, and in quick succession, Hanlon and Graham were off target after creating decent openings.

Alan Martin was also kept active, denying Jason Cummings and then Hanlon as the pacesetters looked set to be frustrated.

But after David Gray had a shot deflected on to the bar and over, the resulting corner brought the opening goal one minute from the interval. It is the kind of time you concede when your luck is out.

Hanlon was left unmarked as the ball came into the area and bulleted the ball home.

Robert Thomson did force a chance in the second half after a corner resulted in a goalmouth scramble, but his narrow angled shot hit the side netting.

Once again a resolute defence was keeping the hosts out for long spells. Hibs did find a way to goal on 69 minutes when Graham headed on to give Cummings an easy finish, but Sons were spared by the offside flag.

But seven minutes later Graham did the job himself with a shot from the edge of the area after taking on a through ball.

Game over as a contest — but there was still pride left to play for and the red and black jerseys did not let the heads drop.

They were fortunate when Gray somehow headed Martin Boyle's cross over from six yards, and Martin then did well to push away Andrew Shinnie's shot.

However, Sons could leave Easter Road facing no accusations of lacking effort against one of the teams setting the pace in the Championship.

Hibernian: Laidlaw; Gray, Hanlon, Fontaine, Bartley (McGeouch 74), Stevenson, Boyle, Shinnie, McGregor, Graham, Cummings. Subs: Virtanen; Holt, Forster, Eardley, Crane, Martin. Booked: Shinnie.

Dumbarton: Martin; Docherty, J Thomson, Buchanan, Todd, Fleming (Stevenson 74), R Thomson, Harvie, Barr, Smith, Stirling. Subs: Brown; Pettigrew, McCallum, Lyden, Crawford. Booked: Harvie, Barr.

Referee: John McKendrick.

Andy Galloway