Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (1) v Dundee Utd (0)

Saturday 31st December 2016, Kick Off 1.30pm

Ladbrokes Championship

THE year of 2016 was a real 'boom and bust' time for Dumbarton.

Twelve months of flitting several times from one extreme to another. Highs and lows which seemed poles apart.

But on the last day of the year, Sons squeezed in one last boom. Dundee United, relegated from last season's Premiership and chasing an immediate return there, left G82 with nothing for the second time this season.

Once again, it came courtesy of a Mark Docherty goal. While his first winner against the Arabs was a penalty, this time his cross looped in at the far post.

It rounded off a remarkable highlight of 2016 for Sons - their home record against the high-profile clubs of the Championship.

During 2016, Dumbarton played eight home games against Dundee United, Hibernian, Falkirk and St Mirren. The four teams in the division this season who have played in Scotland's top flight since 2010.

Their record over those eight games was won five, drew two and lost only one. The defeat, to Hibs in September, was only via a disputed penalty.

They say your home record goes a long way towards achieving your goal. If Sons can repeat that sort of form in 2017 against teams from all parts of the Championship, they will give themselves a great chance.

For the second consecutive game, after last week's draw with Ayr, the wind had a huge say. Neither side found it easy to create chances but, with the weather advantage, Sons showed promise.

A Sam Stanton shot from 30 yards had the visiting keeper scrambling, but just missed the post and went wide.

Then on 28 minutes, Docherty launched a high ball into the area which missed the outstretched leg of Josh Todd.

It didn't matter, as the ball crept in at the far post and Sons led.

With six minutes left of the first half Joe Thomson had the chance to mark his final game for Sons with a goal, but fired over from Daniel Harvie's cutback.

Then keeper Alan Martin, tested minimally so far, dealt smartly with a Willo Flood shot which he pushed off target.

Simon Murray then did find the net for United, but Paul Dixon's low ball to set him up came from behind the goal line and the effort was ruled out.

With United enjoying the wind advantage in the second half, and aware of Hibs' lead at Falkirk, the second half was a time for Sons to batten down the hatches.

The first 30 minutes of the second half saw the only trouble come from Mark Durnan's flick which hit the top of the bar and went over.

Then Scott Fraser, and Durnan again, were off target with efforts before in the 87th minute, a cross from the right found Durnan in space.

Between them, Martin and his defenders thwarted the centre half who had now been pushed upfront, and scrambled the danger away.

Between that and full time, Sean Dillon and Durnan had efforts which hit the outside of the woodwork and bounced out of play before they could be rescued.

Forty five minutes of sheer graft paid off. The game was won.

Dumbarton: Martin; Docherty, J Thomson, Buchanan, Todd, Fleming (Stevenson 81), R Thomson, Stanton, Harvie, Barr, Smith. Subs: Brown; Pettigrew, McCallum, Wright. Booked: R Thomson, Buchanan.

Dundee United: Bell; Dillon, Dixon, Durnan, Spittal (Obadeyi 64), Murdoch, Murray (Smith 64), Fraser (Donaldson 82), Edjenguélé, Flood, Van Der Velden. Subs: Zwick; Toshney, Telfer, Robson. Booked: Edjenguélé, Van Der Velden.

Referee: Stephen Finnie.

Andy Galloway