Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (0) v Hibernian (1)

Saturday 14th January 2017, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

SOME things are just not meant to be.

Dumbarton defeated Hibernian at home twice last season. They've beaten Dundee United in G82 twice in this campaign.

But Hibs, this time around, have proven unbeatable at Dumbarton. Not remotely for the want of trying, though.

Sons did not deserve to lose this match as they did to a 15th minute Kris Commons goal. It could be argued that even a draw would have been harsh.

Giving a good account of yourselves against the leaders doesn't automatically gain points. It didn't in this game. But it does afford pride.

Hibs, at least for now, look as if they will pull clear at the top of the Championship. They have twice succeeded where nearest challengers Dundee United failed, by winning at Dumbarton.

But they left the pitch knowing they had been well challenged. At the same time, Sons departed the arena legitimately feeling hard done by in terms of the result.

They were bettered by their more illustrious opponents in only one respect. Unfortunately, it was the one which wins games. Hibs stuck the ball in the net; Dumbarton didn't.

From the start, the home side were in amongst it. They were brave, combative and created several chances.

The missing piece of the jigsaw was finishing those opportunities.

As early as the eighth minute they served the first warning of the day. Garry Fleming's volley after fine link-up play with Lewis Vaughan was on target, but cleared by David Gray with the keeper beaten.

Seven minutes later came the afternoon's decisive moment, Commons rolling home a shot from the edge of the area after Sons only half cleared a cross.

But any predictions of Dumbarton folding to allow a Hibs onslaught were wide of the mark. Way wide of it.

Robert Thomson was set to go for goal before Gray nabbed possession at the last second. An angled shot by Vaughan was fisted away. The same two Sons players had further shots saved.

The visitors' only other opening of the first half came when Martin Boyle cut inside and shot narrowly over.

After Thomson had a header saved, Hibs probably did start the second half more strongly. In quick succession, Lewis Stevenson and Boyle were denied by Alan Martin.

But soon things were ramped up again. The keeper saved from Gregor Buchanan and Vaughan within minutes of each other.

And for the second time in the day, Fleming was denied by a goal line clearance from Gray. This time it was a cross which bent towards goal, but still needed dealt with.

Mark Docherty and Christian Nade were each narrowly off target. By now, Sons needed to state their case for an equaliser to nobody.

However, they still had to be wary of Hibs, and Boyle was close to sealing it but shot across goal and wide. David Smith also cleared off the line from Grant Holt.

Then, with two minutes left, the script felt by some to be written almost came true.

Nade was found by Andy Stirling at the back post, but his shot was wide. It turned out to be the last chance.

As Sons reflected on an afternoon of promise, but ultimate disappointment, they had one consolatory thought.

They only have to play the current top three another once each. That makes three of their remaining 15 games.

The rest of the Championship's bottom six must play at least five fixtures against those three teams. All of them have to face Hibs twice.

The New Year of 2017 may not have been lucky so far, but there is plenty mileage left.

Dumbarton: Martin; Docherty, Buchanan, Carswell (Lang 85), Fleming, Thomson (Nade 70), Harvie, Barr, Smith, Stirling, Vaughan. Subs: Brown; McCallum. Booked: Smith.

Hibernian: Laidlaw; Gray, Fontaine, Bartley, Fyvie, Commons (Forster 80), Stevenson, Boyle, McGregor, Humphrey (McGinn 70), Cummings (Holt 70). Subs: Marciano; Keatings, Shinnie, Graham. Booked: Bartley, Gray.

Referee: Nick Walsh.

Andy Galloway