Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (2) v St Mirren (2)

Saturday 4th February 2017, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

WOULDN'T Dumbarton's watching 'Class of 72' have loved playing in this game?

It wasn't a match that was liable to be a Championship classic in the final analysis at the end of the season. And as it turned out, both teams ended the 90 minutes as close to Ayr United on points as they began the afternoon.

What it was, though, was compulsive. It was fiercely contested two passionate teams. One of them fighting for their lives, the other also fighting for their lives, but with more breathing space.

St Mirren led twice, through David Clarkson and then debutant Harry Davis. But for Sons, Christian Nade levelled Clarkson's effort, and then Robert Thomson ended the possibility of Davis marking his first game with the winner.

Perhaps the best news for Dumbarton came elsewhere. A late equaliser for Hibs denied Ayr a second win at Easter Road this season. Then in a late kick off, Raith Rovers' 3-0 defeat at Dundee United shifted Sons up a place, above Rovers on goals scored.

But it was a far from disastrous afternoon in terms of Dumbarton's own fixture. Against a side who are running out of games to preserve their Championship status, they rose to a tough test and claimed some reward.

After the heroes of 45 years ago were paraded, the class of 2017 launched themselves into what was always going to be a battle. Chances were few, although Andy Stirling did test the keeper with a long shot which was beaten away.

St Mirren then thought they had claimed an 11th minute lead when Cameron Smith's deflected shot beat Alan Martin. Daniel Harvie, though, retrieved the ball off the line.

The afternoon's first blow came after 25 minutes when skipper Darren Barr, unable to recover from an earlier knock, went off injured. But, after Thomson and David Smith had gone close, there was another one 10 minutes from half time.

Smith squared the ball back from the goal line for Clarkson, who could hardly miss.

Nade and then Barr's replacement Tom Lang each missed with a header either side of the interval. However, on 56 minutes, another headed Nade effort had a better outcome.

There was only one man getting to a corner from the left, and he didn't disappoint.

He had the next chance of the game after being put through at an angle by a long ball. He had Thomson in the centre but went it alone, with his decision almost paying off, but his shot missed the target narrowly.

Martin then saved well from Smith's narrow angled effort, but after 71 minutes, it all had to be done again.

Stephen McGinn's free kick was headed in by Davis. It was all getting familiar after the Queen of the South game, which followed a similar pattern, two weeks earlier.

But with 10 minutes left, with only a long range Lewis Vaughan effort having threatened a second equaliser - but being saved - the push paid off again.

Nade headed the ball down for Thomson, who spun off his marker and fired home a smart finish on the turn.

The remaining 10 minutes saw plenty of effort, but no significant threat by either side to snatch a winner.

After this result, and the one at Easter Road, Dumbarton were still four points clear of Ayr, who themselves remained seven clear of St Mirren.

Raith are now also firmly in the mix. On it goes in a fortnight - when Ayr are in G82.

Dumbarton: Martin; Docherty, Buchanan, Carswell (Vaughan 63), Thomson, Stanton (Fleming 81), Harvie, Barr (Lang 25), Smith, Stirling, Nade. Subs: Brown; Gallagher. Booked: Thomson, Carswell, Nade.

St Mirren: O'Brien; Irvine, MacKenzie, Clarkson (Todd 78), Smith, Morgan (Sutton 63), Storie, McGinn, Davis, Magennis, Eckersley (Demetriou 73). Subs: Langfield; Webster, Baird, Fjelde. Booked: Storie, MacKenzie.

Referee: John Beaton.

Andy Galloway