Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (2) v Raith Rovers (0)

Saturday 11th November 2017, Kick Off 3pm

Irn-Bru Cup

BROTHERHOOD of Man were at number one, James Callaghan had just taken over at number ten.

When Dumbarton were last in a national cup semi-final. Both of those were the case whether you count that as the Spring Cup or the Scottish Cup.

If those don't tell you how long ago it was, how about that Stevie Aitken wasn't born for another five months?

Forty-two years is a long time to wait for anything in football. Let alone winning a trophy, even reaching the last four can be awaited for decades - since 1976 in Sons' case.

Which is why this victory against Raith Rovers was so welcome. Dumbarton are now one of only four teams who can win this season's Irn Bru Cup.

And whisper it very, very quietly - why not aim to be that team?

This was always a hazardous tie against a team flying high in League One, but Sons, from start to finish, dominated.

They led after 18 minutes through Chris McLaughlin and when Ally Roy doubled the lead early in the second half, they were in an imperious position.

Even though Tom Walsh had a penalty saved, keeping the score at 2-0, the home side always stayed in front.

Raith were reduced to 10 men when Greig Spence was sent off for handball to concede said penalty. They were hardworking, but even ex-Dumbarton loanee Lewis Vaughan, in incredible goalscoring form this season, couldn't find a way past a tough and organised defence.

A back line which was keeping the club's first back-to-back clean sheets for the first time in almost a year.

It all means that Sons are 180 minutes away from winning a national cup. It's easy if you say it fast enough.

After Calum Gallagher's early header was saved, the opening goal came from Walsh's delivery from a corner.

A couple of bounces and the ball fell to McLaughlin on his weaker right foot - but even that couldn't stop him from finding the net with a lofted finish.

Walsh then shot just over from distance before Gallagher couldn't quite finish in a scramble that resulted from another corner.

Vaughan's first threat came just after the half hour mark when Yaw Osei looked to play him in, but he couldn't quite get the touch.

Gallagher and Walsh could have extended the lead before half time, while early in the second half, Gallagher had another effort blocked at close range.

Instead, three minutes after the restart, Roy dispossessed a Rovers defender and ran in to score with a low, angled finish.

The two goalscorers then each had a chance to add to their tally before, on 57 minutes, Craig Barr had a header blocked in the area.

It took some time to register, but the referee had noticed that Spence had done so with his hand. He was duly dismissed, but the keeper was up to Walsh's penalty.

Vaughan dragged a low shot across goal, with Raith now scrapping for survival in the competition.

But Mark Stewart, and then Chris Johnston, each narrowly missed a chance to score against their former club.

Vaughan eventually found the net with the game's final meaningful touch, but did so from an offside position.

Sons' campaign in the Irn Bru Cup is in danger of getting exciting. Even historic.

Dumbarton: S Gallacher; McLaughlin, Dowie, Carswell, C Gallagher (Johnston 79), Stewart (Prior 89), Walsh, Wardrop, Hutton, Roy (Wilson 67), Barr. Subs: Ewings; Smith, Hill.

Raith Rovers: Smith; Thomson, Watson, Herron, Murray, Berry (Robertson 49), Spence, Vaughan, Matthews, Davidson (Buchanan 49), Osei (McKay 60). Subs: Brian; Barr, Court, Stevenson. Booked: Robertson. Sent off: Spence.

Referee: Gavin Duncan.

Andy Galloway