Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

The New Saints (TNS) (1) v Dumbarton (2)

Saturday 17th February 2018, Kick Off 7.35pm

Irn-Bru Cup

READ the following sentence as many times as you need to until it finally sinks in.

Dumbarton are in a national cup final.

Nobody alive today had previously known what it was like to say that about one of Scotland's three major knockout trophies. The last time it was reality, Queen Victoria was on the throne.

The Marquess of Salisbury was Prime Minister while William McKinley hadn't long been sworn in as the 25th President of the United States.

Author Bram Stoker created Dracula, while the likes of Fred Astaire, Ernest Hemingway and Alfred Hitchcock weren't even born for another two years.

Dumbarton themselves were only in their 25th year when they played in the 1897 Scottish Cup final, which they lost to Rangers.

Now, 121 years and two incredible goals by Danny Handling and Dimitris Froxylias later, they're in another major final. And they're in no mood to lose it.

The New Saints had them where they wanted them after Dean Ebbe's early second half goal, before a bold move from the bench paid off.

A double substitution saw a major swing in the balance of play, reflected by Handling's screaming 20-yard equaliser.

And with six minutes left, only one man was stepping up to hit a 25-yard free kick after Christian Nade was fouled. Froxylias simply wasn't missing.

Now the weekend of March 24/25 is going to be one like no other since that game against Rangers in the late 19th century.

Who, also, is to say that it won't spur the league survival push back to life as well?

If the second half was dramatic, the first was pedestrian stuff. All there was in the way of action was a third minute header by Aeron Edwards for the home side which hit the bar from close range.

Eight minutes after the restart, though, the first blow was struck when Ryan Brobbel sent in a low ball from the right. It evaded Scott Gallacher's grasp and Ebbe cashed in.

There was lots of huffing and puffing, but no breakthrough until something hugely special with 19 minutes left.

Handling controlled Kyle Hutton's sideways pass and thrashed home the equaliser under the noses of hundreds of fans behind the goal.

A second period of extra time against Welsh opposition was looming, but Greg Draper was perilously close for TNS, shooting across goal and wide.

Nade was then fouled, with Froxylias stepping up. This was why you go to football every week, and go the extra mile (or several extra miles) for this sort of game. Just sometimes, it's all worth it.

Even after the sheer euphoria of that goal, Sons were not safe. Craig Barr dealt firmly with Draper's header on the goal line before Edwards' swerving shot was saved by Gallacher.

After he denied Draper with his legs, it was done.

It was happening.

Final.

The New Saints: Harrison; Spender, Marriott (Kauber 88), Rawlinson, Routledge, Brobbel, Draper, Hudson, Ebbe, Holland, Edwards. Subs: A Jones; Saunders, Pryce, C Pryce, Craven. Booked: Spender.

Dumbarton: S Gallacher; Smith, Dowie, Carswell, C Gallagher (Burt 65), Hutton, Hill, Handling (Froxylias 79), Russell (Stewart 65), Nade, Barr. Subs: Ewings; D Wilson. Booked: Barr.

Referee: Neil Doyle.

Andy Galloway