Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Alloa Ath (0) v Dumbarton (1)

Wednesday 9th May 2018, Kick Off 7.45pm

Championship Play-Off Final

PLAY-OFFS never were done the easy way.

The good news for those of us with already-exhausted nerves is that there is only one game left this season.

The not-so-good news is that it is liable to be the most nerve-shredding of the lot.

For the second week in a row, Dumbarton have a one-goal lead to defend at home in a play-off tie.

The difference is that Sunday's second leg against Alloa is the game by which their stay in the Championship lives or dies. Whether they make it a seventh season in that division, or whether the journey ends here.

Stuart Carswell started the season without a goal to his name in his entire senior career. He now has two, and when he scores them, he scores them.

His first career goal, against Elgin City in November, was a free kick from distance. His second, to decide this game, was a moment of genius.

With only six minutes gone, he controlled Danny Handling's pass 25 yards out and thrashed in a searing shot which went on to be the winner on the night.

Now Sons are 90 minutes away from another season in the Championship and a draw on Sunday — or, if they are feeling generous, another victory — will finish the job. It is easy if you say it fast enough.

They had fought off some early pressure from the Wasps before Carswell's brilliantly-executed goal gave them the lead.

But the scoreline could have been level again after only a further eight minutes when ex-Son Jordan Kirkpatrick's shot rebounded from the post. Keeper Scott Gallacher may well have got a touch on the ball to deflect it off target.

Carswell was right in the mood after his earlier shot and had another go from distance, but this time his effort was saved. Right on half time a Dumbarton attack turned into a chance for Alloa, but Gallacher saved well from Ross Stewart.

Early in the second half, Kevin Nisbet and Kyle Hutton were unlucky to miss the target before Alloa fought back.

Callum Smith was played in to finish from six yards, but Craig Barr made one of the challenges of the season to deny the striker.

The rest of the game was scrappy, with another Nisbet shot, which went just over, being largely all Sons had to show for their efforts.

Gallacher, though, only had one major final act to perform himself, saving brilliantly from Smith at close range.

So is it meant to be? We will know on Sunday evening.

Alloa Athletic: Parry; Taggart, Crane, Graham, McCart, Fleming (Renton 72), Cawley, Robertson, Stewart, Kirkpatrick (Smith 35), Flannigan. Subs: Wilson; Meggatt, Monaghan, Goodwin. Booked: Stewart, Flannigan.

Dumbarton: S Gallacher; Smith, Dowie, Carswell, Walsh (Russell 75), Hutton, Handling (Burt 51), Dick, Nisbet, Stirling (Stewart 85), Barr. Subs: Ewings; G Gallagher, D Wilson, Hill. Booked: Nisbet, Stewart.

Referee: John McKendrick.

Andy Galloway