Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (0) v Alloa Ath (2)

Sunday 13th May 2018, Kick Off 4.10pm

Championship Play-Off Final

THE end.

They say all good things must reach that stage. And however Dumbarton's stay in the Championship came to it, it would be tough to accept.

It was always liable to be a kick in the teeth. Instead, this was a pair of hobnail boots square in the solar plexus.

Sons and Alloa had played 174 goalless minutes between them since Stuart Carswell burst the net at the Indodrill Stadium four nights earlier.

During what was added to them, Ross Stewart got the goal that the Wasps had fought tooth and nail for.

Realistically, only one team is going to prevail in extra time after that sort of drama, and five minutes into the additional half hour, ex-Son Jordan Kirkpatrick got the goal that sent Alloa into the Championship.

The epitaph to Dumbarton's season 2017/18 should be: 'Done in with the last kick of the game'. First the Irn Bru Cup final and now this.

It is hard to think of how it could have been any more 'so near and yet so far'.

But a line must be drawn under it now. The 2018/19 campaign is less than nine weeks away and there is no time to waste.

It is Sons' every intention to spend as little time as possible away from the Championship and come the start of the new season, everybody will be ready to do it again.

Kirkpatrick had forced Scott Gallacher into a save after only 10 seconds before a Calum Gallagher shot from inside the centre circle was spilled wide by the visiting keeper.

Tom Walsh and Kevin Nisbet were also denied by the Alloa number one, while Gallacher was also lively, keeping Stewart from reaching Kirkpatrick's cross.

Alloa ramped things up after the restart and on the hour mark, Gallacher did brilliantly to get down and save Callum Smith's header from six yards. Soon after, the same player hit the outside of the post.

Then ex-Son Kevin Cawley was brilliantly placed to meet a low ball from the left, but shot wide.

A glancing shot by Mark Stewart from Walsh's low ball was all Sons could drum up, but with only a draw needed on the day, it looked like being enough.

Then after three added minutes, Ross Stewart scored with a deflected low shot from 12 yards.

And five minutes into extra time, Kirkpatrick twisted and turned in the area before thrashing the ball beyond Gallacher.

Despite Sons' best efforts, there was little sign they could retrieve it, with Grant Gallagher's low ball, which Mark Stewart was unable to reach, the best they could come up with.

Perhaps fittingly, the last whistle of Dumbarton's time in the second tier was blown by the referee who blew the first one. John Beaton was in charge on the opening day of season 2012/13 at Airdrie.

Now for the next era to begin.

Dumbarton: S Gallacher; Smith, Dowie, Carswell, C Gallagher (Stewart 58), Walsh (G Gallagher 83), Hutton, Hill, Dick, Nisbet, Stirling (Burt 70). Subs: Ewings; D Wilson, Froxylias, Russell. Booked: Hill, Nisbet.

Alloa Athletic: Parry; Taggart, Crane, Graham, McCart, Fleming (Renton 58), Cawley, Robertson (Smith 23), Stewart, Kirkpatrick, Flannigan. Subs: Wilson; Meggatt, Monaghan, Goodwin. Booked: Boodwin, Kirkpatrick, Renton, Cawley.

Referee: John Beaton.

Andy Galloway