Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Raith Rovers (4) v Dumbarton (1)

Saturday 23rd March 2019, Kick Off

League One

OH well.

Dumbarton's unbeaten run had to end sometime. But there would have been less painful ways for it to end.

After their previous meeting with Raith Rovers 25 days before, there was hope that they could make a game of this.

Even after conceding goals to Ross Matthews and Liam Buchanan, Calum Gallagher's goal put things up in the air again.

That was until, with the final meaningful touch of the first half, Kevin Nisbet headed a third for Raith.

If that hadn't happened, and Gallagher converted an opportunity in the early moments of the second half, it would have been 2-2 and who'd have known what would happen from there.

Instead Nisbet, who failed to score for Sons in the second half of last season, got his fifth goal against them in this one to make it 4-1.

Another source of frustration was just up the road, at Methil. East Fife's 2-0 defeat to Brechin meant that the gap to the bottom shrunk, while an opportunity to gain ground on the top four, and slightly improve the faint chance of finishing there, was missed.

Three home games follow, after Tuesday night's match between Stranraer and Brechin which will make the situation at the bottom of the table clearer.

Dumbarton will need to be ready for those. While overreactions should not happen after such a positive recent sequence, they simply weren't ready for this.

Eight minutes had been played when Callum Crane was found in splendid isolation out on the left for Raith. He found Matthews centrally, equally free of any challenge, and the midfielder finished.

A shot on the turn by Gallagher which rolled wide was as close as Dumbarton got to equalising before they were 2-0 down after 26 minutes.

Possession was poorly conceded in midfield, and despite noble efforts to win the ball back, it broke to Buchanan 15 yards out for the finish.

With eight minutes remaining of the first half there was a lifeline when Gallagher finished off Bobby Barr's low ball across goal.

And when Dom Thomas intercepted in midfield only to shoot wide, the home side then had something to think about, although no more than that.

Which made what happened right on half time all the more frustrating. A cross from the left found Nisbet, who cashed in on the slack efforts to deal with it and headed home.

In the opening minute of the second half, Barr looked to set Gallagher up again, but his shot hit his standing leg and went out of play.

Instead the afternoon's fifth goal went to the home side on 54 minutes. Grant Adam did well to block Jamie Gullan's shot, but the loose ball almost went straight on to the head of Nisbet, who could not miss.

Two minutes later Buchanan's shot spun over off the top of the bar. Fortunately, the prospect of even more of a hiding subsided after that.

Adam's one serious save of what was left of the afternoon was made from Nathan Flanagan, while a second consolation nearly came with 10 minutes left.

Another cross by Barr found Iain Russell, but his header hit the bar at point blank range.

One of those days. Dumbarton can't afford any of those over the three-match spell next week, and ideally over the rest of the season.

Raith Rovers: Thomson; Crane, Davidson, Murray, Gillespie, Buchanan (Flanagan 72), Matthews, Wedderburn (McKay 62), Nisbet, Barjonas, Gullan (McGuffie 81). Subs: Lyness; Berry, Watson, Bowie.

Dumbarton: Adam; Ballantyne, Carswell, Hutton, Gallagher, Forbes, R Barr, Ferguson, Paton (Melingui 65), Thomas (Russell 80), C Barr. Subs: Armour, Thomson. Booked: Ferguson, Carswell.

Referee: Greg Aitken.

Andy Galloway