Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

East Fife (4) v Dumbarton (2)

Saturday 1st February 2020, Kick Off 3pm

League One

WHAT is it about this fixture and two-goal leads this season?

Three times somebody has led by such a margin only to lose it again.

The difference is, though, East Fife have been able to respond to the setback twice. It is because of such things that they are where they are and Dumbarton are in their current position.

Scott Agnew and Chris Higgins' goals for the home side were countered by Morgyn Neill and Robert Jones, the latter making his debut.

For the second consecutive time, though, Sons' fightback ended there. Stewart Murdoch headed the Fifers' third and Agnew finished the contest.

It was a high workrate as always, but mistakes put Sons in a tough position that they could not recover from.

After a dry January, there was optimism that the goal drought so far in 2020 could end.

Instead, the worst possible start was made when Agnew's shot took a big deflection and rolled into the net on only three minutes.

Sons had a lot of possession after that but failed to test the home keeper.

And only a brilliant save by Conor Brennan from Danny Denholm's long distance effort on 18 minutes stopped them going 2-0 down.

A Stefan McCluskey shot which rolled wide, shortly after that, was Dumbarton's first significant question asked.

After 26 minutes, another cheaply conceded goal went in. A corner was allowed to bounce in the area and Higgins finished clinically.

On the half hour mark another defensive mistake should have been punished by Denholm, but Brennan denied him at close range.

Then, after a laboured almost remainder of the half, Dumbarton had a lifeline. Neill's header from Joe McKee's free kick was right in the corner and the team talks were ripped up in each dressing room.

Hope was renewed that the goal would revitalise the visitors, but only a fine low save by Brennan early in the second half from Anton Dowds' header kept the deficit at one.

It did revitalise them after all - and it came after some brilliant work by McCluskey after he chased down a long ball. He ensured Ross Dunlop couldn't play it off him for a goal kick and after the keeper saved, Jones slotted it away.

But on 69 minutes another defensive mistake was Sons' downfall. Murdoch was unchallenged to meet a free kick into the area to restore East Fife's lead.

And with 13 minutes remaining, Agnew put away a 20-yard free kick. His ability to do that was not in question; the validity of the award was.

Dumbarton fought valiantly for the rest of the afternoon, but were never going to get the foothold back.

East Fife: Long; Dunsmore (Morrison 62), Higgins, Murdoch, Dunlop, Denholm, Slattery, Wallace, Agnew, Dowds (Baker 84), Davidson. Subs: Hart; Watson, Smith, Hunter, Watson. Booked: Murdoch.

Dumbarton: Brennan; R Quitongo, Neill, Carswell, Hutton, McCluskey, Forbes (J Quitongo 74), McKee, Jones, McGeever, Wardrop. Subs: Pettigrew; Crawford, Langan, Tierney, Wilson, Crossan. Booked: Forbes, Wardrop, Neill, Carswell.

Referee: Gavin Duncan.

Andy Galloway