Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Raith Rovers (0) v Dumbarton (2)

Saturday 21st December 2019, Kick Off 3pm

League One

WITHIN 19 first half minutes, it was clear the gods were smiling on Dumbarton at Christmas.

During that timeframe, the ball had hit their bar and stayed out, and PJ Crossan and Ryan McGeever had scored.

Winning away to a top of the league Raith Rovers was always going to demand effort. It turned out that it required more than that.

No Isaac Layne we knew about. As the team sheets were distributed, there was no Adam Frizzell or Matthew Shiels either.

Only three substitutes, one of them a goalkeeper. Every player who went on to the Stark's Park pitch had to stand up and be counted.

And boy, did they do that. This was more than a 100 per cent effort, this was a victory executed with serious determination that nothing from the league leaders was getting past them.

It was as close to a flawless performance as you could get without that scare involving the crossbar. And at the halfway point of the season, with Sons in fifth, who is to say how big a thought they are for the top four, all of whom are separated by a point?

After 20 evenly contested opening minutes, Conor Brennan made the first vital contribution of the day. He got a touch from Tony Dingwall's effort at close range, deflecting it on to the bar and into his hands.

His heroics proved even more to Sons' profit seven minutes later when Crossan put away Conor Scullion's cross from the right. It was a sliced shot with the assistance of a deflection, but it was enough.

Two minutes after that a Joe McKee corner found Morgyn Neill, but his header was saved. The keeper was then also well positioned to meet Stuart Carswell's low effort.

But with six minutes left of the half it was 2-0. McKee with the assist from a free kick, McGeever with a header. Each of these is becoming a habit.

Raith's first opportunity of the second half came on 52 minutes, but John Baird's header from a corner was over.

A low shot by Regan Hendry midway through the second half also rolled past at pace, but Sons were holding firm. Another header from a corner, this time by Kieran Bowie, also missed the target.

In the final minute Jack Smith's header looped towards goal, but Brennan was up to it.

Such was the effort by his defence, it was only his second real save of the afternoon.

But it was the workrate of every player that ensured this result, which may just have sent out a message.

Raith Rovers: Munro; MacDonald, Dingwall (Allan 65), Hendry, Anderson, Spencer, McKay, Watson, Bowie (Victoria 78), Gullan, Baird (Smith 85). Subs: Thomson; Tait.

Dumbarton: Brennan; Quitongo, Langan, Neill, Carswell, Hutton, Scullion (McCluskey 90), McKee, Tumilty, McGeever, Crossan (Tierney 62). Sub: Pettigrew.

Referee: Alan Muir.

Andy Galloway