Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (1) v Edinburgh City (1)

Saturday 7th May 2022, Kick Off 3pm

cinch League One playoffs

TAKE yourself back to 5pm on Saturday, September 18.

Dumbarton had just beaten Falkirk 2-1. It was their fourth victory in seven league outings and they had 13 points on the board out of a possible 21.

Hardly world-beating form, but enough to suggest that if it could keep going, or even be improved, who knew what could happen?

How likely did this seem?

Only five more wins in the remaining 29 games, and relegated by a team captained by a former Sons player? Having led Edinburgh City for only four of the 180 minutes across the playoff semi-final?

Kristoffer Syvertsen's opening goal after 59 minutes of this second leg made the unlikely seem slightly less unlikely. Within four minutes it was impossible again, after Ryan Shanley's equaliser for Edinburgh.

Dumbarton will now return to the fourth tier, 13 years after that glorious day when the late Gordon Lennon captained them out of it and lifted the league trophy at Annan.

It is very much hoped that Sons will mark their 150th anniversary by replicating that achievement of 2009. But it will be a lot of work.

And in the aftermath of the game that sealed their return to cinch League Two, it felt so far away.

As unlikely as a comeback was, had Dumbarton been able to finish chances it could very much have been game on within 15 minutes.

Gregor Buchanan and Joshua Oyinsan missed with headed chances while a Carlo Pignatiello shot missed the target. Goalmouth scrambles also failed to yield anything of much significance.

But City had the best chance of the first half, when Innes Murray shrugged off the defence's challenges to get in on goal. Fortunately Kieran Wright was able to block.

A shot by Paul Paton close to half time had pace, but not accuracy, and the situation was no better or worse going in at half time.

The midfielder tried again early in the second half, but with the same outcome, before Wright did well to keep Danny Handling out.

But just shy of the hour mark, the merest spark of hope. One substitute to another, Kalvin Orsi crossing for Syvertsen, and the forward headed home at close range.

If Dumbarton could retain that lead for a decent time then maybe, just maybe. Instead the lead lasted four minutes.

Shanley had too easy a way through the defence, and that was that. This was only minutes after Carlo Pignatiello had done brilliantly to block from Murray at close range.

The remaining 27 minutes felt, by and large, like going through the motions. The unthinkable wasn't happening.

It was merely a release when time was called.

Dumbarton may have a chance for revenge on Edinburgh City next season. Or they may return to Annan, where they played their last fourth tier fixture 13 years ago.

But they won't get both of them. And it won't be in cinch League One.

Dumbarton: Wright; Buchanan, Duthie (Orsi 57), MacLean, Pignatiello, Bronsky, Paton (Carswell 57), Wilson (McKee 57), Muir, Oyinsan (Syvertsen 57), Stanger. Subs: Ramsbottom; Boyle, Lynch, Wylde. Booked: Wilson, Buchanan.

Edinburgh City: Schwake; Hamilton, Jardine (Berry 78), Tapping, See, Handling (Brian 61), Logan, Shanley, Murray, Travis, Crane (Robertson 85). Subs: Leighfield; McIntyre, McDonald, Boyle. Booked: Tapping.

Referee: Gavin Duncan.