Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (1) v Stirling Albion (2)

Saturday 9th July 2022, Kick Off 3pm

Premier Sports Cup

WELCOME back to cinch League Two - or at least games against opposition from the division.

If it carries on like this, Dumbarton's milestone season will not have the desired ending.

Sons and Stirling Albion disappeared down the tunnel at half time after a tepid first half with the clearcut chances evenly shared.

They re-emerged with only one team in the contest. As soon as Robert Thomson headed the visitors in front, the outcome of this opening Premier Sports Cup tie was hardly ever in doubt.

Even more so when Kieran Moore doubled Stirling's lead against a Dumbarton side who spent the second 45 minutes toiling.

When Sons did score, it was in bizarre circumstances. Jordan McGregor's passback from distance rolled against the post and Ross MacLean simply could not miss to give the home side just some hope for the remaining four minutes.

But the contest had the ending it deserved. The main element of Dumbarton's season starts on Saturday, July 30, against the same opposition, but they were not the team who looked ready for the new season.

The game had all the hallmarks of an early season encounter before Sons made some headway around the half hour mark.

When MacLean sent a low ball in, the ball broke for Ryan Wallace, but his placed shot was pushed wide by the keeper.

Seven minutes from half time, David Wilson was in on goal, but with two unmarked team-mates looking for a pass, he bent his shot wide.

If this pointed to Sons being on top at half time, it was soon switched. Thomson made space in the area and cracked a shot off the bar with three minutes left of the first half.

Then Brett Long, with his Dumbarton career 43 minutes old, had one for the highlights reel. Danny Denholm looked certain to head home at close range, but the Sons keeper somehow diverted his effort wide.

Early in the second half, another MacLean assist could have yielded the opening goal. Declan Byrne met it, but could not adjust and his shot was saved.

And straight from the resulting kick downfield, Stirling led. The ball was fed high into the area from the left hand side and Thomson was there to finish with a close range header.

It had been coming, and so was a second for the visitors. It duly arrived on 69 minutes when quick play and some slack defending allowed Moore to run in to finish.

The game was over as a contest, but with four minutes remaining came the most bizarre lifeline for Sons.

A breakdown in communication between McGregor and his goalkeeper in passing the ball back resulted in the ball rolling against the post.

MacLean won the race with the keeper to get to the loose ball, and bundled it home.

But while it means nothing towards the main goal of the campaign, to put it mildly, this was not the prelude Sons wanted to the new league season.

Dumbarton: Long; Wylde, Buchanan, Carswell, D Wilson (Gray 86), MacLean, Lynas, McKee (Orsi 60), Byrne (C Wilson 69), McNiff, Wallace. Sub: Broun. Booked: Wylde, MacLean, C Wilson.

Stirling Albion: Currie; Clark, McLean, McGregor, Cummins, Dunsmore, Carrick (McGeachie 90), Denholm (Cooper 83), Banner, Moore, Thomson. Subs: Law; Wyles, Creaney, Greenhorn, Harrower, Curtis, Lamont. Booked: Cummins.

Referee: Greg Soutar.