Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (2) v Stranraer (0)

Saturday 5th November 2022, Kick Off 3pm

cinch League Two

THEY saved the best for last. In each half.

Dumbarton were not always comfortable against Stranraer. It took some strong resistance to stop the Blues raining on Sons' bonfire for the second time this season.

Sons keeper Brett Long certainly did little to add himself to James Hilton's Christmas card list. The Stranraer talisman and joint top league scorer was continually aiming for goal, but found Long on top form each time.

It was Dumbarton's seventh clean sheet in the league this season, and one that Long and his defenders had to work hard to get.

But the old saying that it is not how you start, it is how you finish, was never truer than at the end of each half in this game.

When Gregor Buchanan rolled home the opening goal with the final meaningful kick of the first half, Sons had something to defend.

And they did defend it, until a Stranraer corner in injury time was hacked clear. Ryan Wallace released Michael Garrity, and the Morton loanee ran in to round the keeper and seal the three points.

After three wins in a row, it feels like things are back on track. But it was a reminder of just how important it is that Dumbarton keep working hard.

With seven minutes gone, Hilton did actually have Long pretty much beaten, but his deflected shot went over off the top of the bar.

Eleven minutes later, a big opportunity with Sons' first real attack. After a Stranraer defender missed Gregg Wylde's cross, the ball fell to Ross MacLean, but he hit the crossbar at close range.

Soon after that, Kalvin Orsi's low cross found Gregg Wylde, but the keeper blocked. It felt like a goal was coming if things progressed as they were doing.

But after Long saved a fast-moving Hilton shot, things dropped and the rest of the first half was a bit of a scrap.

That was until a Joe McKee free kick was sent into the area and the visitors struggled to clear their lines. Buchanan pounced and found the corner.

The second half started similarly scrappily, but once Stranraer regained their rhythm they took a bit of stopping.

Aron Lynas hacked a swerving corner off the line before Long again denied Hilton, twice in quick succession.

The introduction of Wallace gave Sons new initiative, and he was unlucky to see a deflected shot trundle on to the post and clear with 20 minutes left.

He then made it a double by hitting the other post with a shot from the edge of the box.

Into injury time, and the theme of the day continued with Long once again saving from Hilton.

But after the resulting corner was cleared, Wallace sent Garrity through on goal to round the Stranraer keeper.

He took too heavy a touch in that position at Annan seven days before, but made no mistake this time, and confirmed Dumbarton's place back at the top of cinch League Two.

Dumbarton: Long; Wylde (Wallace 68), Buchanan, Carswell, Orsi (Garrity 72), MacLean, Lynas, McKee (D Wilson 72), Gray, Blair, McNiff. Subs: Broun; McGeever, Lynch. Booked: Lynas.

Stranraer: Scullion; Robertson, Girvan, Hilton, Gallagher (Eze 84), Hawkshaw (Walker 64), Forrest, McLean, Kouider-Aissa, McIntosh (Ross 64), Grant (Brady 81). Subs: O'Connor; Ellis, Watt, Dunn.

Referee: Graham Beaton.