Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (1) v Hibs (2)

Wednesday 8th April 2015, Kick Off 7.45pm

SPFL Championship

A determined Dumbarton display was not enough to earn any points for the Sons against promotion hopefuls Hibernian in an action packed game at the Rock.

Sons' made two changes to the side who went down to a 3-0 defeat to Cowdenbeath on Saturday, with Chris Turner returning from suspension and Stuart Findlay recovering from a virus that kept him out of the match at Central Park.

The game immediately roared into life as Martin Boyle was played through in the penalty area by Jason Cummings. The on loan Dundee winger took a touch away from goal and then appeared to go down easily with Mark Wilson in close attendance.

As both sets of players howled for a decision to be awarded their way referee, Craig Charleston, was unmoved and allowed the game to continue.

Sons' forced a corner after a Chris Turner shot was charged down, but from the resulting delivery the Edinburgh club broke at pace through Scott Allan. With Sons' defenders struggling to get back he fed Farid El Alagui but the offside flag ended the move before the former Brentford hitman could get his shot away.

A real let off for Sons came after 16 minutes. Boyle was allowed time and space to cross from the right hand side and his inch perfect delivery was met by El Alagui but the experienced striker somehow blasted the ball over the bar from close range.

Minutes later Sons threatened. A Scott Agnew free-kick found Scott Taggart at the far post and his header caused havoc in the penalty box before eventually being hacked clear by a Hibs' defender.

The capital club then had the ball in the net but were again thwarted by the stand side assistant's flag. Jason Cummings squeezing the ball home after El Alagui's cross which was adjudged to have left and re-entered the field of play.

A series of corners then saw the home team create a great chance of their own. Agnew's floated delivery was headed down by Andy Graham and Mark Gilhaney found himself one-on-one with Hibs' 'keeper Oxley who denied him well with his legs.

Sons' number 1 Danny Rogers then had to be alert as he sprinted off his line to intercept a long ball from Oxley with his head and prevent an opportunity arising for the dangerous Cummings.

Then on 34 minutes the first of many big talking points arrived. Liam Craig hit the deck after what appeared, at best, minimal contact from Scott Agnew. Much to the disbelief of the Sons' players and supporters referee Charleston adjudged it enough to award a penalty in favour of the visitors.

El Alagui took responsibility but he was denied as Danny Rogers pulled off a magnificent one handed save low to his left, tipping the ball off the inside of the post before it was cleared to safety. It was the second time the Irishman had saved a penalty against Hibs' after denying Dominique Malonga from the spot at Easter Road in October.

The penalty save sparked the home team back into life, Mark Wilson and Garry Fleming combined well to free Mark Gilhaney but his cross was well collected by Oxley.

A stunning ball from Scott Allan freed Cummings in the box but an equally as exceptional tackle from on loan Celtic defender Stuart Findlay prevented the striker from getting a shot away at the expense of a corner.

It was then that the second moment of controversy was to arise. Allan's corner was knocked home by Paul Hanlon at the far post, and despite strong hints of a foul in the penalty area the goal was allowed to stand, giving the visitors a one goal advantage as the game headed towards half time.

Sons could certainly consider themselves unlucky to be behind in a first half where there was little in the way of clear cut goalscoring opportunities.

The second half began with an early change for Hibs' as Fraser Fyvie replaced the subdued Scott Robertson in an attacking switch for Alan Stubbs' men.

The influential Allan tried his luck from long range with a shot from all of 35 yards that Rogers watched ruffle the side netting. Garry Fleming tried the same for the Sons but Mark Oxley easily held his shot.

Then came a glorious opportunity for the home side. A powerful run from Stuart Findlay found Mark Gilhaney in space but Archie Campbell couldn't quite connect with the long serving wingers cut back.

The chances started flowing thick and fast for Ian Murray's side, Scott Taggart had two powerful long range efforts awkwardly kept out by Oxley whilst skipper Andy Graham saw his shot from a cleverly taken corner cleared off the line by Lewis Stevenson.

Then Dumbarton got the goal that their play had deserved, another powerful Taggart shot was spilled by Oxley and Mitch Megginson was on hand to tap the ball home from close range.

The home end erupted and the feeling that a memorable result could be secured began to creep into the minds of many sitting in the stands.

Three minutes later these feelings sharply evaporated. Chris Turner and Hibs' Jordan Forster came together in a 50/50 challenege and ref Charleston awarded a free-kick but Turner reacted and the two players went head to head.

A ruckus involving players from both sides ensued which resulted in the Northern Irishman being given his marching orders.

Despite the numerical disadvantage Sons were next to threaten. Mark Gilhaney took the ball beyond Liam Fontaine and found goalscorer Megginson with a pull back, this time however he could not direct his shot on target and it flew over the bar.

Then came a hammer blow to Sons' hopes of causing an upset. Allan — who had already assisted the first goal — delivered a wonderful ball from the left wing which Jason Cummings dispatched first time with ease beyond Rogers.

Despite the setback the home team didn't let their heads drop. Archie Campbell, who had the thankless task of leading the line against three Hibernian centre backs, did well to win a corner in a tight area which was spilt and then cleared by Oxley at his second attempt.

As Sons' began to tire the chances began to become more frequent for Hibs'. Another outstanding ball from Allan found Cummings who chipped a ball across goal to El Alagui but his effort sailed wide.

The outstanding Allan then tried his luck from distance again with a terrific long range effort which flew just wide of Rogers goal.

El Alagui and half-time substitute Fyvie both had further chances but neither player could hit the target.

Ian Murray made a tactical substitution with Jordan Kirkpatrick replacing the hard working Mark Gilhaney as the team switched to a 3-5-1 formation.

Andy Graham picked up a booking for a soft foul on El Alagui on the edge of the box and from the resulting free-kick Allan was inches from giving the away side a 2 goal lead.

Campbell was doing an outstanding job upfront and the diminutive attacker did well to win his side a number of corners which came to nothing.

Goalscorer Megginson was replaced by long throw specialist Scott Linton as the game neared its conclusion. His first action was to thrust a ball into the area which was cleared well by Liam Fontaine.

Danny Rogers then produced a wonderful save to turn away a well struck Fraser Fyvie shot from distance.

The excellent Campbell was replaced by on loan St Johnstone midfielder Dylan Easton in the dying minutes with Garry Fleming moving upfront. Fleming was immediately involved as he fed Jordan Kirkpatrick who forced a late corner which came to nothing.

Then with the last kick of the game Rogers pulled off another incredible save, somehow the on loan Aberdeen youngster managed to tip a goalbound Dominique Malonga effort onto the post before it was cleared.

The final whistle ended Dumbarton's hopes of recording a victory over Hibernian this season. The spirit, desire and quality shown in the performance however was appreciated by the home fans who applauded the team down the tunnel.

Sons are next in action this coming Saturday when they face 9th placed Alloa Athletic at Recreation Park where they will be hoping to end a recent slump in form.

Dumbarton: Rogers, Graham, Turner (s/o 57'), Gilhaney (Kirkpatrick 73'), Agnew, Megginson (Linton 83'), Taggart, Fleming, Findlay, Campbell (Easton 88'), Wilson. Subs not used: Grindlay (GK), McCallum, Petrie, Lightbody.

Hibernian: Oxley, Hanlon, Fontaine, Forster, Robertson (Fyvie 45'), El Alagui, Craig, Stevenson, Boyle, Allan, Cummings (Malonga 80'). Subs not used: Cerny (GK, Stanton, Handling, Dja Djedje, Dunsmore.

Referee: Craig Charleston. Assistant: David Watt, Gavin Thomson.

Fraser Clarke