Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (3) v Raith Rovers (3)

Saturday 21st November 2015, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

IF you were one of the 707 people there, have you worked it out yet?

How Dumbarton, from staring so heavily down the barrel of defeat, could turn this game against Raith Rovers around to claim a point within 10 minutes?

At 4.35pm, many home fans would have been set to leave at full time relieved, if anything, that the game had only ended 3-0.

There was minimal sign of recovery from Sons as the Kirkcaldy side coasted into that lead through James Craigen, Mark Stewart and Scott Robertson.

But games end after 90 minutes, not 80. And as unlikely as it looked, the home side proved the merit of that statement.

Two headers within a minute by Stephen Saunders ended any thoughts that the game was over as a contest.

And after Iain Davidson handled Willie Gibson's shot in the area with three minutes remaining, Garry Fleming did what needed doing from 12 yards.

Incredibly the match could still have been won by Sons in unthinkable fashion as a Gibson cross then hit the post. Equally, defeat could still have been inflicted in a nerve-shredding goalmouth scramble.

As much as the first 80 minutes were concerning, the final 10 were worthy of recognition for the battling qualities shown.

On top of all that, Dumbarton broke what seemed to have become a habit of losing on the day of their Christmas night out.

The squad headed to Dublin for their festive celebrations after the game. Earlier in the afternoon it looked as if they'd just returned from them.

Three minutes was all it took for Raith to get off the mark, as Stewart played a low ball across goal and Craigen tapped home at the back post.

The first half progressed slowly but the visitors enjoyed the better of what chances there were. Gregor Buchanan's challenge denied Craig Wighton a certain goal while Iain Davidson headed over.

But a minute from half time, without a clear chance to their name, a hard task got even more difficult for Sons.

After a corner slipped from keeper Mark Brown's grasp, Stewart could hardly have had an easier task than to put the ball over the line from a yard.

Kevin Cawley was introduced at half time along with Fleming. Although the long-term impact was not foreseeable, some impression was made early in the second half.

From 20 yards, Cawley sent in a shot which was beaten away by the keeper.

However, the positive start to the second half did not last and on 58 minutes, Robertson made space for himself on the edge of the area and drilled home a low shot.

There were opportunities for Raith to extend their lead, as Mitch Megginson's shot was saved before Wighton's close range effort crashed off the bar.

Sons' response waited until 20 minutes from full time, when Fleming set Cawley up inside the area only for the shot to roll wide.

But with eight minutes remaining, Gibson's corner found the head of Saunders, whose effort registered one goal back.

That was greeted with minimal reaction from the home end, as at that point defeat still seemed inevitable.

However, two minutes later, suddenly there was optimism. This time it was Mark Docherty sending the ball into the box, and Saunders again powered home a header.

Within a minute Fleming could have headed Sons level but just missed the vital touch on Gibson's cross.

The screw continued to be turned and, after some deliberation, the referee ruled that Davidson's handling offence took place inside the area.

Fleming stepped up and Sons were level in a game where, five minutes previously, they had trailed 3-0.

With injury time imminent, Gibson's cross bent towards goal, with the keeper standing no chance, but hit the post and couldn't rebound for anybody to put away.

There was still time for Raith to salvage two points that looked so much like being theirs. Somehow, from a corner, a combination of efforts from Brown and Jamie Lindsay, on the goal line, prevented a fourth goal.

An afternoon which looked like being a damp squib had ended with drama of the highest order.

Dumbarton: M Brown; Docherty, Saunders, Buchanan, Gallagher (Gibson 68), Barr, Waters (Cawley 46), Routledge, Lindsay, S Brown (Fleming 46), Brophy. Subs: Ewings; Craig, Wright, Ross. Booked: Brophy.

Raith Rovers: Cuthbert; Toshney, Benedictus, McCord (Callachan 74), Stewart, Megginson (Petrie 70), Davidson, Wighton (Daly 88), McKeown, Craigen, Robertson. Subs: Laidlaw; Anderson, Matthews, Ford. Booked: McCord, Davidson.

Referee: Greg Aitken.

Crowd: 707.

Andy Galloway