Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Hibs (4) v Dumbarton (0)

Tuesday 26th April 2016, Kick Off 7.45pm

Ladbrokes Championship

HAD Tuesday's fixtures taken place last midweek, their combination of results may have been cause for concern to Dumbarton.

Fortunately, they weren't.

Sons were well beaten 4-0 by Hibernian in a spirited performance which was topped and tailed by the concession of goals.

James Keatings, often a scorer against Sons for Hamilton Accies, inflicted most of the damage. Depending on whose version of events you listen to, he either scored two or three times.

He was credited with a hat-trick by the referee, but his 'third' was the result of a huge deflection off the unfortunate Kevin Cawley. The Sons man will probably be quite happy to give the goal to Keatings.

Anthony Stokes bundled in the fourth goal in the final minute of an evening where Sons battled hard, but could have lost by more.

Of greater concern will be the fact that this was the ninth consecutive away game where they have failed to score.

With the season's target having been met on Survival Saturday, not a great deal of damage was done.

But road trips are now following a familiar pattern which everybody hopes will end at Alloa in the season's finale on Sunday.

Hopes were almost as high as the spirits going into the Easter Road clash, following the win over St Mirren which confirmed Sons' place in the 2016/17 Championship.

But within 13 minutes they were misplaced.

After six of those minutes Fraser Fyvie's low through ball found Keatings, who made no mistake with a clinical finish.

Keeper Jamie Ewings was expected to be busy on the night and turned away Liam Henderson's free kick, before Paul Hanlon stabbed wide of a gaping goal.

However, after Ewings made a fine close range block from Martin Boyle, the ball was played back into the area and Keatings again found the net.

It looked ominous, but after Ewings made another fine save from Henderson, and the same player then shot wide when well placed, Sons got a grip.

Calum Waters connected with a free kick in the area, but his shot was blocked by the keeper's legs.

Then Cawley latched on to Paul Heffernan's header and turned to shoot on the edge of the area, but his effort missed the target.

Right on half time Hibs should have made it 3-0 when Lewis Stevenson squared for Niklas Gunnarsson, who miskicked in front of goal.

Instead the deficit remained at two goals, and if Sons could keep it tight in the second half, the next goal may have been vital.

They did keep it tight to begin with, but struggled to get the goal. Indeed, only a miraculous save by Ewings from Stokes, who looked set to tap in, denied Hibs a third.

He then kept out the same player from 20 yards before the moment that removed any doubt on 74 minutes.

Keatings shaped up to shoot on the edge of the area before Cawley's inadvertent touch carried the ball over Ewings and into the net.

Hibs threatened to increase the deficit from there, with Dumbarton running on empty following their efforts three days before.

Henderson twice missed the target while Ewings saved well from Stokes and Boyle. All Sons managed in response was a Tom Walsh cross which just missed a touch from Jon Routledge.

But it was 4-0 in the final minute when Ewings pawed away Darren McGregor's header from a corner, but could do nothing to deny Stokes.

Thirty-five down, one to go. Hopefully one more win, but even if not, the target is hit.

Hibernian: Logan; Henderson, Hanlon, Fyvie, Stevenson, Boyle, McGinn, Keatings, McGregor, Gunnarsson, Stokes. Subs: Virtanen; Gray, Fontaine, Handling, Dagnall, Thomson, Cummings. Booked: Stokes.

Dumbarton: Ewings; Docherty, Saunders, Buchanan, Cawley, Gallagher (Fleming 62), Barr, Waters (Walsh 75), Routledge, Heffernan (Nade 62), Wright. Subs: Brown; Taggart, McCallum, Lindsay. Booked: Wright, Gallagher, Routledge.

Referee: Don Robertson.

Crowd: 6,686.

Andy Galloway