Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (0) v Ayr United (3)

Saturday 15th October 2016, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

ONE of Dumbarton's most keenly anticipated games in what was always going to be a challenging campaign. And it all went so wrong.

As soon as Ayr United clinched promotion in May, this game was identified as one which was key to Sons' season.

Alan Forrest became the third player to score a hat-trick against Dumbarton in their last 12 games, taking advantage of two moments of slackness before converting a penalty to seal the match ball.

Just when Sons looked to have taken a step forward by holding leaders Queen of the South 0-0 in a spirited display, it was followed a fortnight later by two back.

From the start Sons were punished for bad mistakes by a busy and creative Ayr side.

The first quarter of the league season has now finished with Dumbarton on six points. It is a ratio they will hope to improve upon in the second quarter, and will have to over the rest of the campaign if they are to achieve their goal.

The Honest Men are in the middle of a great run and took only three minutes to gain control of a game they too would feel is important to their chances of survival.

A poor pass in midfield was intercepted, with Gary Harkins' initial shot turned away by Alan Martin, but Forrest was there to put the loose ball away at close range.

Josh Todd went close to equalising after 18 minutes with a shot which was deflected off target, but errors meant they continued to run the risk of more goals being conceded.

Brian Gilmour's lob went just wide, while Harkins had a bending shot saved. These chances were the results of Ayr again stealing possession.

Sons survived through to half time one goal down, and made a promising start to the second half. A Joe Thomson shot was deflected wide, and from the resulting corner the ball fell to Darren Barr, who shot over.

Then they won a free kick in a threatening position after 50 minutes. It resulted in a goal for the visitors.

Ayr cleared and broke upfield, with possession again cheaply surrendered by Sons. Having won it, Harkins squared for Forrest and, with Martin out of his goal, the striker couldn't miss.

Eleven minutes later the collapse continued when Daniel Harvie fouled Nicky Devlin in the area. Only one man stood a chance of grabbing the ball, and Forrest snapped up his hat-trick.

Sam Stanton was unlucky to have a shot saved after cutting inside from the right, but Ayr were never knocked from their perch on top of the game.

Indeed, Kevin Nisbet could have made it four, only for Martin to save smartly from close range.

The final chance of a consolation goal came when Robert Thomson headed Craig Pettigrew's cross over at close range.

Dumbarton: Martin; Pettigrew, Docherty, J Thomson (Fleming 64), Stevenson, Todd (McCallum 64), R Thomson, Stanton, Harvie, Barr, Smith (Stirling 46). Subs: Ewings; Buchanan, Wright.

Ayr United: Fleming; Devlin, Gilmour, Murphy, Crawford, Forrest (Donald 73), Harkins (McGuffie 78), Cairney (Nisbet 66), Meggatt, Balatoni, Docherty. Subs: Hart; Boyle, O'Connell.

Referee: Gavin Duncan.

Andy Galloway