Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (2) v Ayr United (2)

Saturday 18th February 2017, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

THE funny thing is...had this result been offered to Dumbarton before a ball was kicked, they'd have been unlikely to refuse.

As the 90th minute was reached, though, such a scenario was unthinkable. Only it wasn't.

Injury time was entered with Sons leading 10-man Ayr United 2-0. Ross Docherty's first half departure had been punished by two well taken goals by Sam Stanton - his first for the club.

It was as comprehensive a 2-0 victory up to that point as you could see. Alan Martin had not had a save to make in a dominant display.

But then the added time happened.

Michael Rose's free kick was surely no more than a consolation goal. However, when Darren Barr fouled Jamie Adams in the area, Ayr had the opportunity to rescue what seemed, from their point of view, an impossible situation.

Craig Moore took it. A game which looked set to put Sons seven points clear of their visitors instead ended with the same gap of four between the clubs.

Disastrous? Far from it. Disappointing? In the extreme.

A win would have given Dumbarton a very decent cushion ahead of a tough run with only one home game in the next five.

As it is, they are still in control, and a reasonable points haul from that run is far from out of the question.

But part of doing that will be the ability to see games out. This was the ultimate lesson in doing so.

The first half saw plenty of effort from each side, but few clear chances. But Robert Thomson was unlucky on 26 minutes with a header from Andy Stirling's cross which rebounded off the post.

A minute later, Stirling was on the receiving end of a two footed lunge by Docherty. When the dust settled, the red card was waved in the Ayr man's direction.

Christian Nade and Stanton each generated a further opening, but neither finish was sufficient to unduly test the keeper.

Then early in the second half, Stirling sent over a low ball which Stanton looked set to tap home, only for Gary Harkins to intervene and clear.

However, on 62 minutes Stanton had the goal his team deserved. He took control of a through ball and, a few strides later, thrashed it beyond the keeper.

Thirteen minutes later the lead was doubled. A Stirling free kick was headed by Thomson in the direction of Stanton, who drilled home his second of the day, and of his stay with Sons.

As the remaining minutes went by, to all intents and purposes Dumbarton were home and hosed. As long as Ayr weren't given any opportunities to gain a foothold.

They did when Rose's free kick deflected out of the reach of Martin and into the bottom corner.

And then, with fingers crossed in the home end that the final whistle was imminent, Barr's challenge on Adams was punished. Moore has now scored vital late goals at Dumbarton for Cowdenbeath, Motherwell (in a friendly) and Ayr.

It was what it was. But it wasn't what it should have been.

Still Sons hold the advantage in the race for a confirmed Championship place next season.

Dumbarton: Martin; Docherty, Buchanan, Carswell, Thomson, Stanton (Vaughan 83), Harvie, Barr, Smith (McCrorie 76), Stirling, Nade (Fleming 76). Subs: Ewings; Lang, Gallagher, Prior. Booked: Nade.

Ayr United: Fleming; Devlin, Boyle, McDaid (Moore 20), Harkins (McGuffie 76), Cairney, El Alagui (Rose 45), Adams, Meggatt, Balatoni, Docherty. Subs: Hart; Murphy, Wardrope, McKenna. Sent off: Docherty.

Andy Galloway