Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dunfermline Ath (5) v Dumbarton (1)

Saturday 4th March 2017, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

IT isn't often that Jurgen Klopp is as good a man as any to sum up a Dumbarton game.

But listen to the Liverpool gaffer after his team's defeat to Leicester on Monday. Bad start, bad middle, bad ending.

He could pretty well be describing this game as well, at least from Sons' point of view. From first whistle to last it was, well, bad.

Dunfermline striker Nicky Clark put away three free headers before firing home his fourth and his team's fifth. The Pars' second of the afternoon was scored by Paul McMullan.

Daniel Harvie did well to put away a late consolation for Dumbarton, but the horse hadn't just bolted — it was in the next town.

This really wasn't the game for so much to go wrong. Sons started it knowing that a win could take them sixth on a day when they and Dunfermline were the only bottom half clubs in league action.

By the end of it, all that was left was the hope that it could all go right against Raith Rovers next week. Sons have bounced back from disappointing results already this season and need to do so again.

The first chance of the afternoon actually fell to Dumbarton, for whom Robert Thomson was unlucky to see a 20 yard shot punched away by the keeper.

That was after two minutes. Within another four, Sons were behind as Michael Moffat's cross found Clark in splendid isolation six yards out to head home.

After 26 minutes Clark was put through on goal by a through ball, but Alan Martin did brilliantly to rush out and deny him at close range.

But within a minute, he was fishing the ball out of the net again as McMullan bent home a shot from the corner of the area.

The same player then missed arguably an easier chance, firing over from another Moffat cross.

There then followed a series of chances for Sons which did not hit the net, but offered some hope. Thomson was again unfortunate when his header was blocked at close range, and from the follow up, David Smith too had his effort blocked.

Andy Stirling also tested the keeper, but his shot from the edge of the area was kept out.

There were more fairly promising signs at the start of the second half when Thomson's cross found Lewis Vaughan, but his header was wide.

After those opportunities, there was some degree of inevitability over what would happen next.

Clark was again unchallenged in getting his head to a corner, and via a deflection off Harvie on the line, found the net.

The game resumed the same pattern as before, with Martin saving well from McMullan before Dunfermline made it 4-0 on 80 minutes.

Clark again, header again, this time from a cross from the right.

With three minutes left the Pars striker switched to scoring goals with his feet, turning to fire home number five.

Harvie's goal a minute later was well taken, but a drop in the ocean.

By that point, the journey home was already one to be spent thinking about how to respond.

It is still in Dumbarton's hands to stay up, but any lingering doubt over the importance of next week's home game with Raith is surely removed.

Dunfermline Athletic: Murdoch; Talbot, Geggan, Wedderburn (Spence 73), Moffat (Reilly 75), Ashcroft, McMullan, Higginbotham, Herron (McCabe 57), Morris, Clark. Subs: Hutton; Fordyce, Paton, Cardle.

Dumbarton: Martin; Docherty (Lang 73), Buchanan, Carswell (Stanton 27), Thomson, Harvie, Barr, Smith, Stirling, Vaughan, Nade (Fleming 75). Subs: Ewings; McCrorie, Gallagher, Prior.

Andy Galloway