Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (4) v Raith Rovers (0)

Saturday 11th March 2017, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

THE mark was there, waiting to be stepped up to.

All 27 previous Championship episodes, good or bad, had to be forgotten about. If you want to reach your goal, deliver when it matters.

In the end, Dumbarton didn't just step up to the mark against Raith Rovers. They went right through it and showed just why, although there is still a long way to go, they are in control of the survival race.

Robert Thomson scored two first half goals which were special for different reasons. His first was the club's 500th goal at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium, his second a stunning volley direct from a corner.

Sam Stanton and Garry Fleming added further efforts after the restart. As if all that wasn't enough, the goals came at great times - at the start and end of each half.

It was only the club's third league win by a margin of more than three goals in the current Championship era, the others being 5-1 against Cowdenbeath and Alloa in 2014.

The goals didn't always threaten to flow from Sons. What they were was efficient, battle-ready and ruthless when the chances came.

They hadn't had preparations all their own way. As well as needing to respond to last week's hefty reverse at Dunfermline, Dumbarton, for various reasons, were missing five first team players.

Up against a Raith side recently buoyed by their first win since October, Sons made a mockery of all the potential obstacles. From start to finish, they were in total charge.

Calum Gallagher, on his first start in a Dumbarton jersey, could have started the victory process on three minutes, but lost his footing preparing to put away Stanton's low ball.

Three minutes later, he turned his hand to assisting. When he cut the ball back from the right, Thomson could hardly miss from six yards.

Midway through the first half Raith managed to respond, firstly when Ryan Hardie broke through on goal only for Alan Martin to save smartly at close range.

Soon after, Martin produced another one for any 'Saves of the Season' DVDs. Jean Yves M'Voto's header looked in all the way, but the keeper did brilliantly to save - and then keep out Hardie from the follow up.

Seven minutes from half time an Andy Stirling pass found the Sons player you would most want to have a gaping goal to aim at. But Christian Nade was denied by the keeper at close range.

Thomson was also kept out with a 20 yard shot which was turned wide. But from the resulting corner, Dumbarton went two ahead.

Stirling sent in the set piece, and without the ball touching the ground, Thomson thrashed it in.

Two goals up against a rival team at the bottom? Sons had been there before...

But after 15 minutes to relax and reflect, they added to their advantage only two minutes after the interval.

Thomson turned provider, hanging the ball up from the back post for Stanton to bundle in from close range.

Ross Callachan for Raith, and then Gallagher for Sons, forced saves out of each keeper, while Martin also kept Jason Thomson out.

The game was meandering towards a 3-0 win for Dumbarton which was as convincing as it sounded. But there was one last hurrah in injury time.

Fleming had to do it all on his own after connecting with a long ball out on the left. He made it look easy by dodging two defenders, then the keeper, and slotting the ball away.

Hibs next.

Dumbarton: Martin; Lang, Carswell, C Gallagher (Fleming 78), Thomson, Stanton, Harvie, Barr, Smith, Stirling (Lyden 89), Nade (Prior 83). Sub: Ewings. Booked: Carswell, Stanton.

Raith Rovers: Penksa; Thomson, Callachan, M'Voto, Benedictus, Johnston (Osei 62), R Barr, Matthews (Roberts 66), McManus, Hardie (Skacel 56), C Barr. Subs: Coustrain, Thompson, Syme, Court. Booked: Thomson, McManus.

Referee: Alan Newlands.

Andy Galloway