Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (0) v Dunfermline Ath (4)

Saturday 26th August 2017, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

WELCOME to the 2017/18 Championship.

After three close-run games, Dumbarton have now discovered how unforgiving it can be.

Where a positive, all-action performance by the opposition doesn't really mix with your own failure to bring your A game.

Home fixtures against Dunfermline have never been a strong point for Sons - there wasn't a player on the pitch on Saturday who was alive when the Pars last lost in G82, in 1981.

But that, or any other statistic, didn't make this easier to stomach. From Joe Cardle's opener on five minutes to Andy Ryan's fourth for the visitors in stoppage time, this was a sobering experience if you were of a Dumbarton persuasion.

In between those two goals came others from Kallum Higginbotham - from a Sons corner - and Nicky Clark. Skipper Andy Dowie was also dismissed for two bookings.

The Pars showed why they have already recorded some notable results this season. They were excellent.

However, it was hoped that they would have more to deal with than they got.

Cardle scored a hat-trick against Dumbarton on the first day of last season and was on the scoresheet again with only five minutes gone of this game.

Sam Wardrop valiantly cleared off the line from Callum Smith, and then Cardle from the rebound, but couldn't stop the latter putting the third shot away.

The same player then forced Scott Gallacher into a fine save with a bending 20-yard shot.

And then it happened on 26 minutes. Dumbarton had a corner on the right hand side.

A clearance and four or five passes later, the ball reached Higginbotham, who stuck away a second goal for Dunfermline.

Dumbarton's response was a Tom Walsh effort which saw him beat two challenges but shoot over.

They were then denied a penalty on the hour mark when Ally Roy looked to be fouled in the area by Callum Morris. The referee showed no interest.

The second half had seen a gradual improvement, if the lack of goal threat remained, but Craig Barr did go close on 71 minutes with a header which hit the bar.

But five minutes later came an almost surreal passage of play. Pars sub David Hopkirk was through on goal with two unopposed team-mates in support, but went for goal himself - only to roll the ball wide.

Sons fans had barely removed their heads from their hands when they saw Dowie walking after picking up a second booking for a foul in the build-up.

With five minutes left Barr, just named man of the match, went close again, this time with a header which the Pars keeper turned wide.

However, three minutes later it was 3-0. Clark is another player who loves playing against Sons and needed only 10 minutes on the pitch to register another goal, with a header at the back post from Hopkirk's cross.

He then turned provider in injury time, backheeling the ball for Ryan to crash home goal number four.

Dumbarton: S Gallacher; McLaughlin, Dowie, Carswell, Walsh (Wilson 83), Wardrop, Hutton, Roy (C Gallagher 73), Handling (Smith 16), Nade, Barr. Subs: Ewings; Johnston, Hill, Prior. Booked: Walsh, Smith. Booked and sent off: Dowie.

Dunfermline Athletic: Murdoch; Williamson, Morris, Ashcroft, Higginbotham, Wedderburn, McManus (Ryan 63), Cardle (Clark 78), Talbot, Smith (Hopkirk 63), Shiels. Subs: Gill; Martin, M'Voto, Paton. Booked: Wedderburn.

Referee: Barry Cook.

Andy Galloway