Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (0) v Livingston (3)

Saturday 31st March 2018, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

WHOEVER said a week was a long time in football was spot on.

There's nothing like Dumbarton's last 180 minutes of football to bring you back down to earth after the club's first current national cup final for 121 years.

Just as against St Mirren four days previously, Sons were run ragged by a Livingston side who look set to be in the promotion play-offs.

The final 11 minutes of the first half were where all the damage was done. It was started by Lee Miller, added to almost immediately by Ryan Hardie and finished by Rafa De Vita.

The second 45 minutes were largely a procession which saw Aidan Wilson sent off with 10 minutes left after a second bookable offence.

There were some positives to take - most notably the return of Grant Gallagher nearly nine months after his injury in pre-season.

The others were the second half clean sheet and the final whistle.

Just like Livi, Sons' season looks set to be prolonged. A four-point gap to automatic survival at the start of the week is now an eight-point canyon.

Even two wins over Inverness CT now won't be enough on their own. All that can be done is to battle in the remaining seven fixtures and hope that somehow it is enough.

If nothing else, the aim is that momentum is gained ahead of the play-offs to avoid going down to League One.

Livingston were on top from the start as Jackson Longridge and Scott Pittman narrowly missed the target, before Dimitris Froxylias was unlucky with a 25-yard shot which went over.

Then, identically to Tuesday, things began to unravel quickly.

On 34 minutes a corner was only half cleared and when the ball was put back in the mix, Miller's shot spun off Scott Gallacher and found the net.

Two minutes later, Ryan Hardie got his seventh goal in eight career games against Dumbarton for five different teams.

He beat the offside to latch on to a through ball and lob Gallacher from distance.

Nicky Cadden was unlucky to miss the target with a shot from the edge of the area, but right on half time he needn't have been too concerned.

More casual defending allowed De Vita to get on to a header in the area, round Gallacher and finish at close range.

Some semblance of hope came early in the second half when Tom Walsh's shot was just wide from Andy Stirling's cross.

But there were no more such opportunities - indeed, Livingston could easily have emulated St Mirren's feat of scoring five.

Only fine goalkeeping by Gallacher denied Hardie after the striker ran in on goal, and then Josh Mullin hit the post with the goal gaping after more confusion at the back.

Gallacher also did well to save from Jordan Thompson, by which time Wilson had been dismissed for his second caution of the afternoon.

Kyle Hutton was unlucky not to score a consolation goal after a counter attack, seeing keeper Neil Alexander save with his legs.

But goals wouldn't have come any more consolatory than that.

Dumbarton: S Gallacher; Carswell, C Gallagher (Nisbet 69), Walsh (G Gallagher 82), Hutton, Hill, Froxylias (Stewart 46), Dick, Stirling, A Wilson, Barr. Subs: Ewings; McLaughlin, D Wilson, Burt. Booked: Carswell, Barr, Hill. Booked and sent off: A Wilson.

Livingston: Alexander; McMillan, Longridge, Buchanan, Byrne, Pittman, Hardie (Boyd 72), Cadden (Mullin 56), Miller, De Vita (Thompson 61), Gallagher. Subs: Maley; Jacobs, Robinson. Booked: Gallagher, Boyd.

Referee: Barry Cook.

Andy Galloway