Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (3) v Dundee Utd (2)

Saturday 7th April 2018, Kick Off 3pm

Ladbrokes Championship

JUST when you think things are done and dusted, something comes along to make you think again.

But that can work both ways.

Dumbarton went into this game 11 points off automatic safety, having lost 2-0 to Dundee United four days earlier.

Eight points is still a heck of a gap with five games left. But suddenly there is a small amount of light at the end of the tunnel.

Eighth-placed Falkirk have still to play champions in waiting St Mirren twice, as well as visit Dumbarton.

But most importantly, Sons may have rediscovered the winning habit at the right time.

This was a deserved victory, but not many would have predicted how it would come about. Craig Barr hadn't scored in the league going into this game, but emerged from it with two, including the winner.

Calum Gallagher had opened the scoring, with Anthony Ralston equalising for United, and Scott McDonald doing likewise after Barr had scored his first.

It was with 10 minutes left that the centre half powered home a header for the second time in the afternoon to win it for Dumbarton.

It remains a very, very long shot that Sons could escape ninth place. But they did all they could in one afternoon. Now they have to do it another five times.

They were in command from the start and could have led after 11 minutes when Gallagher played Danny Handling in only for the forward to slice wide.

But only a minute later, Gallagher could hardly miss after Tom Walsh sent a low ball across goal which found him at the back post. Things were on the move.

A Chris McLaughlin free kick was on target but well saved before United showed some threat just before half time. McDonald had a shot deflected wide before Scott Gallacher used his legs to deny Matty Smith.

That pattern continued in the early second half and within five minutes the visitors were level. Anthony Ralston timed his run to meet Billy King's cross at the back post and head home.

But the level scoreline lasted only nine minutes. David Wilson sent in an excellent delivery from a corner and Barr overpowered the visiting defence to head home.

It was hoped that this time the lead would last, but that optimism temporarily vanished with 20 minutes left. Having already scored, Ralston turned provider, with McDonald finishing his pass at the near post.

It would then be fair to say luck was with Sons after that. After Ralston's low ball went across goal unclaimed, Paul McMullan hit the side netting with an angled shot.

Gallacher saved well from McDonald before the same player saw McLaughlin clear his shot off the line.

And with 10 minutes left it was third time lucky for Dumbarton. Another Wilson corner offered hope, but this time was headed back in his direction.

His second effort found Barr, who once again made no mistake with another powerful header.

Things were seen out from there, with United having plenty of the ball but rarely threatening a third equaliser.

On it goes. This just might have been lift-off.

Dumbarton: S Gallacher; McLaughlin (Burt 77), Dowie, C Gallagher (Stewart 87), D Wilson, Walsh, Hutton, Handling (G Gallagher 67), Dick, Stirling, Barr. Subs: Ewings; Hill, Froxylias, Nisbet. Booked: Dick.

Dundee United: Lewis; Murdoch, Scobbie, McMullan, McDonald, King, Stanton, Flood, Smith (Mikkelsen 63), Ralston, Mohsni. Subs: Donaldson; Edjenguele, Slater, Robson, Gillespie, Mason. Booked: Flood.

Referee: Steven McLean.

Andy Galloway