Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dumbarton (2) v Rangers Colts (1)

Wednesday 16th August 2017, Kick Off 7.45pm

Irn-Bru Cup

IT was potentially another banana skin waiting to fell Dumbarton, but in the end Sons eased to a 2-1 victory against Rangers Under-20s in the first round of the Irn Bru Cup at the Your Radio 103FM Stadium. They now look forward to welcoming Welsh opponents Connah's Quay Nomads to the Rock in round two.

As well as contending the opposition, both sides had to deal with the weather, too.

The pitch was in good condition despite rain throughout the day. But there was also a fair amount of water on the surface, not helped by two significant downpours after the break.

The opening period began in the best possible way for the home side. Within two minutes Sons were in front.

A foul on Calum Gallagher by the visitors' Aidan Wilson, right in front of the referee, led to the official pointing straight to the penalty spot.

Gallagher himself stepped up confidently to smash the ball into the right-hand corner of the net for 1-0, sending the keeper the wrong way.

A few minutes later Rangers U20s had a chance to equalise from a free kick just outside the area after an infringement by Andy Dowie. But thankfully for Dumbarton the ball skimmed harmlessly into Scott Gallacher's arms.

Rangers enjoyed a sustained period of pressure in the middle of the half, playing free flowing football coming forward – but without real bite to the finishing, despite some tricky runs at the defence from Serge Atakayi, among others.

On 21 minutes the visitors' Zac Rudden sliced a decent chance way past the post. Shortly afterwards Jason Holt shot past the upright from an acute angle after a fast breakthrough. Jamie Barjonas was also off target.

Just short of the half hour Rudden put a great ball through to Andy Dallas at the near post, but Sons goalie Gallacher got down well to make him shoot into the side-netting.

Dumbarton's Chris McLaughlin won a free kick on the edge of the area on 35 minutes, but fired the resulting free kick well over the crossbar.

The best moment of the first half came on 38 minutes courtesy of a fantastic Kyle Hutton strike. It crashed against the woodwork and was inches away from putting Sons two up.

That eventuality happened four minutes after the restart, when Mark Stewart latched on to a fine cross from McLaughlin to slide the ball past keeper Aidan McAdams at close range, making it 2-0 to Sons.

The second Dumbarton goal came just after gaffer Stevie Aitken's first substitution, which saw Ally Roy needing to be replaced by Chris Johnston.

The adjustments continued with Craig Barr giving way to Doug Hill on 55 minutes, and Gallagher going off in favour of Stuart Carswell (in a welcome return to first-team action) minutes later. Both moves were necessitated by knocks to the players.

In between times Tom Walsh and Gallagher had certainly caused trouble for Rangers U20s defence, but neither could quite get a shot away.

Then McLaughlin put a further free kick over the bar from a central position 18 yards out on 67 minutes.

Dumbarton started to look well on top as the heavens opened and torrential rain fell. But Rangers weathered both storms and fought back tenaciously.

On 72 minutes Ryan Hardie pulled a goal back for the U20s from a counter-attack, slicing diagonally through Sons' defence rather too easily.

Rangers then went all out for an equaliser at the end, Dallas coming close on 75 minutes, as the rain fell hard once more.

On 82 minutes Chris McLaughlin took advantage of a defensive mix-up between Rangers' Jordan Houston and 'keeper Aidan McAdams.

However, in the end he couldn't steady his balance and shot wide from an acute angle, missing an open goal.

For the remaining time Dumbarton held solid to see out a well-worked 2-1 victory and secure their place in the next round of the Irn Bru Cup.

Manager Aitken's post-match summary was crisp. “I knew what to expect. We knew Rangers were going to come down, a full-time club {with] a lot of good players who have played in the first team, and we knew it wasn't going to be easy.

“The game planned out the way we thought it was going to. They had a lot of the ball and we were getting them on the counter attack. If we were careful in the final third we would have scored more goals.”

Dumbarton: Gallacher (Carswell 59), McLaughlin, Dowie, Gallagher, Wilson, Stewart, Walsh, Wardrop, Hutton, Roy (Johnston 46), Barr (Hill 55). Subs Not Used: Smith, Ewings Handling, Nade.

Rangers U20s: McAdams, Houston, Beerman, Holt, Wilson, McCrorie, Atakayi, Barjonas, Hardie, Rudden, Dallas. Subs: Wright, Plamer, Thomson, Shields, Gray, Zeta, Findlayson.

Referee: Gavin Ross. Assistants: Alasdair Ross, Andy Taylor.

Attendance: 389.

Simon Barrow