Dumbarton Football Club - Sons of the Rock 1872

Dundee Utd (2) v Dumbarton (0)

Tuesday 3rd April 2018, Kick Off 7.45pm

Ladbrokes Championship

THE tunnel continues. The light remains dim and distant.

Dumbarton, as usual, never wanted for effort or endeavour in this clash with Dundee United.

What they lacked, for the 13th time in the last 15 games, was the ability to find the net.

Opposition teams continue to have less of a struggle to do so, with United securing victory via first half goals by Paul McMullan and Bilel Mohsni.

This game was always a big ask for Sons. It was their fourth game in 10 days and away to a top four side.

But the Arabs' recent difficulties in gaining results themselves had been well documented and, with the game still goalless, the opportunities were there to cash in. They weren't snapped up.

It seems largely neither here nor there now, but the gap to automatic survival is now 11 points. An extension of the season into May is inevitable bar the maths and could be confirmed this time next week.

Dumbarton will battle on to ensure it is delayed, or even, in near miraculous circumstances, it isn't the case at all.

But the mere fact that this was the 13th failure to score in 15 league games pretty much tells the story on its own.

After McMullan shot wide with an early chance for United, Calum Gallagher beat the offside to meet Danny Handling's through ball, but the keeper stopped at close range.

Four minutes later, the same scenario - Handling with the ball through to Gallagher. This time Mohsni did enough to stop him getting his shot away.

Then on 29 minutes, those missed opportunities were punished. A diagonal pass found McMullan in space on Sons' left flank, and he scored with an angled shot.

Scott McDonald missed a chance to double the lead five minutes from half time, but even closer to the interval another great opportunity passed Sons by.

This time it was David Wilson put through, but he too could only see the keeper save his shot.

And almost right on the whistle, a low ball into the box wasn't dealt with and Mohsni finished at close range.

A half that had the chances evenly distributed ended with one team two goals to the good.

Dumbarton made a positive start to the second half, with a fine cross by Andy Stirling going unclaimed six yards out.

Then Danny Handling charged down a clearance from the keeper, but he was denied in getting to the loose ball.

With tiredness creeping in, Sons faced more pressure in the latter stages. Sam Stanton blasted over after United played their way through before Scott Gallacher saved from Billy King, then McDonald again, and then King for a second time.

The substitution of Kyle Hutton with 13 minutes left ended a run of the midfielder playing nearly 21 consecutive hours of football. The last game where he was idle at any stage was against Dunfermline on January 6, which he missed altogether through suspension.

The remaining minutes were then played out. United were at ease but this was another tale of what might have been if chances had been finished.

Unfortunately, there have been too many of those.

Dundee United: Lewis; Murdoch, Durnan, McMullan, McDonald (Mikkelsen 87), King, Stanton (Slater 71), Flood, Smith (Fraser 57), Ralson, Mohsni. Subs: Deniz; Edjenguele, Robson, Gillespie. Booked: Ralston, Smith.

Dumbarton: S Gallacher; McLaughlin, Dowie, C Gallagher (Stewart 69), D Wilson (G Gallagher 59), Hutton (Burt 77), Froxylias, Handling, Dick, Stirling, Barr. Subs: Ewings; Walsh, Hill, Nisbet. Booked: Hutton.

Andy Galloway