Dumbarton 0 Dunfermline Athletic 2Author: Alistair Campbell Date: Saturday, 15th Sep 2012
The Pars kept up their good start to the season with a win, this time over bottom side Dumbarton. After an escape when a Lithgow header crashed off the underside of the bar, the Pars just about deserved their half-time lead when Kirk tapped home following good work by Falkingham on the left. A second goal at his second attempt by Stephen Husband had the Pars comfortably ahead and they could have scored more, with Wallace spurning a couple of good chances later on.
I usually like my trips to Dumbarton. Providing Rangers aren’t playing at home, then it’s a pleasant enough spin down the M8 and over the Erskine Bridge (giving Great Western Road a well deserved body swerve). Plus we’ve had some good results there over the years – I remember a Hamish French (M’Lord) hat-trick way back, plus a couple of 5s at the new stadium, including a pre-season friendly back in 2007. With the big game in Glasgow being Queen’s Park v Clyde, things worked out pretty much according to plan, travel-wise, it was down to the teams on the park for the rest.
Andy Geggan played back in 2007 for the Sons, and he took his now regular place in the centre-midfield for the Pars, alongside Stephen Husband and Josh Falkingham. There was no sign of Cardle (injured) or Barrowman (sick) so we had a couple of straightforward changes – Alex Whittle coming in on the left wing, and Andy Kirk partnering Ryan Wallace in attack. The defence also has a settled look with Morris again partnering Dowie at centre-back, with Jordan and McMillan at full back. Paul Gallacher was between the sticks. The bench was slightly weakened – Byrne and D’Angelo got call-ups, and they sat alongside Potter, Dargo and Hrivnak.
There were one or two familiar faces in the home line-up, most notably Steven McDougall who started in left-midfield. Alan Lithgow (centre-back), Mark Gilhaney (wide right) and Bryan Prunty have also faced the Pars a few times. The goalkeeping coach was also recognisable as Jim Gallacher, maker of over 600 appearances for the Bankies, and father or our Paul.
The Pars kicked off in their change strips and enjoyed the bulk of early possession, passing the ball neatly, but not demonstrating much of a cutting edge, although they did win a few early corners. Whittle’s first effort was poor but his second picked out Geggan but Andy put his header wide.
Their first real chance came in 14 minutes – Whittle crossed from the left, Wallace laid back to Husband who took a touch, before steering his shot out of the ground. Having survived the first quarter of an hour intact, the home team made more of an impression. McDougall got the chance to showcase his stepovers but Geggan interceded to give away a corner, and Morris was booked for tripping Lister in the centre-circle. Lithgow and Falkingham soon followed after a bout of handbags – Falkao was in strongly and Lithgow didn’t like it.
Gallacher will have impressed his dad in the crowd with a reaction save low to his left after Dowie had sliced his attempt to clear Prunty’s shot from the angle. Less impressive was the way that he and Jordan left McDougall’s cross to each other, nearly allowing Gilhaney to nip in between them.
Not long after, Morris hurried his clearance and blasted the ball over his own bar as Gallacher parried a shot. The corner went to the back post where Lithgow saw his header hit the bar, when for all the world it looked to be heading in. This gave the Pars a bit of a shake, and they created a couple of chances on the half-hour. First Whittle centred for Wallace , but at waist height and Ryan. toe-poked well over. Shortly after Wallace was sent clear, but rather than shoot, he elected to take the ball wide of the keeper allowing McNiff the chance to tackle.
The Pars did take the lead 4 minutes from the break. Whittle and Falkingham looked to be crowded out on the left-touchline, but Alex managed to squeeze the ball to Josh, his first touch megged Devlin and he put in a class ball along the edge of the six-yard box and Kirk was in the right place to poke the ball home. 1-0 Pars.
The Pars nearly had time for a second – a spell of sustained pressure saw the ball fall to Wallace with his back to goal, but Grindlay was equal to his spin and shot, tipping the ball past the post.
Half-time: Sons 0 Pars 1
There were no changes at the break, and after Fleming saw an early effort from outside the box clear the crossbar, the match settled down again, with the Pars having more of the ball. A second goal soon arrived. A ball through the middle was collected by Wallace, he held it up and teed up Falkingham. With everyone expecting a shot Josh unaccountably turned back before finding Husband at the back post. Stephen should have scored but the keeper blocked his first effort. However, Husband was quick enough to get the ball, put in a little shimmy to create space, and tuck the ball underneath Grindlay. 2-0 Pars.