Dumbarton 2 - 1 AirdrieoniansLeague - Promotion Play-Off Final 1st Leg
Wednesday, May 16th, 2012, 3:00 PM at Strathclyde Homes Stadium
Referee: Iain Brines
Bryan Prunty (29)
Tony Wallace (32)
|Jamie Bain (42)|
|Alan Adamson||Jimmy Boyle|
Mark Lamont for Mark Gilhaney (39)
Ally Graham for Pat Walker (72)
David Gray for Tony Wallace (85)
Euan McNeil for Cameron McDonald (46)
Ivica Vrdoljak for Jamie Bain (72)
John Boyle for Ryan Donnelly (86)
Paul Nugent (81)
Paul Lovering (38)
Nathan Blockley (61)
Paul Nugent (90)
Appearances & Goals To Date
|Stephen Grindlay (GK)||254 apps||-|
|James Creaney||62 apps||-|
|Paul Nugent||73 apps||-|
|Alan Lithgow||39 apps||4 goals|
|Tony Wallace||34 apps||2 goals|
|Martin McNiff||81 apps||3 goals|
|Scott Agnew||41 apps||13 goals|
|Kevin Nicoll||33 apps||1 goal|
|Mark Gilhaney||70 apps||17 goals|
|Bryan Prunty||40 apps||17 goals|
|Pat Walker||66 apps||13 goals|
|David Gray (sub)||14 apps||-|
|Mark Lamont (sub)||12 apps||-|
|Ally Graham (sub)||19 apps||2 goals|
|Youngest Player:||Martin McNiff (20 years 272 days)|
|Oldest Player:||Stephen Grindlay (30 years 72 days)|
|Average Player Age:||25 years 315 days|
|Domestic Players:||11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)|
|Youngest Player:||Ally Graham (19 years 22 days)|
|Oldest Player:||Stephen Grindlay (30 years 72 days)|
|Average Player Age:||24 years 243 days|
|Domestic Players:||16 (100.00 % of matchday squad)|
First Team Debuts
DUMBARTON take a one-goal lead into the second leg of the Irn Bru SFL First Division playoff final against Airdrie United, following an exciting game and a crucial 2-1 victory at the Rock.
A BBC Alba television audience and the second largest attendance ever at Dumbarton Football Stadium, 1,746 fans, saw Sons battle valiantly to conquer a resurgent Diamonds side. Both teams displayed thrilling, attacking intentions throughout the game.
The home side claimed their win courtesy of two very well taken first half goals from Bryan Prunty and Tony Wallace.
Airdrie pulled one back from the rebound of a saved penalty shot, but in an often frantic second half no one could add further to the score sheet and Dumbarton ran out victors to the obvious delight of an enthusiastic crowd.
Airdrie United appeared more menacing in the opening period of the game, beginning to marshal the ball in central midfield and boss the game up field.
The visitors' Nathan Blockley, who looked dangerous throughout, burst through early on after Mark Gilhaney slipped and he seized the ball. But Sons' Alan Lithgow and Martin McNiff, who organised the backline effectively during the evening, were on hand to block.
Dumbarton's first half chance was a lob on goal by the ever-industrious Pat Walker, starting in place of injured Craig Dargo. It was cleared by United 'keeper Grant Adam.
Walker was through again moments later, making a long run down the wing. But no one caught up with him, and his cross was collected by the goalie.
Then, in what formed a repeated pattern for the night, the ball catapulted straight up the other end of the park and Dumbarton soon found themselves under intense pressure.
After two corners in quick succession, Airdrie's Jamie Bain slashed the ball in low and hard. It was deflected just short of the goal, but flew over the crossbar – the first of several let-offs.
On 9 minutes Gilhaney lobbed on goal after good work from Kevin Nicoll, who put in another determined performance for Sons. But there was no real danger for the Diamonds, and as the visitors pressed back, Ryan Donnelly ran the ball out at the other end.
Then Walker was off again, set in motion by a clever back heel from James Creaney, who combined attention at the back with creativity further forward. Once again the ball outran play, however.
Airdrie United were still getting more of the ball and mobilising more quickly. A ball flying into the centre was headed out by McNiff as they claimed their fourth corner on 12 minutes. Sons were defending the set-plays well, though there were several heart stopping moments.
Jamie Stevenson's free kick, awarded for what the home crowd regarded as a strange decision against Creaney, who appeared to have been bundled off the ball himself, was cleared.
A penetrating run from Donnelly created a further Diamonds chance, but Sons 'keeper Stephen Grindlay, who put in another commanding performance, left the ball to float comfortably over.
On 19 minutes Dumbarton's Tony Wallace made a great run down the centre of the park and laid off to Scott Agnew, whose shot went just wide. Then big centre forward Bryan Prunty nearly forced Adam into an error, but the goalie managed to clear.
Blockley had an effort for Airdrie United from a central standing position 12 yards out. His scooped shot never looked like causing any problems, though. Then Bain and Donnelly combined, but the end product was tame once more. Sean Lynch also had a long, low punt from wide on the left.
Just before the half hour mark, somewhat against the run of play, Dumbarton's sheer determination was rewarded with the opening goal. Bryan Prunty latched on to a Mark Gilhaney cross before firing into the top corner of the net from 12 yards. It was 1-0 to Sons, and the stadium erupted.
Minutes later it was almost two when Pat Walker charged through the Airdrie United defence. He leaned back a little too much and his shot went well over, with unmarked Prunty screaming for a lay-off to his right.
The second goal came quickly, however. Creaney was fouled, and Scott Agnew's trademark curling free kick into the box was turned into the net by a fine header from Wallace. The Airdrie United defence was sleeping, and it was a classic training ground move translated into a vital 2-0 lead for Sons.
The visitors then mounted a massive and sustained series of assaults on the Dumbarton back line to try to get back into the match. Two corners and a long throw-in caused problems, but the defending was solid and Grindlay made two important interventions: a wisely timed punch-out, followed by a good save to deny the opposition.
Sons boss Alan Adamson made his first change of the evening on 39 minutes. He brought on popular youngster Mark Lamont for the busy Gilhaney, who had sustained a knock.
Another floating free kick from Agnew found Prunty, but his soft header went out with no likelihood of adding to the scoring.
Then just a few minutes before half time, when it looked as if Sons we're heading into the break two up, Tony Wallace pulled down Jamie Stevenson on the edge of the area. Jamie Bain's spot kick was impressively parried by 'keeper Grindlay, but the defence was slow to react and the Airdrie United converted the rebound by slamming the ball into the top of the net from a sharp angle.
Ewan McNeil replaced Cameron McDonald for the Diamonds as the second period got underway, and the visitors wasted no time in showing their intentions. An equaliser at that point could have been seriously destabilising for Dumbarton. The home side held their ground impressively, in spite of the mounting pressure.
David Lilley unleashed a powerful, dipping shot for United, producing an impressive, one-handed stop from Grindlay – who also came out with another great save from the onrushing Ryan Donnelly moments later. Sons were living on their wits and Airdrie United were applying the cosh.
Dumbarton then produced one of their best moves of the evening. A fast, cunning series of passes galvanised by Mark Lamont set up Scott Agnew in a central position. However, his fine, flashing shot went straight to 'keeper Adam, who turned it over.
At the other end, Nugent, Lithgow and Agnew made significant tackles to thwart the visitors. Then Jamie Stevenson wheeled round in front of goal to create a bit of space and shoot just wide.
On 64 minutes Mark Lamont worked his way through the Airdrie United defence artfully, but he could not find the final pass and his shot went over.
Alan Lithgow produced a fantastic, perfectly timed and full-stretch tackle to deny Blockley an excellent shooting chance 20 yards out.
As the game swung from end-to-end, Agnew laid a ball off to Walker, who appeared to have been pushed. There was a penalty appeal, though it was never likely to succeed. As the ball ran on Martin McNiff's header went just wide on the far post.
As Airdrie United pressed ever-desperately, they turned the Sons defence dangerously on the right, but a resulting shot went over the crossbar to the frustration of the vocal away support.
On 71 minutes Prunty broke forward for Dumbarton, going on a determined run. But the home side were looking slightly tired at this stage, and there was no support for him.
Ally Graham came on for the tireless Pat Walker on 72 minutes, as Sons tried to inject a fresh dose of pace to their attacking formation and claim another goal.
As Airdrie United mounted a further foray against Dumbarton's back line, Stephen Grindlay made another fine stop from a shot on the wing.
Graham teased the visitors' defence, but he collided straight into Kieran Stallard, who picked up the ball and puts Sons straight back under pressure once more.
The fourth official indicated two minutes added time as the 90 came up. Dumbarton held on effectively to achieve another impressive 2-1 win under some pressure from a resurgent Airdrie United.
The one dark spot at the end was that captain Paul Nugent, who had made some important tackles in the second half but had already picked up a booking, was sent off for a last-ditch challenge on Diamonds' substitute McLaren in virtually the last kick of the match.
Sons are now in exactly the same position as they were in the playoff semi-final against Arbroath, needing to hold on to a slender lead away from home.
This time the return leg is on Sunday 20th May at New Broomfield, and the prize is a place in the First Division for the first time in 16 years.
Match report by Simon Barrow