Saturday, 27 December 2008

Good news for Dumbarton

I was about to title this piece 'fearful symmetry', for reasons connected to last week's away defeat at Annan Athletic (which I made the trip up from Birmingham to see). But over the past week, notwithstanding our own failings, results around us have gone in Dumbarton's favour.

The upshot is that, in spite of the frost-occasioned postponement of today's home clash with bottom club Elgin City (which should have been three points in the bag, though you can never tell), Sons still lie in third place in the Irn-Bru Scottish Football League Championship Third Division... even with the patchy form of late. Berwick did us a favour by winning against Montrose this afternoon, leaders Stenhousemuir dropped two more points against Annan themselves, and we have a game in hand over the Shire.

Best placed for top spot at the moment are Cowdenbeath. It was they I saw robbed of a point at the Rock in September, when Dumbarton grabbed a very gratifying 2-1 victory on the edge of extra time. But the same fate befell the Sons at Galabank last Saturday, after a lacklustre performance from both sides in appalling conditions left the affair balanced at 1-1. Thus the unpleasing symmetry. To compound my misery, a series of public transport woes meant that I didn't make it back home until gone 1am.

But it was a good day out overall and great to see the Sons crew. I'd have been far more forlorn had the match been postponed in the morning... which would have meant being stuck in Carlisle for 8 hours awaiting a fixed-time advance return train.

Overall, it looks as if other sides in the Third Division have sussed the Sons' 4-4-2 game plan now, and greater adaptability is needed. Even so, that was only the third defeat for Dumbarton in 16 league games. We cannot afford more slip-ups against teams below us, of course. But the failure to convert a number of draws into wins may prove the more decisive factor later in the season. I still think we'll make the play-offs...

[Picture: (c) Donald Fullarton. Ross Clark's penalty against Annan. I was behind the goal, soaking but happy.]

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