|Tussle at the Rock|
The opening minutes were very anxious for Sons, with two goal line scrambles and a probing free kick from the visitors' Bobby Linn being tipped on to the bar by Stephen Grindlay. The Dumbarton keeper was in action again minutes later, with a well timed sliding save at the feet of fast-breaking striker Craig Johnstone.
Sons tried to move forward, but were forced to clear their lines time and again as the confident Fifers pressed them hard. On 11 minutes Steven Hislop spared the blushes of the home side by missing a clear chance on the right.
Then when East Fife's Kurtis Byrne blazed a shot towards Grindlay's left post on 17 minutes it looked as if Sons were going one down, but a sharp rebound off the woodwork kept the game goalless.
On the half hour, quite against the run of play, Dumbarton were suddenly rejoicing as John McShane broke through and struck a sweet shot past East Fife's Baillie from inside the area.
More hard work from Sons nearly paid off on 38 minutes, when Martin McNiff hit the ball over from close range. But moments later the Fifers were level at 1-1, via a simply taken goal through the middle from impressive Hibs loanee Byrne.
As Sons came back again, Jon McShane struck the bar with a header minutes before half time. After the break Sons found themselves in front again almost immediately, thanks to an own goal from Scott Durie, as he attempted a pass-back under pressure.
Sons' somewhat charmed life was built on hard work though, with Keiran Brennan narrowly failing to latch on to a fine long cross from Nicky Devlin on 57 minutes.
East Fife's keeper Stewart Baillie was sent off just short of the hour for handling outside the area (pictured), as Dumbarton pressed forward again. But the home side were unable to capitalise on the resulting free kick. The Fifers were down to nine men on 68 minutes, when Stewart Murdoch was red carded for a second offence of kicking the ball away after a stoppage.
The visitors' substitute keeper then made a fine high save from a Kiernan piledriver, and suddenly Sons were in the ascendancy. Devlin almost scored the goal of the season on 74 minutes, threading artfully through the East Fife defence in Brazilian style, before pushing the ball harmlessly wide.
As full time drew nearer Stephen Grindlay pulled off a remarkable point blank range save following an inswinging Fifers corner.
Substitute Iain Chisholm almost made it three for Sons at the end, before Mark Gilhaney finally did so, confidently rounding the keeper to clinch an invaluable victory at the Rock — and then producing another to make it even more remarkable 4-1.