Dumbarton 1 v 2 Stenhousemuir
Played at Strathclyde Homes Stadium on Saturday, 23rd August 2008 at 15:00
Dumbarton v Stenhousemuir at Strathclyde Homes Stadium, Dumbarton on 23.08.08
Bells Scottish League Division Three Att 660
Dumbarton 1 [Keegan] Stenhousemuir 2 [Motion 20, Shirra 90]
A superb Andy Shirra strike two minutes into time added on was the difference between the teams in this hard fought encounter at Dumbarton. For the first half the Warriors who had kept faith in the team that had started the second half of the game against Montrose looked to be in control of the game despite there being few goalscoring opportunities at either end. The Warriors however went into the half time interval with a one goal lead thanks to a Kevin Motion volley when he hooked the ball into the net from the edge of the box after Chris McGroarty has mishit his attempt. On the half hour an Andy Brand run and cross had caused consternation in the Dumbarton ranks but the advancing Stenhousemuir players failed to get the vital touch. Dumbarton had one good chance to draw level in the 31st minute when a cross ball found Fergus Tiernan in the box and although he had plenty of time he failed to hit the target with his effort.
Dumbarton had been lacklustre in the first period but when they eventually came out for the second half after what seemed an eternity they showed a far more positive frame of mind. They almost drew level four minutes after the resumption when a Raymond Logan header was deflected wide and from the resultant corner Iain Chisholm was denied by a superb point blank save by Kieron Renton. Dumbarton made a couple of changes in their attempts to get back into the game and sub Paul Keegan almost made the breakthrough when he hit the post from close range after Renton had initially blocked his header from a Gordon Lennon cross. It was not all one way traffic though and Scott Dalziel tested David McEwan with a drive following a Stenhousemuir attack but the keeper did well to push the effort round the post for a corner. In the 71st minute the Sons drew level when a Craig Brittain cross from the left touchline picked out Keegan at the back post and he dispatched the ball into the net. After that the Stenhousemuir defence was put under pressure as the home side went searching for the winner but the defence managed to hold firm and the best chance for either side came in the 90th minute when a Stenhousemuir attack saw Shirra with a good opportunity to shoot but he elected to pass inside to Stevie Ferguson whose shot was not hit crisply but still saw McEwan grateful to save at the second attempt. It looked at that stage that the Warriors had squandered the chance to win the game but a final sprint up the right wing by Willie Lyle paid dividends when his cross was met by Shirra who struck a first time shot that flew into the net past the stranded McEwan. There was still time for Dumbarton to launch a final attack and it was a nervy period until the referee blew the whistle for full time with the Warriors victorious.
It was not the most convincing of performances overall as the Warriors had struggled at times to be at their most fluent but in the end it is another three points and that is vital at this stage. Some
Dumbarton players slumped to the ground after the defeat and that in its own way told the story of how vital they felt that this game was, even at this early stage of the season. One of the pleasing aspects for the Warriors was that last season if they had been put under the same aerial pressure they would have capitulated and although they had some luck they were more resolute and purposeful in their play and got their reward.
Dumbarton – McEwan, Lennon, Brittain, O’Byrne, Gordon [b42], Clark, Gray [Gourlay 55], Logan [b59], Chisholm, Tiernan [Keegan 55] and Murray. Subs not used – Geggan, Wilson and McGeown.
Stenhousemuir – Renton, Lyle, McGroarty [b48], Smith, Ovenstone [b80], Shirra [b76], Desmond [Tyrrell 70], Ferguson [b70], Dalziel, Brand [Hampshire 75] and Motion. Subs not used – Thomson, Brazil and Bennett.
Referee – Brian Colvin
Assistants – Gary Sweeney and Rodney Marshall
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