Dumbarton v Stenhousemuir at Strathclyde Homes Stadium on 17.01.09
Irn Bru Scottish League Three Att 737
Dumbarton 1 [Chisholm 42] Stenhousemuir 0
This was another three points dropped but in truth anything could have happened in this game where the weather was the real winner making the game a lottery at times, especially in the second half when the storm heightened.
Stenhousemuir brought Scott Dalziel , Chris McGroarty and Paul Tyrrell back into a starting eleven that looked stronger than for a while. On the bench however there was an enforced change after the selection was made as Stevie Desmond withdrew after tweaking a knee in the warm up. Dumbarton were also forced to make a late change when on loan star Kieran McAnespie pulled out of the starting eleven with 18 year old Ritchie McKillen replacing him.
The Warriors started brightly and came close to opening the scoring in the 4th minute when a John Ovenstone header from an Iain Thomson corner flew just wide of the post and this was quickly followed by a Paul Tyrrell effort after he won the ball in midfield. Stenhousemuir continued to attack the home goal and Dalziel had an overhead kick from an Ovenstone throw in saved.
As the game progressed Dumarton began to edge their way into it without really threatening. The only time that Scott Bennett was called into action was to make a comfortable save from a long range Andy Geggan effort on the half hour.
With three minutes to go in the first half however the Sons took the lead through substitute Iain Chisholm who fired home from close range after good work from Paul McLeod and Derek Carcary had opened up the Stenhousemuir defence
The Stenhousemuir response was immediate and Paul Tyrrell fired in a long range rocket that David McEwan did well to tip round the post.
The second half saw the Warriiors battle against the wind and rain that steadily worsened as the game progressed and this made it a lot harder to try and breech the home defence. In the exposed setting of the Strathclyde Homes Stadium a passing game was almost out of the question and any passes or through balls from distance impossible for the Warriors midfield to achieve. This factor cut out a large aspect of Scott Dalziel’s game and he was replaced by Steven Hampshire on the hour.
Stenhousemuir to be fair tried to keep possession and be patient in the build up though many supporters were exasperated with the amount of time the ball was being played in short passes in their own half of the pitch as they looked for games to open up.
Against some teams this may have brought rewards but Dumbarton were too disciplined even at home to throw too many players into attack knowing that the onus was on the Warriors to try and get back into the game and thus the home side were quite content to play deep in midfield to protect the back four who marshaled by Gordon Lennon in his best position were solid anyway.
This exposed the lack of cutting edge in the Stenhousemuir ranks and there was little chance of a killer pass to carve the home side open. The fact that the wind was catching the ball even a foot off the ground made it difficult to try and vary the tactics too much though the occasional random ball rather than methodical play throughout may have brought an element of chance to the proceedings.
Not surprisingly after absorbing all the pressure Dumbarton began to come out of their shells in the later stages and Chisholm came close to doubling his tally in the 74th minute when he headed a Stevie Murray corner goalwards but his effort was cleared off the line by Willie Lyle.
This was a rare chance though from either side in the latter stages of the game that was a good advert for those advocating Summer football. This was borne out by the comments of both managers who praised everyone concerned with the game including the ballboys for sticking to the task in the most difficult of circumstances.
Dumbarton – McEwan, Canning Boyle [t], Lennon, Gordon, Clark [Chisholm 15], Carcary [Keegan 86], Geggan [b32], McLeod [Trialist 80]. McKillen and Murray. Subs not used – Gray and McGeown
Stenhousemuir – Bennett, Lyle, McGroarty [Thom 89], Smith [b35], Ovenstone, Tyrrell, Thomson, Ferguson , Dalziel [Hampshire 61], Brand [Love 68] and Motion
Referee – Bobby Madden
Assistants – Tom Murphy and Gavin Ross
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