Stenhousemuir v Dumbarton at Ochilview Park, Stenhousemuir on 13.10.09
Stirlingshire Cup Final Att 321
Stenhousemuir 0 Dumbarton 2 [Hunter 48, McNiff 70]
After a poor run in the league the final of the Stirlingshire Cup gave some respite from the rigours of league campaign and also the possibility of lifting a trophy at the same time. Both sides in this encounter played relatively strong teams which was surprising as they were due to play each other once again in the league three weeks hence. The Warriors although featuring some fringe players nevertheless had their full first team squad selected apart from the substitute keeper James McLennan who was drafted in from the Youth squads for the injured Scott Bennett.
The game was scheduled to start at 7.30 but kick off was delayed as a number of Dumbarton supporters were held up due to traffic problems and it was decided to give them more time to get to Ochilview. Despite this the majority of their fans were late for the start of the game. They missed a promising start by the home side as Pat Scullion tested Michael White in the second minute after bursting through the midfield before firing goalwards. This was followed by a powerful effort from Scott Dalziel that went wide of the target. The Warriors had the ball in the net after 14 minute when Craig O’Reilly chipped the keeper after it fell to him following a handball by Ben Gordon. To the relief of the Dumbarton faithful and the ire of the Stenhousemuir support the whistle blew just as O’Reilly was making contact to give the Warriors a free kick that they duly squandered. Dumbarton were slowly getting into the game and Chris McCluskey was called into action to save from Ross O’Donoghue in the 21st minute. White was the busier keeper at this time and he denied Dalziel clutching his header from an Andy Stirling cross moments later. There was a warning sign for the home side on the half hour when Roddy Hunter headed wide stretching whilst doing so and taking the ball away from the better placed Kieran Brannan. It was Stenhousemuir that came closest to breaking the beadlock before the interval though when a Kevin Motion corner was sent goalwards by Dalziel and only a combination of White and Gordon prevented the ball crossing the line.
The second period was just in its infancy when Dumbarton took the lead. The lesions of the first half had not been learnt and Stevie Murray picked out Roddy Hunter once again. This time the Dumbarton striker got the ball on target heading home though the ball went through the legs of Chris McLeod on its way to go. There was only limited resistance by Stenhousemuir after this and Andy Stirling was unlucky to see a curling effort go just wide. The Sons came even closer though when a long range effort by Scott Chaplain struck the bar in the 68th minute. They were not to be denied for long though as they extended their lead in the 70th minute when Martin McNiff headed home with Murray once again being the architect. The game looked dead and buried at that time but Stenhousemuir were given a lifeline in the 85th minute when Hunter was sent off for his involvement in an altercation with Robert Love. If truth be told it seemed harsh given that Love was not even cautioned when he was the first miscreant and both should have had the same punishment. Stenhousemuir pushed forwards after that but were caught on the counter attack and Michael Dunlop was denied by McCluskey when he only had the keeper to beat. Before the end Stenhousemuir had a goal disallowed for offside and a Kevin Bradley effort cleared off the line but it was a case of too little too late as Dumbarton held on to be worthy winners on the day.
Stenhousemuir – McCluskey, Lyle, S.Thomson [Brand 41], McLeod, Smith, Scullion, [I.Thomson 59], Love, Stirling, Dalziel [Bradley 59], O’Reilly and Motion.
Subs not used – Diack and McLennan
Dumbarton – White, Harvey, Smith, Dunlop, Gordon, O’Donoghue, Strachan [McNiff 67], Chaplain, Hunter [so 85], Brannan [Craig 76] and Murray [McLaughlin 76].
Subs not used – McKillen and Vojacek
Referee – Craig Charleston
Assistants – Iain Craig and Keith Sorbie
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