It was a visit from the League leaders that would be the next task for Gary Naysmith’s Warriors. Stenhousemuir went through January unbeaten in the league, whilst Dumbarton were looking to extend their lead at the top of the table over Stirling Albion.
Naysmith made two changes to the side that defeated Elgin City 2-0 the week before. Captain Sean Crighton made his return to the Starting XI for the first time since Elgin City away at the start of December, whilst Tam Orr replaced Will Sewell up front. Dan Higgins was injured in the last week’s game so missed out.
The Warriors got the game underway but it would be Dumbarton to obtain early control of the afternoon’s proceedings. An early corner was headed away by Nicky Jamieson with the Warriors looking to break. Tam Orr raced onto a through ball but was hastily stopped by, the visiting keeper, Brett Long just inside the Dumbarton half.
Dumbarton had the first shot of the afternoon in the 5th minute. Gregg Wylde collected the ball about 10 yards or so outside the Warriors box. The Sons’ number 3 was able to juke a few Warriors players before turning and firing a shot towards goal. It had Lyle at full stretch but the ball hit the top of the net before bouncing over the wall behind the goal.
The Warriors looked upon O’Reilly to turn over the pressure from the visitors as the winger attempted a few crosses but Long seemed happy to come out and collect them.
Adam Corbett was booked in the 8th minute for a foul on Kalvin Orsi. The right back seemed to slip whilst trying to stop the winger from intruding the Warriors box but the referee deemed the foul to warrant a yellow. The resulting free kick was taken by Ryan Wallace. Wallace looked to catch out Lyle as he went for goal but the ball hit the bar and went out for a goal kick. There were appeals for a corner kick from the team in black but referee Jordan Curran wasn’t interested.
The Warriors has a good chance to take the lead. A Matty Yates corner was met by Sean Crighton. Crighton’s header seemed to hit off the back off a defender before falling back to his feet. The captain fired a shot towards goal but the ball hit the temporary gantry behind the goal, which was left from the Queen’s Park match the night before.
The two sides went back and forth without really testing each other for the next period of the game. It would take until the 28th minute of the game for the next big moment to occur. A long ball forward from Dumbarton was headed down by Corbett to Brown and then off to Miller. The midfielder would play a pass to Matty Yates, who spotted the run off Tam Orr. The striker struggled to get the ball under control at first but eventually beat off the challenge of Gregor Buchanan before driving towards goal. As he readied to take a shot, Stuart Carswell nipped in and gave away a corner. The corner was met by Crighton but the skipper volleyed wide with the back of his heel.
A lot of Dumbarton’s play seemed to come through Gregg Wylde. The left winger was voted as the Sons’ Player of the month for January and was the next player in line to take a shot. The number 3 was fed the ball on the wing before cutting inside and aiming low with a shot on his right foot. Curtis Lyle was alert and got down and saved the shot.
The Warriors piled on the pressure as they looked to take the lead in the final few minutes before the break. They had a few chances but weren’t able to trouble the Sons’ defenders. From a corner, Dumbarton looked to break but Adam Brown committed a foul and was booked in the process.
Brown saw a shot deflected into the path of Matty Yates. Yates’ first shot was blocked and his follow up effort was put wide for a corner. The corner was caught by Long before it could cause any issues.
As the game drove into stoppage time at the end of the first half, the deadlock was broken. Kalvin Orsi found himself with the ball on the right wing before firing a cross into the box. The ball was deflected into the path of Wylde, who lost his footing, before firing a shot from the ground towards goal. Lyle blocked the shot but saw the ball fall straight into the path of former Warrior Ally Love who slotted home from close range. You could say that the goal was against the run of play but neither keeper had been tested as such before the goal. The goal would see the Sons head into the break one goal infront. [Stenhousemuir 0-1 Dumbarton, Love 45+1]
HALF TIME – STENHOUSEMUIR 0-1 DUMBARTON
Dumbarton came out for the second half the stronger of the two sides and appeared to have doubled their lead just minutes after the restart. David Wilson got onto the end of the Ryan Blair shot and directed the ball into the back of the net. The celebrations were cut short as the linesman had his flag up, signalling for offside.
Next chance came in the 50th minute, Ryan Wallace tried an audacious volley but his shot was straight at Lyle.
Yates was able to pick out O’Reilly with pass. O’Reilly worked hard to create space for himself up against Lynas before firing a cross into the box. The ball smashed off the post and out for a goal kick.
Dumbarton would create a few chances over the next ten minutes but failed to trouble the Warriors.
In the 63rd minute, Stenhousemuir made a double substitution. Callum Yeats and Michael Miller were replaced by, the debuting, Jordan Lowdon and Michael Anderson, as the hosts went looking for a levelling goal.
The double sub seemed to turn the game in the Warriors’ favour. In the 67th minute, Orr was played down the left wing by Lowdon. Orr looked to attack centrally but Ryan Blair forced him to stick to the wing. Orr eventually got a cross away and it seemed to catch out Long as he quickly fired a hand up to tip the ball over the bar.
The Warriors created a number of chances but similar to Dumbarton’s spell before, nothing came of it.
Ryan Wallace was booked for a foul on Nat Wedderburn in the 73rd minute.
Just two minutes later, the Warriors had a glorious chance to level the game. Lowdon won a corner and took it quickly by playing the ball to Adam Brown. Brown looked to catch the defence slacking and fired the ball into the box, finding the head of Orr. Orr, left unmarked, couldn’t guide the ball towards goal and the chance ended in a goal kick.
Dumbarton made a double change to attempt to stop the host’s dominance. Ally Love and Gregg Wylde made way for Finlay Gray and Ross MacLean.
Just after the double sub, Dumbarton found themselves appealing for a penalty. Sean Crighton collided with Ryan Wallace, whether it was in the box or not is hard to tell but the referee waved play on. The Warriors broke away and won a throw-in deep in the visitors half. Gregor Buchanan picked up a booking for shouting at the referee, most likely about the decision just seconds before.
The Warriors went close again just a minute later. Corbett met another Yates’ corner but his header went well wide.
Another double sub for the Warriors was made in the 79th minute. Thomas Orr and Adam Brown saw their afternoons end whilst Will Sewell and Ross Forbes were brought on in their place.
Ryan Wallace saw his afternoon end shortly after as local lad Russell McLean was his replacement.
The Warriors had Dumbarton pitched deep inside their own half. Ross Forbes put a ball in behind the deep line, with O’Reilly chasing on. The referee blew up, as the winger collided with the keeper. Long came rushing out and punched the ball away, collided with O’Reilly in the process. The keeper seemed fine but went to ground following the whistle.
Both sides made their final changes with minutes left. The Warriors went more attacking as Kian Speirs replaced Nat Wedderburn, whilst Dumbarton brought on Peter Grant to replace David Wilson, looking to shut up shop with 5 at the back.
As the game entered the second period of stoppage time, Naysmith’s side threw everything at the Son’s stubborn side. A Lowdon cross found Corbett in the air but the right back headed wide.
As the seconds ticked away, it seemed that it would be only the second time this season that the Warriors failed to score in a game, the only game so far being the 3-0 defeat against Stirling Albion back in August. Will Sewell forced a corner in the 94th minute and the Warriors threw everyone forward, even Curtis Lyle, to attempt to salvage a point. The corner was swung in by Yates but was cleared to just outside the box. The Warriors tried to keep the ball in the box, whilst the Sons were desperate to clear. Eventually, Corbett headed the ball off to O’Reilly, who curled the ball over to Crighton. The captain flicked the ball behind him, with Matty Yates racing on, with no one on him. Yates got to the ball and fired a shot at the near post, off the keeper and in. Ochilview erupted as the Warriors snatched a late point. The wall at the back stood firm for 93 minutes but was eventually beaten, as the unmarked Matty Yates fired home for his 13th goal of the season. [Stenhousemuir 1-1 Dumbarton, Yates 90+4]
FULL TIME – STENHOUSEMUIR 1-1 DUMBARTON