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DUMBARTON 1 : 0 QUEEN OF THE SOUTH
26th July 2003
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There's no point in claiming that this was anything other than a poor performance at Dumbarton today. Easily the poorest of the pre-season showings and with a string of striking injuries, there were very few positives to come out of the game. From my own point of view though I have to first give credit to Scotland's No 1 physio, Mr Kenny Crichton. I ruptured my ankle ligaments at five-a-sides on Monday night (or more accurately someone helpfully ruptured them for me!) and could barely walk early in the week. However, a dose of treatment from KC's magic hands after the Darlington game put me back on my feet again, albeit with a pronounced limp. Perhaps the most unusual inhabitant yet of the "Casualty Room"! It's perhaps a good job I got in early. It looks like he might have his hands full next week.
Anyway, back to today's game. It was a very much changed side that took the field to start. Colin Scott appeared in goal for the first time this season following his knee surgery in the summer. In front of him, Paddy Atkinson and Derek Allan stepped into the full back roles with Paton dropping to the bench and McAlpine moving forward to left midfield in place of Burke, also on the bench. Sandy Hodge replaced Bagan in the middle of the park whilst Emilio Jaconelli got his first start in favour of Sean O'Connor to partner Lyle. Dodds, Coates, Bagan, O'Connor, Burke and Paton were joined on the bench at last by Steve Bowey, back from his honeymoon.
Quality bench, Coates, Bowey, O'Connor, Paton, Dodds, Bagan and Burke
Dumbarton were the quicker out of the blocks and after just 4 minutes, Neil Collins headed just wide from a corner kick having out-jumped Aitken. A minute later, from a corner from the other side, Flannery's looping header was cleared off the line by McAlpine with Scott looking none too comfortable. It was 12 minutes in before we even troubled Grindlay in the home goal when Derek Lyle ran at the defence before shooting low from 20 yards. It was a reasonably comfortable save for the keeper though. In the 20th minute, Joe McAlpine fizzed a half volley wide of the right post after a corner was cleared out to him on the edge of the penalty area.
Willie Gibson looks to set up an attack
After 39 minutes, a defensive lapse from the home side allowed Jaconelli to set up Hodge for a shot from the left side of the penalty box which seemed to miss the target only narrowly. A minute later, McAlpine was only just over the top with a fine effort from 25 yards out. However, this was the last action for Jaconelli as he was replaced with Craig Coates, obviously feeling a knock.
JC made three more changes at half time in a bid to liven up the side. Dodds replaced Scott in goal whilst Bagan and Burke replaced McColligan and Atkinson. That meant Sandy Hodge switching into the left back role. Again though Dumbarton were first into the attack with Craig Brittain's fine run down the left setting up Ian Russell for a decent effort after 51 minutes. Two minutes later though Neill Collins picked up the first booking of the pre-season for scything down Craig Coates as the youngster knocked the ball past him. It was a pretty cynical challenge and ultimately meant the end of the game for Coates though he soldiered on for a few minutes with a shoulder injury presumably sustained in the fall.
Dumbarton came closest to scoring in 57 minutes when Russell had a strike from the edge of the box which hit the right post with Dodds stranded. The rebound came out to Paddy Flannery and his well struck effort was brilliantly turned over the top by Dodds this time. Two minutes later, as we tried to get Coates off and O'Connor on, Dumbarton broke forward again and Flannery again brought a fine save out of Dodds. Immediately afterward though we were able to make the change.
On 62 minutes a fine piece of flowing football from Queens saw McAlpine switch the ball from left to right, Willie Gibson lay it off first time and Bagan strike from 25 yards out though Grindlay saved his effort without too much trouble. A minute later came multiple changes with the home side making no less than four. Former Queens man Steven Renicks came on along with Smith, English and Herd to replace Boyle, Bradley, Flannery and Russell. At the same time we brought on Bowey for Willie Gibson. Immediately after that Bagan's quickly taken right sided free kick saw Sean O'Connor's near post header deflected wide of target.
In 67 minutes we missed our best chance to that point when Bagan released McAlpine into the penalty area. Joe made the bye-line before playing the ball to Lyle standing right in front of goal about four yards out. Unfortunately though he didn't get good purchase on the ball and Grindlay was able to parry his effort away. It was his final action of the game as Dumbarton brought John Wight on in goal for the final 20 minutes. A minute later Renicks struck a snap shot narrowly past the right post from the edge of the box. In 73 minutes we made our final change with Eric Paton replacing Derek Allan at right back. Meanwhile Dumbarton's Craig Brittain hobbled off after receiving lengthy treatment and was replaced along with Bonar by Gary and Christie. When the game restarted Sean O'Connor was unlucky to lift a shot on to the roof of the net after curling it over Wight.
The longer the game went on it looked more like Queens would break the deadlock so it was against the run of play by then that Dumbarton finally took the lead with ten minutes to play. Jim Thomson and Isaac English clashed just inside the penalty area and, as Dodds came out to collect the ball at the striker's feet, referee Mr Boyle somehow managed to award a penalty kick from his fine position fifty yards away! John Dillon duly scored via the left goalpost though Dodds went the right way and was unlucky not to save it.
Two minutes later Bagan hammered a shot over the top from 20 yards after a neat flick from Lyle left him with a shooting chance. Three minutes later a fine move up the left side saw Lyle knock the ball on for Bowey bursting clear through the defence. "Bowser" drew the keeper and took it wide of him but knocked it just too far and was unable to turn the ball back on target from a tight angle. Finally, with just two minutes remaining, Sean O'Connor received a kick just below the knee and collapsed in a heap. He received lengthy treatment also but was not risked for the remaining time, leaving the pitch in the company of KC and Dr Downie but walking under his own steam.
Bowser can't quite squeeze it in
Five minutes with KC's Magic Hands and Sean walked away