Arbroath 4 - 3 Dumbarton

League - Second Division
Saturday, November 5th, 2011, 3:00 PM at Gayfield Park
Attendance: 723
Referee: Matt Northcroft
Arbroath v Dumbarton, Nov 5th 2011, Gayfield Park
Arbroath Dumbarton 

Goalscorers
Keiran McAnespie (21)
Stuart Malcolm (23)
Gavin Swankie (26)
Steven Doris (79)
Martin McNiff (51)
Scott Agnew (65)
Martin McNiff (83)

Team Managers
Paul Sheerin Alan Adamson

Starting Eleven
Darren Hill
Mark Baxter
Stuart Malcolm
Craig Wedderburn
Kieran McAnespie
Gavin Swankie
Lee Sibanda
Carrol Monti
Josh Falkingham
Brian Kerr
Steven Doris
Stephen Grindlay
Alan Lithgow
Martin McNiff
James Creaney
Paul Nugent
Scott Agnew
Ryan Borris
Kevin Nicoll
Mark Gilhaney
Bryan Prunty
Pat Walker

Bench
Michael White
Beau Busch
Lee Bryce
Pedram Ardalany
Keith Gibson
Jamie Ewings
Tony Wallace
Gary McKell
Graeme Ramage
David Winters

Substitutions
Pedram Ardalany for Carrol Monti (64)
Keith Gibson for Lee Sibanda (70)
Lee Bryce for Steven Doris (90)
David Winters for Pat Walker (46)
Gary McKell for Ryan Borris (87)

Bookings
Lee Sibanda (63)
Steven Doris (82)
Pedram Ardalany (90)
James Creaney (72)
Kevin Nicoll (73)
Bryan Prunty (80)

Red Cards
None. None.

Appearances & Goals To Date
Stephen Grindlay (GK) 232 apps -
Alan Lithgow 13 apps -
Martin McNiff 59 apps3 goals
James Creaney 36 apps -
Paul Nugent 48 apps -
Scott Agnew 15 apps7 goals
Ryan Borris 90 apps7 goals
Kevin Nicoll 13 apps1 goal
Mark Gilhaney 44 apps12 goals
Bryan Prunty 14 apps7 goals
Pat Walker 38 apps10 goals
Gary McKell (sub) 1 app (debut) -
David Winters (sub) 24 apps6 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Martin McNiff (20 years 79 days)
Oldest Player:Stephen Grindlay (29 years 244 days)
Average Player Age:26 years 13 days
Domestic Players:11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Gary McKell (18 years 188 days)
Oldest Player:Stephen Grindlay (29 years 244 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 18 days
Domestic Players:16 (100.00 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts
Gary McKell(Signed )

Milestones

IN WHAT proved to be a thrilling encounter at Gayfield, Dumbarton lost 4-3 to high-flying Arbroath. But it could all have been so different if they had not conceded three goals in a calamitous six-minute period in the first half.

Both sides started brightly. Bryan Prunty went close for Dumbarton not long after the start, before the home side got their own attacking momentum into swing.

A few minutes later, the industrious Pat Walker found himself in front of goal with only Lichties 'keeper Darren Hill to beat. But he was fractionally off-balance as he struck, and his shot went wide of the post and upright.

It was the first of a host of missed opportunities for both teams in a half that could easily have produced eight or nine goals.

While the first 20 minutes proved fairly even, what followed in the next six was little short of disastrous for Dumbarton. A failure adequately to defend set plays and crosses left Sons dangerously vulnerable to a series of corner kicks.

Finding themselves with far too much space, Arbroath's Kieran McAnespie and Stuart Malcolm struck on 21 and 23 minutes respectively, opening up a 2-0 lead with just over half of the first period gone.

Things got worse three minutes later when Gavin Swankie stepped up to take a free kick 20 yards out on the left of the area. His shot was low and fast. It squeezed through the wall and past an unsighted Stephen Grindlay to make it 3-0 to the home side.

Arbroath continued to press, and it looked as if things were going to get worse for Dumbarton. But the Sons 'keeper who mostly put in a good display, despite the goals conceded made some vital stops.

At the other end Mark Gilhaney, Scott Agnew, Ryan Borris and James Creaney all helped to create chances for the visitors, but the finishing was not there.

Sons could not find a goal to get back into the game by the break, and at that stage it looked as if the match was effectively over, with the main task being damage limitation against the rampant Lichties.

However, in a classic 'game of two halves', a very different Dumbarton stepped onto the pitch in the second period.

At last getting a grip in the centre of the park, and pushing forward to spare further pressure on the back line and put Arbroath under the cosh, Sons looked determined not to lie down and die.

David Winters, on at half-time for Pat Walker, was among those looking for the breakthrough. It finally came from a Martin McNiff header on 51 minutes.

Sons continued to pressurise the Lichties. Just after the hour Ryan Borris found Scott Agnew and he hit home to make it 3-2.

At that stage it looked as if, extraordinarily, Dumbarton might find an equaliser. McNiff and Creaney, struggling at the back, were dangerous in coming forward.

Then controversy struck. It looked as if Arbroath's Josh Falkingham had handled in the box. But the referee saw it differently. Kevin Nicoll, who had put in a strong performance, responded with a robust tackle which got the ball but also the man. He was red carded and suddenly Sons were down to ten men.

It did not take Arbroath long to capitalise on their numerical advantage. On 79 minutes Steven Doris gave the Lichties a 4-2 lead.

But Sons were still not out of it. McNiff came back with his second headed goal of the game, and Dumbarton's third, to set up a frantic final eleven minutes including the four added on by the officials.

Gary McKell replaced Ryan Borris at the end, but with insufficient time on the clock to be able to make much of an impact.

In the end, Arbroath hung on to their lead to claim the 4-3 victory and all three points, taking them to the position of joint leaders in the Irn Bru SFL Second Division.

Sons, who were left to ponder on some terrible defensive lapses in the first half, now slip to sixth place only two points from the play off zone, but also just two points off bottom spot in what remains a very tight league.

Match report by Simon Barrow

Programme cover / Team sheet