Stranraer 4 - 2 Dumbarton

Challenge Cup - 1st Round - South West
Saturday, July 27th, 2013, 3:00 PM at Stair Park
Attendance: 333
Referee: John McKendrick
Stranraer v Dumbarton, Jul 27th 2013, Stair Park
Stranraer Dumbarton 

Goalscorers
Sean Winter (10)
Martin Grehan (67)
Chris Aitken (83)
Chris Aitken (pen.) (88)
Garry Fleming (26)
Kevin Smith (45)

Team Managers
Stevie Aitken Ian Murray

Starting Eleven
David Mitchell
David MacGregor
Mark Docherty
Scott Robertson
Frank McKeown
Chris Aitken
Sean Winter
Grant Gallagher
Martin Grehan
Jamie Longworth
Ryan Borris
Jamie Ewings
Scott Smith
Scott Linton
Paul McGinn
Andy Graham
Scott Agnew
Garry Fleming
Nicky Phinn
Mark Gilhaney
Steven McDougall
Kevin Smith

Bench
Chris Fahey
Mark Corcoran
David McKenna
Lloyd Kinnaird
Adam Forde
Stephen Grindlay
Martin McNiff
Ally McKerracher
Mitch Megginson
Bryan Prunty

Substitutions
David McKenna for Jamie Longworth (71)
Mark Corcoran for Ryan Borris (82)
Lloyd Kinnaird for Scott Robertson (89)
Mitch Megginson for Garry Fleming (60)
Bryan Prunty for Steven McDougall (79)
Ally McKerracher for Nicky Phinn (85)

Bookings
David MacGregor (24) Andy Graham (89)

Red Cards
None. None.

Appearances & Goals To Date
Jamie Ewings (GK) 28 apps -
Scott Smith 20 apps -
Scott Linton 1 app (debut) -
Paul McGinn 15 apps2 goals
Andy Graham 36 apps3 goals
Scott Agnew 82 apps24 goals
Garry Fleming 33 apps4 goals
Nicky Phinn 7 apps -
Mark Gilhaney 110 apps24 goals
Steven McDougall 34 apps5 goals
Kevin Smith 1 app (debut)1 goal
Ally McKerracher (sub) 1 app (debut) -
Mitch Megginson (sub) 1 app (debut) -
Bryan Prunty (sub) 81 apps30 goals

Starting Lineup
Youngest Player:Scott Smith (21 years 200 days)
Oldest Player:Andy Graham (29 years 316 days)
Average Player Age:26 years 14 days
Domestic Players:11 (100.00 % of starting eleven)

Matchday Squad
Youngest Player:Ally McKerracher (17 years 35 days)
Oldest Player:Stephen Grindlay (31 years 144 days)
Average Player Age:25 years 192 days
Domestic Players:16 (100.00 % of matchday squad)

First Team Debuts
Kevin Smith(Signed July 15th, 2013)
Scott Linton(Signed June 10th, 2013)
Ally McKerracher(Signed June 30th, 2013)
Mitch Megginson(Signed June 24th, 2013)

Milestones
Kevin Smith scored his first goal for the Club.

SOME lacklustre defending and a low-key second half performance cost Sons dear at Stair Park, as they exited the Ramsdens Cup at the first hurdle, going down 4-2 to Stranraer.

Despite conceding an early goal, Dumbarton were 2-1 ahead at the break, but then conceded just short of 70 minutes and lost the tie in the final seven minutes thanks to a break and a penalty for the home side.

What turned out to be a disappointing afternoon started positively, with bright sunshine and a pitch in beautiful condition.

With Chris Turner left out of the squad to ensure that a minor groin strain did not worsen, Sons lined up with a 4-4-2 formation. Scott Linton came in at left back, with Scott Agnew and trialist Nicky Phinn anchoring the midfield.

The visitors looked purposeful from the outset. Scott Smith flashed an early effort over the bar.

Then Agnew marshalled an attack from the middle of the park, and Andy Graham headed wide.

Mark Gilhaney was soon busy down the wing. He crossed to Garry Fleming, who was denied by a good block.

At the other end, Martin Grehan took advantage of a defensive slip, but Dumbarton goalie Jamie Ewings collected comfortably.

On nine minutes, Fleming challenged Stranraer 'keeper David Mitchell. The ball came to Steven McDougall, who fired a fine shot in across goal. It had Mitchell beaten, but rattled off the post.

By this stage, Sons were looking in control. All that changed a minute later, when the Blues' Sean Winter burst through, fed by ex-Son Ryan Borris. There was hesitation, as he seemed offside. But the assistant referee took a different view.

The tricky attacking midfielder, who was to go on to torment Sons throughout the game, looped the ball over Ewings to make it 1-0 to Stranraer.

The home side continued to press, with Grant Galllagher testing the Dumbarton 'keeper again from the wing.

Speedy forward combinations from McDougall, Fleming and Kevin Smith saw the Sons push back, but without a clear finish.

The traffic started to flow Stranraer's way. Grehan whipped a dangerous strike in, requiring Ewings to make an impressive save.

On 20 minutes Jamie Longworth had a crack from the edge of the box. His shot lacked power and was again handled confidently by the Sons' goalie.

A good move from Dumbarton fed Gilhaney in a central position 18 yards out, but Mitchell parried well.

Sean Winter went on another powerful run down the right for Stranraer. Longworth tipped a shot in, which was blocked. Grehan pounced, hitting the ball across the face of the goal and out of play.

The Blues' full back, David MacGregor, received the first yellow card of the afternoon for an over-enthusiastic challenge on Steven McDougall.

Then on 26 minutes Dumbarton drew level. Garry Fleming played into Scott Agnew, who chipped the ball forward. Kevin Smith's shot rebounded off the crossbar. Fleming reacted well to push the ball home and make it 1-1.

Stranraer wasted no time in seizing the initiative again. Andy Graham was almost caught at the back, but Ewings recovered to thwart an attempt on goal.

Borris joined the assault down the wing. Then Winter got into the action once more, shooting just past the far post.

For Sons, Mark Gilhaney, who had been switched to the left, worked the ball in to the centre effectively. Kevin Smith took his shot on the half volley, seeing it fly just over the bar.

Then on the stroke of half time, Smith's endeavours were rewarded. Gilhaney was again the provider, with the new strike-man lobbing Mitchell to send Dumbarton into the break 2-1 in front.

The first action of second half saw Borris caught offside after testing Ewings.

Sons then survived two dangerous attacks masterminded by the ever-present Sean Winter, before Scott Agnew tried to catch the Stranraer goalie with a long-range effort that went off target.

The match swung from end to end, with competition strong in the middle of the park, but the heat taking a little pace out of the proceedings.

A fine, canny run at the Stranraer defence from Dumbarton's Garry Fleming ended with Mitchell saving well.

As the Blues counter-attacked, Jamie Ewings was called upon to stop Jamie Longworth from equalising for the home side.

In his first substitution of the afternoon, Sons manager Ian Murray brought on Mitch Megginson for Fleming, who left the field to warm applause from the travelling support.

The new man was soon in action, teaming up with overlapping back Scott Linton to force a corner, which was squandered.

Then disaster struck. To counter vulnerabilities at the back, Steven McDougall had been employed as an auxiliary defender. But when he moved forward, Stranraer grabbed the ball and launched an immediate response.

Again it was Sean Winter who did the damage, haring up the field and splitting the Dumbarton defence with a pinpoint pass to Martin Grehan, who made no mistake with his finish. The game had been levelled at 2-2 on 67 minutes.

Sons had a chance to hit back quickly, gaining a free kick on the edge of the area. Scott Agnew drove the ball in, but it looped high and wide.

Stranraer's Longworth beat Jamie Ewings again, but his effort was not on target. Shortly afterwards he was replaced by David McKenna.

As a busy cup-tie headed towards the last quarter of an hour, Ewings spared Dumbarton by making two outstanding saves. The first, from the ubiquitous Winter, involved an acrobatic leap to push a well-struck shot aside.

From the resulting corner the Sons 'keeper tamed another dangerous effort at chest height.

Bryan Prunty replaced Steve McDougall, who had performed well for Dumbarton, in an attempt to give the visitors a fresh edge up front.

Mitch Megginson had a promising header nodded off the line from a Gilhaney corner in Sons' first real attempt on goal after the break.

It was lack of industry that was making the game an uphill task for Dumbarton, while Stranraer looked just that little bit more eager. Marc Corcoran came on for Ryan Borris as they continued to press.

Then Winter and Gallagher combined to turn the tie around on 83 minutes. Chris Aitken applied a clinical finish at the end of their supply chain, and Stranraer went 3-2 ahead with only minutes remaining.

Attempting to claim a swift equaliser, Dumbarton took off Nicky Phinn and brought on young front-man Ally McKerracher.

Four minutes later the game was over. Andy Graham was adjudged to have blocked the ball with his forearm and Stranraer had a penalty.

Aitken stepped up to crack the ball past Ewings for his second goal and the home side's fourth of the afternoon.

In the dying embers of the match Dumbarton came close once more, with Mark Gilhaney unsettling the opposition defence from the wing.

In the end, Stranraer claimed a deserved victory. They had been tighter and sharper when it mattered. Meanwhile, Dumbarton's Ramsdens Cup misery continues for another season, with yet another first round exit.

Match report by Simon Barrow

Programme cover / Team sheet