JOHN Brown was seething after this match, furious with the home fans who he said booed their team during the game.
Declaring himself “disgusted” by the reaction, he questioned whether certain elements of the support actually want to see their team go up. It was a no-holds-barred outburst.
“If that’s what the Dundee fans are really about, when their team is top of the league and they are still being abused, then certain ones in the stand should have a real think about whether they want their team to go up,” he fumed.
“I’m disgusted by the reaction. It’s a limited amount, a small minority but I’m really disappointed. We won the game 3-0 and there are no easy games in this league. Dumbarton have taken four victories on the road and there are very few teams who have done that, they are no mugs so I would just like our fans, en masse, to get behind the team. I was disappointed with the reaction from a number of them. The away support has been fantastic but there is an element here… do they really want their team to succeed?”
Looking at the scoreline, any kind of ranting from the fans would seem misplaced but the fact is the result flatters Dundee and, in that light, the unrest in the stands was more understandable. Dumbarton can justifiably feel aggrieved not to have taken something from this encounter. They had chances a plenty and the fact that the home keeper Kyle Letheren was named man of the match underlines that.
Dundee started the day determined to defend their place at the top of the league. The last time they were on top, they surrendered the spot the next week against Cowdenbeath. The way they started this one suggested they did not want their superiority to be quite so fleeting this time.
But they weren’t the only ones with a say in matters and, while they started the stronger, Dumbarton fought their way back into the match. But two minutes into the second half, Peter MacDonald, back from a stomach bug that saw him lose half a stone over Christmas, slotted home the opener from the right of the area after Jim McAlister played the ball through to him.
The way that goal was conceded was the only aspect of the 90 minutes that disappointed Dumbarton manager Ian Murray. But it left his men chasing the game. Not that it fazed them. They seemed to have levelled matters just minutes later when Brian Prunty’s header was spilled by Letheren and several people reacted. Dundee players stated afterwards that they were unsure whether the ball had crossed the line but their opponents were adamant.
Several ran to the assistant referee with astonished looks and arms aloft, but their appeals fell on deaf ears. “I thought it was over the line,” insisted gutted Dumbarton gaffer Murray, “everybody did apart from the two that count, which is no surprise given the game they had. I thought we merited the goal at a crucial time in the game, after they had just scored and to get us back in the game but [the referee] didn’t think it crossed the line and that’s all that matters, unfortunately.”
Dumbarton channelled that disappointment well and for a long period afterwards were the better team. They pressed and fought for every ball and showed good movement and link up play, with Prunty, Mitchell Megginson and Colin Nish all forcing good saves from Letheren.
Dundee were limited to hitting on the counter attack but, as Dumbarton tired slightly in the dying minutes, the home side made the most of their breaks. In the 81st minute it was Kevin McBride who gave them the two-goal cushion they needed to ensure the three points and then, with a minute left MacDonald added his second of the afternoon, with a strike low into the bottom corner.
“We are just pleased to get the three points from a very difficult game,” said Brown. “Dumbarton put on a great performance and were unlucky on a number of occasions. It was end-to-end football.”