Hibernian 4 - 2 Dumbarton: Hibs cruise to victory

Hibernian's James Keatings celebrates having scored his side's fourth of the match. Picture: SNS

Hibernian's James Keatings celebrates having scored his side's fourth of the match. Picture: SNS

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HIBS gained revenge for that opening day defeat in Dumbarton, cruising to victory with a thoroughly convincing display.

Ahead through a tremendous Dominique Malonga strike, the Capital club had a nervous couple of minutes when Grant Gallagher equalised for the visitors but Liam Fontaine’s header restored a lead which was then extended by a Jason Cummings penalty before half-time.

James Keatings made it four, ending a stunning display of one-touch football which simply tore Dumbarton apart, his goal allowing head coach Alan Stubbs to demonstrate the strength of his bench now that, Danny Handling apart, he has a full squad at his disposal for the first time this season.

But Dumbarton’s Steven Craig took a little shine off the win, heading fellow substitute Mark Docherty’s free-kick home 14 minutes from time.

Long term injury victims Fraser Fyvie and Keatings, out since August and September respectively, returned to action as Alan Stubbs made three changes to the side which defeated Queen of the South a fortnight ago, Liam Fontaine replacing Paul Hanlon in central defence while Dylan McGeouch and Marvin Bartley dropped to the bench.

Like so many teams visiting Easter Road these days Dumbarton made their intentions clear from the start, sitting in to make life difficult for Hibs and they succeeded until the 21st minute when the home side went ahead with a glorious goal from Malonga.

The Congolese internationalist exchanged passes with Liam Henderson before firing a fantastic right footed shot from the corner of the penalty area across Dumbarton goalkeeper Mark Brown and into the top corner of his net.

But Hibs had no chance to build on that lead as Dumbarton hit back within a minute, David Gray’s header from a long ball into their box falling for Gallagher who drilled it past Mark Oxley as he tried to save with his feet.

Dumbarton’s joy, in turn, was short-lived, Fontaine rising to head John McGinn’s free-kick down past Brown to make it three goals in just four minutes midway through the first half.

Henderson almost added to that tally, his rising shot fizzing just over after a sweeping attack from Stubbs’ players, initiated by a superb long ball from Keatings, had left Dumbarton spread-eagled for once.

Hibs again nearly made it three four minutes before the interval when Jason Cummings beat Brown to Fyvie’s long ball, the striker attempting to curl a cross back over the goalkeeper. Brown got a hand to it but the ball appeared to be dropping into the net until Steven Saunders came up with an acrobatic goal-line clearance.

There was nothing, though, Brown could do to prevent his old club extending their lead two minutes before the interval, the goalkeeper beaten from the spot by Cummings after the Hibs youngster had been tripped by Dumbarton defender Frazer Wright although there had been an initial claim of handball against Darren Barr..

Hibs went close to stretching their lead even further in the opening minutes of the second half, Darren McGregor heading wide from Fontaine’s cross with the goal gaping, Brown rushing from his area to take Fyvie’s searching through ball on his chest with Cummings closing in and Malonga blasting another half-opening across the face of goal and out.

But a fourth was merely delayed and when it came it was worth the wait, Hibs playing wonderful one-touch football down the left flank ending with Cummings feeding the ball in for Keatings to slide it low beyond Brown.

Hibs: Oxley, Gray, McGregor, Fontaine, Stevenson, McGinn, Fyvie (McGeouch 67), Henderson. Cummings (Feruz 71), Malonga, Keatings (Bartley 65)

Substitutes not used: Reguero, Boyle, Carmichael, Forster.

Dumbarton: M Brown, Saunders, Wright (Docherty 64), , Barr, Buchanan, Kirkpatrick (Craig 71), Gallagher, Gibson, Routledge, S Brown, Fleming.

Substitutes not used: Ewings, Crawley, Waters, Ross, Brophy.

Referee: Brian Colvin.

Attendance: 8231.

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