Dumbarton 2 - 0 Raith Rovers: Sons ease into the last four

This was a lot more comfortable than the scoreline suggests for Dumbarton, who in the process advanced to the semi-final of a national cup competition for the first time since they played Hearts in the same stage of the Scottish Cup way back in the days of flapping denim flares and sideburns in 1976.
Dumbarton's Alistair Roy celebrates after scoring to make it 2-0. Picture: SNS/Rob CaseyDumbarton's Alistair Roy celebrates after scoring to make it 2-0. Picture: SNS/Rob Casey
Dumbarton's Alistair Roy celebrates after scoring to make it 2-0. Picture: SNS/Rob Casey

They could even afford to miss a second-half penalty as they impressively dispatched a Raith side who had been expected to run them close but were never really given a look-in by Stevie Aitken’s well-drilled part-timers.

The Sons were quicker out of the blocks and for the most part held the upper hand, playing a composed yet always probing game. In the early stages, a succession of crosses into the Raith box caused discomfort for the visitors’ defence and eventually their unconvincing attempts to deal with an aerial threat was to pave the way for a breakthrough as a Tom Walsh corner was nodded to the feet of Chris McLaughlin who hooked the ball home from close range.

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Calum Gallagher nearly doubled the Sons’ advantage shortly afterwards when some further untidy defending saw the midfielder’s shot stopped only by a brave block at his feet by Graeme Smith. This was, however, the precursor to a brief spell of pressure by Raith in which they finally gave a glimpse of some incisive attacking play.

However, a fine flowing move which ended with Ross Matthews driving a shot narrowly over the bar was as close as they came to restoring parity.

This brief flurry of resistance from the Kirkcaldy men was quickly extinguished after the interval as yet another error at the back presented Ally Roy with a simple task of dispatching the ball beyond Smith after he had robbed the hesitant looking Iain Davidson midway inside the Raith half.

Things continued to go from bad to worse for Barry Smith’s side as a further scramble in their own box saw match referee Gavin Duncan intervene to award Dumbarton a penalty and show a red card to Greig Spence for a handling offence.

In what was a minor repreive, the subsequent spot kick by Walsh, pictured, lacked pace and direction and was palmed away by Smith to keep the deficit at two.

Though reduced in numbers, Raith were as competitive as they were with a full complement, with John Herron just a fraction short of a ball played across the six yard box by Lewis Vaughan.

The hosts always looked the more comfortable, though, and they might yet fancy their chances of going all the way to the final.

“It’s not often small clubs like us get the chance to get into semi-finals and it’s certainly one we’ll be going out to win,” reflected the happy Aitken afterwards.

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