It was a bad day at the office for United as a second half penalty converted by Mark Docherty sent United crashing to defeat. As good as the side performed in beating Thistle in midweek, they were as equally poor against a never-say-die Sons’ side.
By Peter Rundo
It all started promisingly enough with the Tangerines pressing forward. However, they struggled to turn dominance in possession into chances, being restricted to a series of shots from distance, none of which were on target. Some 18 minutes had elapsed before the Tangerines fashioned out a real chance. Lewis Toshney delivered a cross from the right which Blair Spittal met and his downward header was deflected just over by a Sons’ defender. At the mid-point of the half, the hosts had their first attempt on goal. But weak and wide as Josh Thomson’s effort was, it seemed to instil some confidence into the home ranks. Thomson was then the first six players to be booked for a rash challenge on Toshney who required treatment. Almost immediately after, central defender Gregor Buchanan was unmarked at corner, but fortunately bulleted his header well past. The first shot on target from either side came after 34 minutes but Cammy Smith’s shot carried little power and was easy meat for keeper Alan Martin. Five minutes later there was another warning for United when Buchanan blazed over after a corner fell to him 12 yards out. Just before the end of an instantly forgettable half, Tope Obadeyi saw his cross mishandled by his near post cross for a corner.
United could hardly have made a worse start to the second period, culminating in us going behind after 54 minutes. Former Tannadice youth striker Robert Thomson was brought down fractionally outside the penalty box in the referee’s opinion, but the tangerine wall did its job and blocked Ryan Stevenson’s free kick. On 49 minutes, Thomson was afforded the space to home in on goal, but his shot lacked the pace to beat Bell. The Sons continued to look dangerous and came within inches of going ahead from a free-kick after Durnan had fouled Thomson, Stevenson’s rocket effort being touched by Bell against the crossbar and over. However, from the corner, Buchanan was adjudged to have been fouled by Durnan and Mark Docherty duly dispatched the penalty past Cammy Bell, who had been booked for his protests over the awarding of the spot-kick. Clearly concerned with the way things were heading, Manager Ray McKinnon made a double substitution just after the hour mark. Simon Murray replaced Blair Spittal and Nick van der Velden took over from Tope Obadeyi. And Murray quickly had a chance to make his presence felt when through on goal, only to side-foot past. At last United were starting to really threaten and midway through the half, Jamie Robson had hard luck when first time volley was brilliantly beaten away by Martin before being cleared. With nine minutes left Cammy Smith was withdrawn and Charlie Telfer took over and, two minutes from time, Martin denied Coll Donaldson with a superb save and with that went any Arabs’ hopes of their side salvaging a point.
Summing Up – Defeat to the part-time hosts was another rude reminder of just how hard the Championship campaign is going to be. After starting reasonably well enough, United came up short in creating chances, allowing the part-time Sons to gain in confidence and expose United’s defensive frailties.
Man of the match – Not too many candidates, but the youngest member of the side, Jamie Robson, was undoubtedly one of the better performers and came so close to getting the equaliser we so craved.
Dumbarton : Martin, Harvie, Pettigrew, Buchanan, Docherty, Gallagher(Stirling 80), Todd, J Thomson, Stevenson, D Smith, R Thomson.
Subs not used : McCallum, Barclay, Clark, Kassarate.
United : Bell, Toshney, Durnan, Donaldson, Robson, Murdoch, Fraser, Spittal (Murray 62), C Smith (Telfer 82), Flood, Obadeyi (van der Velden 62)
Subs not Used : Zwick, Dillon, Coote, Souttar.
Dumbarton: J Thomson, D Smith, R Thomson.
United: Bell, Durnan, Donaldson.
Attendance : 1475
Referee : Gavin Duncan