NOW IT’S THE FI­NAL RUN-IN

Aitken wants Sons to keep up form from Rovers rout

Lennox Herald - - READER TRAVEL - Colin Paterson

Dum­bar­ton ................. 4 Raith Rovers ............... 0

Ste­vie Aitken saluted daz­zling Dum­bar­ton but warned his play­ers they must treat their rel­e­ga­tion run-in like cup fi­nals.

Su­per Sons took rot­ten Raith to the clean­ers on Satur­day at The Rock and climbed into seventh place in the table.

The gap to Ayr United, who cur­rently oc­cupy the Cham­pi­onship play-offs spot in­creased to five points thanks to Robert Thom­son’s dou­ble and goals from Sam Stan­ton and sub Garry Flem­ing.

Aitken heaped praise on his part-timers but vowed to keep his feet on the ground ahead of this week­end’s daunt­ing trip to league lead­ers Hiber­nian.

The gaffer, de­lighted with the re­sponse shown fol­low­ing the 5-1 ham­mer­ing at Dun­fermline Ath­letic, said: “To win any game of foot­ball by four goals in a divi­sion which is very com­pet­i­tive is re­ally pleas­ing.

“Credit to the play­ers – we took a bit of a knock last week and were also down to the bare bones.

“The park was in hor­rific con­di­tion so credit to the play­ers for try­ing to play on it.

“It has been a good day’s work and we will en­joy it but we never get car­ried away. We’ve been in the game long enough.

“If some­one had said at the start of the sea­son we’d be in this po­si­tion with eight games to go then peo­ple would have prob­a­bly laughed at it.

“We were tipped by ev­ery­body to get rel­e­gated. That has been our mo­ti­va­tion. We’ve shown that we can com­pete. We’ve shown that we can play as well.

“We’re in a good place at the mo­ment and we just need to keep it go­ing.

“We’re de­lighted with the re­sult and per­for­mance and now we’ve got eight cup fi­nals left.”

Sons got off to a per­fect start with the opener af­ter just six min­utes.

Calum Gal­lagher de­liv­ered a low cross from the right-hand side which was tucked DUM­BAR­TON: Martin; Smith, Lang, Barr, Harvie; Car­swell , Stan­ton ; Gal­lagher (Flem­ing 78), Stir­ling (Ly­den 89),Thom­son; Nade (Prior 82). SUB NOT USED: Ewings(gk). RAITH: Penksa;Thom­son, C Barr, M’voto, Bene­dic­tus; Johnston (Osei 62), Matthews (Roberts 66), Cal­lachan, B Barr; McManus, Hardie (Ska­cel 56). SUBS NOT USED: Coul­strain,Thomp­son, Court, Syme. REF­EREE: Alan New­lands. AT­TEN­DANCE: 719. away by Thom­son from close range.

Raith en­joyed a good spell of pos­ses­sion and carved out a cou­ple of good chances as they searched for an equaliser.

Ryan Hardie burst into the area but was de­nied by keeper Alan Martin who then pro­duced a su­per save from Jean-Yves M’voto when he pow­er­fully met a Bobby Barr cor­ner.

Dum­bar­ton had weath­ered the storm and should have dou­bled their lead four min­utes later.

A counter at­tack saw big Chris­tian Nade flick on into the path of Andy Stir­ling who steered the ball back into his path.

Nade now had time to pick his spot but Raith’s Slo­vak stop­per Pavol Penksa pulled off a smart block.

Dum­bar­ton were fin­ish­ing the half strongly with Penksa mak­ing a br­l­liant save from Thom­son who pro­duced some lovely in­di­vid­ual skill be­fore un­leash­ing his shot.

And Sons would not have to wait much longer be­fore ex­tend­ing their ad­van­tage.

Stir­ling’s deep cor­ner to the back post found Thom­son volleyed em­phat­i­cally into the cor­ner of the net from six yards.

The next goal was go­ing to be cru­cial and Sons grabbed it within two min­utes of the restart.

Thom­son’s cross-shot was pawed at in mid-air by Penksa with Stan­ton per­fectly placed to con­vert the drop­ping ball from a cou­ple of yards out.

Aitken said: “If you were here for the Ayr game a cou­ple of weeks ago when we were 2-0 up with two min­utes to go, then you prob­a­bly know how vi­tal the third goal was.”

Flem­ing’s solo ef­fort in in­jury-time was the ic­ing on the cake.

Chal­lenge Robert Thom­son in a tus­sle with the Raith de­fence

Goal thriller Sam Stan­ton puts the Sons 3-0 ahead

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