NOW IT’S THE FINAL RUN-IN
Aitken wants Sons to keep up form from Rovers rout
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