Stan­ton re­turns to see off Sons Old boy hits a double for United

Lennox Herald - - ANGLING ANGLE -

Fraser Clarke An early double from for­mer S o n s ma n S a m S t a n t o n con­signed Dum­bar­ton t o a win­less Oc t ober i n t he Cham­pi­onship after a be­low par per for­mance al­lowed Dundee United to claim all three points.

Cl ear l y buoyed by hi s t eam’s show­ing at Cap­pielow l ast week, Ste­vie Aitken kept faith with the same start­ing 11 for just the third time this sea­son.

There was one no­table ad­di­tion to the match­day squad how­ever, with Stuart Car­swell re­turn­ing to the bench hav­ing missed the last six weeks after nose surgery.

There were fur­ther pos­i­tive signs in the warm-up too, with long-term in­jury vic­tim Danny Han­dling – who has fea­tured just twice since join­ing in late July – able to take part in light train­ing.

Un­for­tu­nately, any pos­i­tiv­ity in the home end evap­o­rated after just 77 sec­onds.

Andy Dowie l o s t p o s s e s s i o n cheaply in the mid­dle of the park and t he ball f ell i nto t he path of for­mer Dum­bar­ton hero Stan­ton, who demon­strated the sort of skill that made him a big favourite at the Rock with a stun­ning curl­ing ef­fort f rom 20 yards that f ound the top cor­ner of the net.

Dum­bar­ton’s re­sponse to the early set­back was slow. Sons looked to lose con­fi­dence and strug­gled to string more than a hand­ful of passes to­gether, while the trick­ery of King and Smith on the wings were caus­ing Sam Wardrop and Chris McLaugh­lin plenty of prob­lems.

Tom Walsh did man­age to force Harry Lewis into ac­tion for the first t i me. The Southamp­ton l oa­nee caused a brief panic in the box after spilling the for­mer Rangers winger’s high cross un­der lit­tle pres­sure.

Dowie was f or­tu­nate t o t urn a wicked Scott Fraser free-kick be­yond his own post, how­ever Sons wouldn’t be so lucky from the re­sul­tant cor­ner.

Fraser’s quick de­liv­ery caught out the Dum­bar­ton de­fence and, while they at­tempted to get them­selves or­gan­ised, St an­ton man­aged t o squeeze a shot through Mark Ste­wart and Scott Gal­lacher for his sec­ond of the game. At the other end of the park a tame Dim­itris Frox­ylias ef­fort that was eas­ily held by Lewis was as close as Sons came.

After such an i nef­fec­tive f i rsthalf show­ing, Aitken found him­self forced into a change at half- time – wit h t he i njured Walsh be­ing re­placed by Ross County l oa­nee Greg Mor­ri­son.

The switch was an in­ter­est­ing one which saw for ward Mark Ste­wart move out wide in place of Walsh and Mor­ri­son lead the line alone.

Given t he avail­abil­ity of t hree out and out wingers on the bench, and the fact that Mor­ri­son is still search­ing for his first goal for the club, it was also one that ap­peared less than ob­vi­ous.

United should’ve sealed the three points as Scott McDon­ald broke clear of the Dum­bar­ton de­fence, how­ever his ef­fort was well saved by name­sake Gal­lacher at the ex­pense of a cor­ner.

Any lin­ger­ing hopes of a come­back were then well and truly killed off a f t e r 6 3 min­utes a s Cra i g Bar r picked up his sec­ond book­ing of t he ga me i n s ome­what bi z a r r e cir­cum­stances.

The f or mer Gretna man went d ow n u n d e r what l o o k e d l i k e, a t b e s t , mini mal c o nt a c t f r o m St e war t Mur­doch, wi t h r e f e r e e Craig Charleston wav­ing away his ap­peals be­fore stop­ping play and re­ward­ing his theatrics with a sec­ond yel­low card.

Barr’s sheep­ish re­ac­tion sug­gested that the de­ci­sion was the cor­rect one, with the mo­ment of mad­ness now forc­ing him to sit out next week’s cru­cial visit to Brechin.

It was also a de­ci­sion that killed off the game as Dum­bar­ton packed t h e ms e l v e s i n t o a r i g i d 4 - 4 - 1 for­ma­tion and al­lowed United time and space to stroke the ball about with ease.

Scott Gal­lacher did well to deny Stan­ton a hat- t r i ck with a smart l ow save i n what was t he game’s last se­ri­ous chance of note, de­spite the best ef­forts of man of the match Frox­ylias to get Dum­bar­ton on the score­sheet.

Aitken now has t o l i f t his side ahead of one of the big­gest games of the sea­son this week­end as the Sons make the long jour­ney north to face fel­low part-timers Brechin City.

Dum­bar­ton ........ 0 Dundee United ... 2

Bat­tle for the ball Dum­bar­ton’s Kyle Hut­ton in ac­tion against Dundee United’s James Keat­ings

Pitch bat­tle David Wil­son goes in for the ball against Dundee United’s Billy King

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