Carswell surprise gives Sons victory Winner is first goal in 161 matches
Dumbarton: S Gallacher; Dowie, Carswell, C Gallagher (Morrison 65), Stewart (Nade 87),Walsh,Wardrop, Hutton, Hill, Roy (Wilson 75), Barr. Subs: Ewings; Johnston, Prior. Booked: Carswell, Hill, Morrison. Elgin City: Waters; Eadie, Allan, McHardy, Bronsky, McGovern, Dodd (Ferguson 65), Reilly, McLeish, Cameron, Sutherland (Reid 79). Subs: Dear; Smith, Byrne, Scott. Referee: Colin Steven. Stuart Carswell was the most unlikely of heroes as the midfielder’s first goal in 161 games was enough for Dumbarton to see off League Two Elgin.
Carswell’s 24th minute free-kick also ensured the Sons’ strong run of form continued as they strung three consecutive victories together for the first time since December 2015.
Dumbarton started as they had finished against Raith Rovers last week and should have been ahead inside the opening 60 seconds. Calum Gallagher’s clever cross found his former Rangers teammate Tom Walsh in space in the box but he lashed his effort from a good position wildly over the bar.
After a nervous start the League Two side found their feet and they could have been ahead after 12 minutes.
Stephen Bronsky found space down the right and picked out Chris McLeish, who was only denied by an outstanding close-range Scott Gallacher save.
Less than a minute later Sons were left to rue a glorious missed opportunity.
Quick distribution from Gallacher sent Tom Walsh free and he drove at former Sons trialist Jordan Allan before pulling a ball back that only just evaded Ally Roy.
But they did not have to wait much longer for their first Scottish Cup goal since January 2016, even if it arrived in slightly fortuitous circumstances.
Roy was brought down 25 yards out by a clumsy Darryl McHardy challenge. From the resulting freekick Carswell stepped up with real confidence and found the top corner of the net, with the aid of a deflection, for the first goal of his career.
Quite why Carswell was taking the free-kick only he will know but it proved to be a decision of unexpected genius.
Minutes later the new, attacking Carswell was at it again as he cut inside before driving a left-footed effort wide of Marc Waters’ goal.
Walsh was next to try his luck and drove forward from a deep position before firing an effort high and wide of the target.
Minutes later his quick corner opened up a great chance for Roy but once again the chance was wasted.
Walsh was involved again as the game neared half-time, with Mark Stewart capitalising on Waters’ hesitancy to flick the summer signing’s cross narrowly over the bar.
If Sons had been wasteful in the first half they were almost made to pay in a disjointed second period.
Walsh and Roy got in each other’s way as they bore down on goal. Neither Dougie Hill or Craig Barr could then stretch to squeeze home a dangerous Walsh corner that looked destined to create the killer second.
Clearly frustrated by the missed opportunity, Barr took matters into his own hands. The centre-half wove his way through a number of challenges before stinging Waters’ palms with a fierce effort from the edge of the penalty area.
Those misses almost came back to haunt Barr as Elgin created a serious chance of note for the first time in the half. Slack play between goalscorer Carswell and the former Raith Rovers man opened up space for Brian Cameron, with only the width of the post preventing him from finding a surprise equaliser.
That miss looked to rattle Dumbarton and more slack play led to Carswell conceding a soft foul on the edge of the penalty area. Thomas Reilly lined up the resulting free-kick and saw his dipping effort only just miss the target.
The welcome return to action of Christian Nadé, in place of the injured Mark Stewart, almost produced immediate results.
He could have broken his long scoring drought deep into injury time too as Walsh picked out the former Sheffield United man on a late break forward. Inside the penalty area he beat two City defenders before pausing as he went to shoot, allowing the danger to be cleared.
In the end it did not matter as Dumbarton ensured that they would not be this year’s high-profile third round casualties.
Colin Steven’s full-time whistle also confirmed that Sons have now gone three games without conceding a goal, something which will have pleased Stevie Aitken every bit as much as the victory.
Dumbarton ........ 1 Elgin City ........... 0
In action Tom Walsh gets the better of a defender
In a tussle Mark Stewart in a chase for the ball
Determined Ally Roy makes a run
On the ball Mark Stewart gets into the action