Spartans 2
Dumbarton 6
League (League 2)


2 - 6


League (League 2)
Saturday, March 16th, 2024
Ainslie Park. Att. 443
3:00 PM Kick-off

Cammy Russell (28)
Bradley Whyte (45)
Ryan Blair (5)
Aron Lynas (32)
Gallagher Lennon (43)
Ryan Blair (55)
Michael Ruth (64)
James Graham (89)

Team Managers
Dougie Samuel Stevie Farrell

Starting Eleven
Blair Carswell
Callum Booth
Kieran Watson
Ayrton Sonkur
Kevin Waugh
James Craigen
Cammy Russell
Rhys Armstrong
Bradley Whyte
Marc McNulty
Blair Henderson
Jay Hogarth .19
Mark Durnan .5
Gallagher Lennon .28
Aron Lynas .2
Cian Newbury .21
Tony Wallace .14
Ryan Blair .6
Finlay Gray .18
James Hilton .17
Callum Wilson .20
Michael Ruth .23

Sam Jones
Mason McCready
Danny Denholm
Sean Brown
Josh Lang
Paul Watson
Jamie Dishington
Patrick O'Neil .21
Blair Malcolm .4
Aaron Healy .10
Luca Vata .15
James Graham .9

Jamie Dishington for Blair Henderson (34)
Paul Watson for Kevin Waugh (74)
Danny Denholm for Marc McNulty (74)
Sam Jones for James Craigen (84)
Sean Brown for Rhys Armstrong (84)
Blair Malcolm for James Hilton (62)
James Graham for Callum Wilson (68)
Aaron Healy for Michael Ruth (85)

None. Ryan Blair (24)
Aron Lynas (39)

Red Cards
None. None.

Match Officials

Steven Kirkland (Referee)
Stuart Stevenson & Jamie McCunnie (Assistants)

Match Report

Dumbarton hit six goals for the first time in 13 years, as they blew away promotion rivals Spartans.

Ryan Blair’s brace of free-kicks was added to by first senior goals for Gallagher Lennon and James Graham, a header from Aron Lynas and 12th of the campaign for Michael Ruth.

But boss Stevie Farrell insisted he was staying fully grounded, despite making it a memorable day in the capital.

Faz said: “People get too carried away one way or the other. When results haven’t gone our way I’ve remained calm; and that’s what I said to the team during that run. Stay calm, we’re a good side and we’ve not been up there all season for no reason.

“We came to Spartans with a depleted squad and showed how good we are.

“It was a fantastic performance from start to finish. We showed a great reaction when they equalised. We could’ve gone into our shell, but we didn’t. I’m delighted.”

With Carlo Pignatiello joining Sean Crighton, David Wilson, Kalvin Orsi, Brett Long, Greig Young on an ever-growing injury list, and Marc Kelly ruled out by illness, boss Farrell handed recalls to Ryan Blair and Aron Lynas, and gave Callum Wilson a first start of the campaign- 11 months after suffering a serious ankle injury.

Despite the lack of numbers, Sons started like a team with a point to prove - and lead with just five minutes played.

A surging run from skipper Mark Durnan presented the ball to Michael Ruth, who was up-ended on the edge of the box.

Ryan Blair stepped up to curl a terrific free-kick around the wall and into Blair Carswell’s bottom right-hand corner - via the post.

Blair then looked to turn provider as he delivered a dangerous cross that was bravely held by Carswell under pressure from Michael Ruth.

Despite their strong start, Sons were then pegged back by a moment of magic from Spartans’ Cammy Russell.

His free-kick from 25-yards looped over Sons wall and dipped perfectly to fly into the top corner of Jay Hogarth’s net.

Sons’ response was instant.

Almost straight from kick off Carswell superbly saved a low Jinky Hilton drive, before Ryan Blair had an effort from a clever corner routine hacked off the line.

It would be third time lucky for Sons however as, from the resulting corner, Hilton picked out the onrushing Aron Lynas - who surged through a sea of bodies to head the ball home.

As the game neared half-time more heroics from Carswell denied Michael Ruth, before Sons added a third - in style.

Another Hilton corner caused chaos in the Dumbarton box, with the ball eventually dropping to Gallagher Lennon - and the teenager hammered a low effort into the bottom corner.

Then it was Spartans’ time to find an immediate reply.

A high ball caught out the Sons backline, with former Scotland cap Marc McNulty laying off for Bradley Whyte to hammer home.

The hosts could’ve then levelled early in the second-half as Jamie Dishington was sent clear, but Jay Hogarth superbly saved one-on-one.

And that would prove a key moment, as Sons restored their two goal advantage soon after.

James Craigen handled right on the edge of the area, with Blair repeating his first-half trick - this time arrowing an effort over the wall and beyond the despairing Carswell.

Finlay Gray was next to go close, narrowly shooting wide from a good position - before Sons added a fifth in bizarre circumstances.

Michael Ruth chased down Carswell, who dallied on the ball - with Ruth robbing the keeper before showing terrific composure to take the ball wide and drill into the net.

Left-back Blair then came close to a hat-trick, but shot wide - whilst another Aron Lynas header missed the target.

But a perfect day ended on a perfect note as Finlay Gray sent James Graham in, and he cutely dinked beyond Carswell for his first senior goal - in the final minute of the game.

Match report written by Fraser Clarke

Squad Statistics (as at March 16th, 2024)

2023/24 All Time
Jay Hogarth (GK)20 12 - 12 -
Mark Durnan31 18 - 18 -
Gallagher Lennon18 101101
Aron Lynas27 262714
Cian Newbury18 12 - 12 -
Tony Wallace33 38127315
Ryan Blair28 303734
Finlay Gray21 3357611
James Hilton26 325325
Callum Wilson24 1 - 5 -
Michael Ruth22 34123412
Blair Malcolm (sub)27 28 - 28 -
Aaron Healy (sub)21 8 - 8 -
James Graham (sub)19 4141

League Table (as at March 16th, 2024)