Friday 4th May 2018

HE kicked the most important ball of Wednesday’s first leg tie.

Now Craig Barr just has to hope that it’s not going to be July until he kicks another one.

The defender scored the injury time winner for Dumbarton at Arbroath on Wednesday, giving them a 2-1 advantage ahead of tomorrow’s second leg at the Rock.

But that is a game Craig will have to watch from the stand.

He was only available on Wednesday after Sons appealed against his sending off in last Saturday’s defeat to Dunfermline Athletic.

That appeal was thrown out by the SFA 24 hours later, meaning that his one-match ban is reinstated and he sits tomorrow out.

Speaking to www.dumbartonfootballclub.com, ‘Mango’ said: “Tomorrow is going to be so frustrating for me.

“I hate when you are sitting there and can’t help or contribute, but I’ve a lot of faith in the boys.

“We know our game, and we know that Arbroath will come out of the traps quickly. We’ve just got to defend well, as we have done for most of the season, and hope that we can overcome what they can throw at us.

“It’s out of my hands now, but the boys will be going into the game tomorrow in the right frame of mind. Fingers crossed they can do it and I’ve got two more games left this season instead of waiting until next season to return.

“Wednesday night went well for us as a game. We knew how difficult it would be as Arbroath is a tough place to go, and we knew they would come at us from the start.

“We defended well and getting in 0-0 at half time was a positive with the wind having been against us. In the second half we picked it up a bit, and although it was disappointing to lose the goal in the way we did, we were delighted to win it.

“I couldn’t actually tell you whether it’s my best season for goalscoring in terms of stats. When I’m fit and getting a full season under my belt I aim for five to ten goals over the season. I get forward for a lot of set plays and overall, on a personal level, this season has been OK goal-wise.”

Although the scheduled league season ended with a number of defeats, Craig insists that confidence is high that Sons can survive in the Championship.

And for him and a number of the squad, there is a bit more riding on tomorrow’s game after events 12 months ago.

Craig, Mark Stewart, Danny Handling and Chris Johnston (who is currently on loan to Peterhead) were all relegated from the second tier with Raith Rovers through the play-offs after defeat to Brechin City.

So for that group of players, although they are now with Dumbarton, there is something to make up for.

Craig added: “The goal from the outset was to avoid relegation. We started well towards that and then drifted away a bit in the last quarter of the season.

“Some results haven’t gone our way this season – we’ve had draws instead of wins when we felt we deserved to win. It’s been tough but we’re still confident.

“What happened to Raith Rovers at the end of last season was frustrating but I’m a Dumbarton player now and my focus is on keeping them in the Championship.

“We’re not even thinking about who we want to face in the final, or how we’d fare as the only part-time side in next season’s Championship. We have Arbroath to take care of first.”

Andy Galloway

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