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TRIPS to Stranraer, going back decades, have proven hazardous for Dumbarton sides.

This was only the third victory at Stair Park in over 30 years, and a tricky journey down the A77 proved one of the most enjoyable of the season to date.

Ross MacLean opened the scoring on 31 minutes, and Gregor Buchanan sealed the points with as many minutes played of the second half.

The home side certainly had a flurry of chances in the first half, but once MacLean opened the scoring, there was little doubt about the outcome for the rest of the match.

After consecutive wins and clean sheets, Sons have one game left before they play each team in cinch League Two for the final time.

It is against Stirling Albion, at home on Tuesday night, and who is to rule anything in or out after the last 180 minutes?

It did not take long to suggest that a profitable afternoon was in store if Sons could get it right. A Joe McKee free kick early doors was scrambled clear by Stranraer when an opening goal looked likely.

Another delivery from McKee also resulted in a Buchanan header being saved, but the two would have greater success linking up later on of course.

However, that was followed by the first great escape of the afternoon, with Luke Watt sending in a shot which hit the crossbar and rebounded clear.

That was followed by a Craig Ross effort from a corner which Brett Long did well to turn wide. Suddenly Sons were under pressure.

So the best way to respond was by opening the scoring. A corner from Gregg Wylde found Buchanan, who headed the ball down for MacLean to finish.

There were chances for each team before half time, but neither was able to add to the scoreline.

In the second half, McKee this time tried for goal himself from a free kick, but was narrowly off target. As the half continued another goal for Dumbarton looked more likely than an equaliser.

And after a couple of half chances, it finally came with 14 minutes left. McKee set Buchanan up from a corner again, and this time the defender’s powerful header found the net.

With five minutes left, Ryan Blair almost scored for the second consecutive Saturday, but his shot went over off the top of the bar.

Although there were no further goals, there was time for one last positive on 87 minutes. Among three substitutes who came on was 16-year-old youth team product Luca Vata, who is pictured in the last of the images below.

All roads now lead back to the Rock for the next few weeks, starting on Tuesday.

Stranraer: Connelly; Robertson, Ross, Brady, Hilton (Duffy 46), Gallagher, Ngandu, Brown (Forrest 71), Watt, McIntosh, Grant (Walker 64). Subs: O’Connor; Girvan, Ecrepont. Booked: Ross, Robertson, Gallagher.

Dumbarton: Long; Wylde (McNiff 87), Buchanan, Orsi, Ross MacLean (Love 75), Lynas (Lynch 87), McKee, Russell McLean (Byrne 71), Gray (Vata 87), Grant, Blair. Sub: Broun. Booked: Gray, Russell McLean.

Referee: Iain Snedden.

Photos below by Andy Scott.


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