Saturday 11th July 2020

TOWARDS the end of the season, what is happening at another game can matter just as much as what is going on at yours.

That, partly, was what made today’s game – number seven in our countdown of the Rock’s 100 greatest games – special.

Supporters Andy Galloway, Graeme Robertson, Jack Crawford and Fraser Clarke have put the countdown together, with it being based on individual placings.

From now, the countdown will continue daily. Number 6 will be published tomorrow at 10am.

7. Dumbarton 4-0 Forfar Athletic – Saturday, April 25, 2009

By half time, this game was being watched with one eye. The other was on events over 100 miles away.

And it was those events which brought not necessarily the highest point of the afternoon, but definitely the fastest acceleration from enjoyment to euphoria.

After 13 points out of 15 and five consecutive clean sheets, there was a very definite feeling that they just could not fail to win at home to Forfar Athletic.

More than that, though, the top of the Third Division was in sight. The chance was missed to take it the previous Saturday away to Cowdenbeath, where Sons missed a penalty against the leaders who finished with 10 men.

The Blue Brazil were away to Montrose, but before Sons could concern themselves with events at Links Park, they had their own duty to take care of first.

They were doing so within four minutes. It looked like Ross Clark had squeezed home the opening goal, only for a deflection to rule that it was an own goal by a Loons defender.

Copyright Fullarton Photos 2009

Not long after that, though, John Gemmell put Cowdenbeath ahead in Angus. Dumbarton’s stay at the top of the league, as it stood, had been brief.

On 24 minutes Denis McLaughlin headed the second after a Ross Forbes shot rebounded from the crossbar, and by half time the game was over.

Two minutes shy of the whistle, Derek Carcary got the ball 30 yards from goal, out wide. In that situation, there was only one outcome.

In on goal he ran at trademark pace, into the net his shot went. What made this even more remarkable was that this was a player who, two weeks previously, was stretchered off with a nasty ankle injury.

Even with 47 minutes left to play, Sons’ position was unassailable.

Twenty minutes into the second half, Dumbarton had not added to their tally, when somebody might have been going across to take a throw-in. It is hard to recall exactly.

Out of nothing, the stadium erupted. It did not take a genius to work out what had happened. Steven Tweed had levelled for Montrose and Sons were top of the league as it stood.

Seven minutes later, more sheer joy. Chris Hegarty had made it 2-1 to Montrose and barring two goals for Cowdenbeath, or three for Forfar, in the less than 20 minutes that remained of the afternoon, Dumbarton’s name would be at the top of the table.

Even when awarded a penalty in the second half, Forfar could not make a dent in Sons’ cushion. Iain Chisholm was punished for handball in the area, but Dave McEwan saved from Ross Campbell.

And with 10 minutes left, Kieran Brannan’s angled drive made it four. The sunshine was just part of the glory of a quite extraordinary afternoon.

The cheers that the team left the field to were something else to witness. On and off the pitch, everybody knew that with two games left, Dumbarton were now so, so close.

Dumbarton: McEwan; Lennon, Boyle, Dunlop, Gordon (Chisholm 29), Clark (Canning 70), McStay, Forbes, McLaughlin, Carcary (Brannan 57), Murray. Subs: McGeown; Geggan.

Forfar Athletic: J Gibson; Devine, E Smith (C Smith 46), McNally, Tod, Tulloch, McLeish (Gordon 60), Winter, Lilley (Simpson 60), Campbell, Russell. Subs: Brown; Donachie.

Referee: Bobby Madden.

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