Saturday 4th July 2020

WE are closing in on the top 10 for our 100 greatest games at the Rock, but we have two more fixtures to get through first.

Club media team members Andy Galloway, Graeme Robertson, Jack Crawford and Fraser Clarke came up with the rankings for this series, which are worked out by average individual placings.

Today’s two games are against the same club, and under the same manager.

The top 10 will start with game number 10, published tomorrow at 10am.

Copyright Fullarton Photos 2015

12. Dumbarton 3-3 Raith Rovers – Saturday, November 21, 2015

Had you walked into the stadium with only 10 minutes left to play, you’d have missed a one-sided contest which saw Raith Rovers coasting to victory.

You would then have gone on to witness Dumbarton cancelling out all three of the Kirkcaldy side’s goals, and opportunities for each side to win it.

Sons had been scratching for form going into this game and had lost all of their last four, having not taken a point since October 3 in a 2-1 win at home to Livingston.

The most recent defeat, 1-0 at Queen of the South, had been unlucky and a reaction was hoped for. Within three minutes, that became more difficult.

James Craigen tapped home Mark Stewart’s low ball at the back post and already the home side were in trouble.

Raith continued to mercilessly dominate, with only Gregor Buchanan’s challenge denying Craig Wighton a second goal.

That instead came a minute before half time when a corner slipped from Mark Brown’s grasp, giving Stewart the simple task of finishing into an empty net.

The second half started a bit more positively for Dumbarton but on 58 minutes, Scott Robertson made space for himself to roll in a third goal. It was becoming tougher and tougher viewing.

Sons did manage to halt the incessant waves towards their goal but found little to retaliate, until with eight minutes to go, Willie Gibson went over to take a corner.

His set piece found the head of Stephen Saunders, who powered it home. Two minutes later the same happened again, although this time it was Mark Docherty providing the assist.

Fleming just missed out on heading the equaliser but on 87 minutes, was given the opportunity to get it after Iain Davidson handled Gibson’s shot in the box.

His conversion meant that a game where Sons trailed 3-0 five minutes previously was now all square.

Right on the 90th minute Gibson, having set up two goals, could have had one for himself which could have been an unthinkable winner. Instead his bending cross hit the post and could not rebound for anybody to finish.

Equally, it could all have been in vain had Jamie Lindsay not headed off the line when Raith thought they had their fourth of the afternoon.

Most games with three goals’ difference with eight minutes to play tend to be over. But this was a lesson that not all of them are.

Dumbarton: M Brown; Docherty, Saunders, Buchanan, Gallagher (Gibson 68), Barr, Waters (Cawley 46), Routledge, Lindsay, S Brown (Fleming 46), Brophy. Subs: Ewings; Craig, Wright, Ross.

Raith Rovers: Cuthbert; Toshney, Benedictus, McCord (Callachan 74), Stewart, Megginson (Petrie 70), Davidson, Wighton (Daly 88), McKeown, Craigen, Robertson. Subs: Laidlaw; Anderson, Matthews, Ford.

Referee: Greg Aitken.

Copyright Fullarton Photos 2017

11. Dumbarton 4-0 Raith Rovers – Saturday, March 11, 2017

There are similarities between the two games in today’s instalment – the most obvious one being that they’re against the same club.

Some players played in each of them, and Stevie Aitken was in the dugout for the two. But there is a big difference.

Where the above game was a smash and grab comeback which seemed so unthinkable, this was a 90-minute demolition job of Raith Rovers.

From Robert Thomson opening the scoring after six minutes to Garry Fleming finishing it in injury time, Dumbarton were head and shoulders above a team they needed to beat.

Season 2016/17 had not been without its frustrations in a bid to make it six seasons in the Championship. Evidence of that was as recent as the previous home outing against Ayr United – a fixture Sons led 2-0 going into injury time and ended up drawing 2-2.

Raith had gradually been worked into the mix for survival or relegation and were struggling for numbers, not least in goal, where Ryan Stevenson had recently played for them, also against Ayr.

Winning was not optional in this game if Sons were to breathe a bit more easily towards the season’s end. It was compulsory.

And in the end, it could hardly have gone much better. After Calum Gallagher had missed an early chance when he lost his footing, he turned his hand to assisting.

His cutback from the right found Thomson in space and the striker could hardly miss from close range.

There was a moment when Raith looked like they might respond, but Alan Martin’s phenomenal save from Jean Yves M’Voto’s header raised further thoughts that this was Dumbarton’s day.

The second goal, right on half time, was a work of art. Andy Stirling’s corner found Thomson who, without the ball touching the ground, thrashed it home.

Two minutes into the second half it was three. Thomson this time was the provider, playing a high ball across goal which Sam Stanton was waiting to convert.

Despite Martin continuing to make saves, this 3-0 lead was never in danger of slipping away as it had done for the visitors 16 months previously.

Indeed, it was added to in the game’s final move. Fleming connected with a long ball out on the left, dodged past two defenders and then the keeper. Just as he did in the 3-3 game, he had the final goalscoring say of the afternoon.

We couldn’t relax yet, but what a giant step this was towards the avoidance of relegation, which was done in the end.

Dumbarton: Martin; Lang, Carswell, C Gallagher (Fleming 78), Thomson, Stanton, Harvie, Barr, Smith, Stirling (Lyden 89), Nade (Prior 83). Sub: Ewings.

Raith Rovers: Penksa; Thomson, Callachan, M’Voto, Benedictus, Johnston (Osei 62), R Barr, Matthews (Roberts 66), McManus, Hardie (Skacel 56), C Barr. Subs: Coustrain, Thomson, Syme, Court.

Referee: Alan Newlands.

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