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Report: St Mirren 1-0 Dumbarton

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By Stuart Gillespie at the Paisley 2021 Stadium

Saints made it three home wins in a row this afternoon with a scrappy victory over Dumbarton.

In a game with few highlights, the decisive moment came just after the hour mark when David Clarkson played in Lawrence Shankland to fire home his first goal since the New Year win at Morton.

The Sons pushed for an equaliser but rarely threatened to get one, the result meaning the Buddies are now five points off the promotion play-offs and twice as far clear of second bottom Livingston.

There were three changes to the Saints side that lost in Dumfries last week, although they all seemed to be enforced rather than sparked by the defeat. Stephen Mallan and Keith Watson both dropped out through suspension while Alex Cooper was also missing, so in came Scott Agnew, fit again Andy Webster and Kyle McAllister, who was handed his first senior start. Jim Goodwin was fit enough for a place on the bench alongside youngster Nathan Flanagan. Dumbarton had to make do without Garry Fleming and Christian Nade but there was still plenty experience thanks to the likes of Darren Bar, Steven Saunders and returning keeper Mark Brown.

McAllister almost marked his full debut with a goal inside the first 20 minutes, running onto a pass from David Clarkson before shooting into the side netting. Jamie Langfield was called into action for the first time when he dealt comfortably with Jordan Kirkpatrick’s effort from 20 yards and Saints’ quick counter ended with Clarkson failing to find the target from the edge of the box.

The Buddies should then have been in front when Rocco Quinn exchanged passes with McAllister before teeing up Shankland a few yards out but he hit his shot straight at Brown and the keeper was able to block it before his defence scrambled the ball behind. Agnew’s corner got caught by the wind and ended up in the net but ref John Beaton felt Brown had been fouled and cut short the celebrations. Dumbarton threatened from a corner of their own moments later, Frazer Wright’s header being cleared off the line. Shankland and Agnew both found themselves out of luck with long-range efforts as a dull first half came to a close.

Half-Time: St Mirren 0-0 Dumbarton

A foul on Calum Gallagher a few minutes after the break gave Agnew another chance and while his free-kick cleared the wall it sailed a yard or two wide. Tremendous work by Jack Baird won Saints a corner from which Shankland’s header was on target but was dealt with by the visiting defence.

With little happening at either end it was time for a change, Jordan Stewart replacing Gallagher after an hour. The tactical change must have made a difference as moments later Saints were in front. Clarkson seemed to have lost track of the ball before rediscovering its location, taking a touch with his head before sending Shankland in on goal. The striker played a 1-2 with Clarkson then composed himself before smashing a shot past Brown to give the Buddies the lead, the Dumbarton appeals for offside falling on deaf ears.

The lead should have been doubled just a couple of seconds later. A cross from the left was too high for Shankland and fell just right for Clarkson at the back post but his volley was well off target. Dumbarton made a change of their own as they tried to respond, Donald McCallum replacing Scott Taggart and a chance immediately presented itself for Grant Gallagher after Langfield could only punch a free-kick clear as far as the edge of the box, however the Sons player’s attempt was woeful and trundled wide. To compound a bad few minutes for the midfielder, he was then booked for dissent before Agnew’s effort from the edge of the box took a deflection and posed no problems for Brown.

Tom Walsh cut inside before curling a shot past Langfield’s far post as the visitors looked for an equaliser. In a bid to steady things Jim Goodwin was brought on for the last quarter of an hour, the popular player making his return as he took over from Agnew. Dumbarton replaced Gallagher and Jon Routledge with Kevin Cawley and Kler Heh a few minutes later as Brown easily saved a Clarkson daisy cutter. No sooner had Cawley arrived than he was getting booked for a challenge on McAllister.

Saints’ final sub saw the hard working Clarkson replaced by club captain Steven Thompson. Not for the first time in recent weeks, the striker’s main involvement was to help run the clock down and it once again worked a treat as Saints easily ran the clock down to record an important victory ahead of a tough trip to Ibrox.

Full-Time: St Mirren 1-0 Dumbarton

St Mirren: Langfield, Kelly, Webster, Baird, Agnew (Goodwin 77), Gallagher (Stewart 61), Clarkson (Thompson 84), Shankland, Quinn, Irvine, McAllister.
Subs Not Used: Gow, Howieson, Flanagan, Wilks (GK).

Dumbarton: Brown, Taggart (McCallum 68), Docherty, Saunders, Buchanan, Gallagher (Heh 80), Kirkpatrick, Barr, Routledge (Cawley 80), Wright, Walsh.
Subs Not Used: Waters, Hopkins, Ewings (GK).

Referee: John Beaton.
Assistant Referee: Ross Haswell.
Assistant Referee: Jim Burns.

Attendance: 2,792 (207 Dumbarton fans)

Star Saint: Jack Baird.

Match report pictures by Allan Picken – © Allan Picken Photography.

Match Gallery Pictures © John Millar.

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