Preview: Dumbarton v St Mirren

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St Mirren head over the Erskine Bridge tomorrow afternoon for a Ladbrokes Championship match, going head to head with Dumbarton as Saints look to get a win to kick-start their league campaign.
Stevie Aitken’s men from ‘The Rock’ have also had an indifferent start to the season and like Saints are still trying to find their feet in season 2016/17. When Ian Murray moved over to manage St Mirren in May 2015, Aitken took over as manager at Dumbarton and last season he steered The Sons to safety as they held on to eighth place in the Championship.
Aitken made several changes in his squad over the summer as he looked to build a side to continue their stay in the Championship and his recruitment drive has seen him bringing in players who not too long ago were making their mark in Scotland’s top tier. The head turning signing must be that of former Hearts man Ryan Stevenson who was released by Partick Thistle over the summer. The attacking midfielder is no stranger to matches against St Mirren, scoring in his last outing against the Buddies for Thistle in May 2015. Sam Stanton has been brought in on loan from Hibernian, the 22-year-old made his debut in the IRN-BRU Cup loss to Stranraer two weeks ago but sat out last week’s Championship match due to it being against his parent club.
One man St Mirren will be well aware of tomorrow is Garry Fleming. While to date the striker has only scored one goal this season he banged in three against Saints last season, all of them turning out to be match winners. The man leading the goal scoring stakes for The Sons is former St Mirren player Mark Docherty who has bagged three already this term.
After a disappointing Betfred Cup campaign at the start of the season, a 4-3 loss to Dunfermline opened the league season for Dumbarton. The following week a few eyebrows were raised as The Sons won 1-0 against Dundee United then they drew 1-1 the following week against close neighbours Morton at Cappielow. A narrow 1-0 loss against Falkirk was followed by a disappointing exit from the IRN-BRU Cup against Stranraer. Last week it took a Jason Cummings’ penalty for The Sons to lose to Hibernian.
St Mirren’s slow start to the season continued last Saturday as they went down 3-1 to Queen of the South at The Paisley 2021 Stadium. Derek Lyle gave the Doonhamers an early lead then Tom Walsh pulled Saints level with an overhead kick just before half-time but the visitors still went into the break a goal up as Lyle added another to his tally. The game was all but sealed ten minutes into the second half when Stephen Dobbie scored his seventh goal of the season.
Saints had a tough time of it against Dumbarton last season with The Sons winning three of the league match-ups between the sides. After Saints suffered a 2-1 loss last August in Paisley they headed over the Erksine Bridge just before Christmas where a Garry Fleming goal all but put an end to Ian Murray’s reign as St Mirren manager. Under Alex Rae Saints won the next outing between the sides when Lawrence Shankland’s second half strike was the difference between the sides. The last meeting between Saints and The Sons saw an own goal from Keith Watson and a strike from Garry Fleming cancel out Calum Gallagher’s early opener for Saints at The Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium.
Saints loss to Queen of the South last week saw them drop to bottom spot in the league but they are only two points behind sixth placed Dumbarton so there is still everything to play for in tomorrow’s match-up under the Dumbarton Rock where both sides will be looking to get their season into gear.