Stranraer 0-0 Dumbarton – Scrappy playoff first leg ends in stalemate

Dumbarton and Stranraer played out a stalemate in the first leg of the League One playoff semi-final.

A tense, scrappy game saw little in the way of goalmouth action – with the tie remaining tightly poised ahead of the second leg on Tuesday night at the Rock.

And Sons manager Jim Duffy thought the outcome was probably the correct one.

He said: “I think a draw was a fair result, both teams would agree with that. There wasn’t one who deserved to win it.

“It was a very competitive, relatively even game.

“Both teams gave everything as you would expect, but there wasn’t anything we created that I wouldn’t expect Stranraer to deal with.

“We tried to be positive, we told the players that we wanted to be on the front foot and take the game to Stranraer, but the game dictated that we had to just roll our sleeves up.”

Manager Duffy made two changes to the side which had defeated Peterhead on Tuesday evening, as the injured Ryan McGeever and James Wallace dropped out with the fit-again Nat Wedderburn and Ruaridh Langan returning to the side.

It took almost half-an-hour for a moment of note in a first-half that was far from easy on the eye.

Darryl Duffy took advantage of a Stuart Carswell air-kick and burst in on goal, but Sons keeper Sam Ramsbottom stood up well to deny the veteran.

That briefly looked to spark some life into the remainder of the half, with Adam Frizzell driving into the box before being crowded out by blue shirts.

With 10 minutes to go until half-time Sons had the ball in the net, as Jaime Wilson made a trademark run from right on the shoulder of the defender before clipping the ball over the advancing Greg Fleming – but the Blues were saved by assistant Gary Hilland’s flag.

Despite being a tough watch, the first-half almost ended with a special moment of quality.

Former Rangers forward Duffy picked up possession 35 yards out and unleashed a venomous effort which flashed by the post and hit the stanchion with Ramsbottom at full stretch.

Whilst the first-half had been a poor spectacle things opened up slightly at the beginning of the second.

Ross Forbes’ trademark free-kick was met by Jaime Wilson at the far post, but could only fire into the side netting from close range.

Good link-up play between Rabin Omar and Ruaridh Langan then opened up space for the Morton loanee, and he forced Blues’ keeper Greg Fleming into an uncomfortable save at his near post.

That was as close as either side came until the final 12 minutes however, when Stranraer missed a second golden chance to make a breakthrough.

Paul Burns’ fizzed a ball across goal that was met at the far post by Thomas Orr – however from a yard out he somehow contrived to send the ball wide of the empty net.

The chance looked to wake Sons up, as they began to push for a potentially vital goal.

Ross Forbes’ whipped corner caused chaos in the area before being hacked clear, with his recycled delivery met by Nick McAllister’s head – but Fleming was down well to hold the ball.

The Blues keeper was almost the villain with seven minutes remaining however as he charged out his box before gifting possession to Robert Jones, but the Dumbarton substitute saw his lob cleared off the line by Jamie Hamill.

There was still time for two more chances for the visitors, with Conner Duthie testing Fleming after a charging run – before Ross Forbes fired a volley from inside the area wide of target, to ensure that the game, deservedly, ended goalless.

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