Match preview: Dumbarton v Dunfermline Athletic

Dumbarton and Dunfermline Athletic will face one another on Saturday afternoon at the Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium in a reverse of the opening fixture of the Championship season.

Back in August, Joe Cardle’s hat-trick helped the Pars win a peculiarly one-sided match 4-3 after conceding the opener and finishing the contest with 10 men, thanks in part to gifting two penalties in second half stoppage time. While the Fifers throughly dominated throughout and the scoreline flattered the Sons’ performance that did not transition to better results in the next nine match days for both sides as they sit right and ninth in the table, only separated by a point.

Both Allan Johnston and Steven Aitken will be targeting this tie to get all three points, and get them closer to the middling pack that has been getting further away week.

Keys to the game

The West Dumbartonshire outfit statically have the third worst defence, having surrendered 16 goals, and just the two clean sheets to go along with that. Yet, their attack is the poorest in the second tier with less than a goal a game coming from the part-timers. Athletic do not match up to the west coasters’ bad defensive record with 21 knocked past them (unsurprisingly nobody has conceded more than 18), and have kept their opponents scoreless on just the one occasion. The only aspect that brings any joy for this weekend’s away side is their scoring prowess which would see them mid-table (if that is all that counted). Everything points towards this competition finishing higher than the 2.71 goal average in this league.

Dunfermline’s best chance of victory will come through dominating the midfield which lacks any proper central midfielders that can dig in and make in difficult for any opposition when Grant Gallagher is missing. The return of Nat Wedderburn helps Andy Geggan in this aspect of the game, as if it were not for him last Saturday then Hibernian would have won by more than just the two that they did. The Pars should be more solid going forward if the former Cowdenbeath man can get a good run of starts in him.

The way in which the Sons can win this game is through set-pieces. They are capable of exporting the weaknesses that the Pars have from corners and second balls into the box from free-kicks. This will likely be their only real chances, seeing that three of their nine goals have come from the penalty spot.

This is one outing in which Johnston’s 4-4-2 system can shine. Against part-time teams, the onslaught of attacks can really make it difficult, especially in those last 20 minutes. Aitken will likely deploy a 4-4-1-1 that can sit in to a 4-5-1 when out of possession, and mainly look to frustrate and hit on the break with the likes of Josh Todd and David Smith out wide.

Kickoff time, ticket prices and where to watch

Saturday 15:00pm, Cheaper Insurance Direct Stadium.
£18 adults, £9 concessions, parent & U12 child – £24

Line-ups last time out

Referee

Steven Kirkland.

What Dumbarton are saying

“We re gifting teams goals and need to sort that out.” (Stephen Aitken, manager)

What Dunfermline Athletic are saying

“We need to get our finger out now and start picking up points. We play Dumbarton next and we have already beaten them this season. Hopefully that can start a run for us, I think we are due one.” (Lee Ashcroft, centre back)

Common fixtures

Dumbarton:

0-1 v Hibernian
1-0 v Falkrik (A)

1-1 v St Mirren
1-1 v Morton (A)

1-0 v Dundee United
0-0 v Queen of the South
3-2 v Raith Rovers (A)

Points: Six

Dunfermline Athletic:

1-3 v Hibernian
2-1 v Falkirk (A)

4-3 v St Mirren
2-1 v Morton (A)

1-3 v Dundee United
0-1 v Queen of the South
2-0 v Raith Rovers (A)

Points: Three

Table

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Last five meetings

Championship

06/08/16: Dunfermline Athletic 4-3 Dumbarton

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Division One

23/03/13: Dunfermline Athletic 3-4 Dumbarton
05/01/13: Dumbarton 0-1 Dunfermline Athletic
24/11/12: Dunfermline Athletic 4-0 Dumbarton
15/09/12: Dumbarton 0-2 Dunfermline Athletic

Prediction

Dumbarton 1-2 Dunfermline Athletic

Odds

Dumbarton 8/5 Draw 13/5 Dunfermline Athletic 31/20

Best bet

Dunfermline to win and over 2.5 goals @ 27/10


You can follow @MichaelWood_SJ on Twitter.

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