Dumbarton 1 Falkirk 1: Bairns share the spoils with Sons

Falkirk manager Gary Holt
Falkirk manager Gary Holt

Falkirk and Dumbarton fought out an entertaining draw to open the new SPFL Championship season.

A late goal from Sons’ Bryan Prunty six minutes from time cancelled out Conor McGrandles’ volleyed opener, and earned the Bairns their first opening day point in more than four years.

Michael McGovern’s goal lived a charmed life at times, especially when the Sons hit the post, but equally, Falkirk could have opened the scoring a lot earlier than they did.

Six minutes in Jamie Ewings threw the ball out, but straight to Phil Roberts. The Bairns striker was fouled and the Bairns couldn’t take advantage from the set-piece, but they were gioven another chance from a free-kick seconds later when Conor McGrandles was tripped by Steven McDougall who then grabbed the midfielder round the throat claiming he dived.

He hadn’t, but McGrandles would hit the deck several more times under stiff challenges from the home side.

The Sons’ Garry Fleming threw himself to the ground on 15 minutes alongside Kyle Turnbull but was booked for simulation. It marked the beginning of intense |Dumabrton pressure on Michael McGovern’s goal with Will Vaulks heading a shot from Kevin Smith that was bound for the top corner, then the goalkeeper tipping over a thumping Scott Agnew drive from 30 yards.

Turnbull was nutmegged on the right wing just after the half hour and Gilhaney nipped into the box to fire at the near post. The ball hit Kingsley, McGovern and the post before bouncing clear. The next corner, just before the interval was needlessly conceded by Alston - and then dropped by McGovern before Kingsley booted clear off the line.

The chances had fallen for Dumbarton but the Bairns’ build-up had been impressive, up to the final pass, and they certainly still looked threatening. Alston could have given gthem a first half lead after a clever passing move rounded off by Loy cutting back for the on-rushing midfielder, but Jamie Ewings held the low strike.

Even more so in the second half when the tempo increased and the Bairns dictated the third quarter of the match, and got the goal their play merited when McGrandles volleyed in through a ruck of players after Jay Fulton’s header to Alston’s corner was cleared in the box.

The Bairns should have been two up a minute later when Loy released Roberts and he sprinted through on goal. Jamie Ewings smothered his low shot, and the striker and Alston couldn’t make anything of the spillages.

Dumbarton threw on Mitch Megginson and Bryan Prunty to try and pull the game back and the gamble was rewarded when the latter levelled with six minutes to go, capitalising on a knockdown from Kevin Smith mistake in front of goal that couldn’t be cleared by Stephen Kingsley.

Dumbarton threw more foreward but nothing came and though the Bairns added Thomas Grant and Craig Sibbald, there would be no late winner for the Bairns.