Stenhousemuir 2 Dumbarton 2: Late levellers block Warriors

Harry Paton celebrates his strike. Picture Alan Murray
Harry Paton celebrates his strike. Picture Alan Murray

Stenhousemuir missed an opportunity to move off the foot of the League One table in their last match of 2018, as stunning free kicks from Ross Forbes in stoppage time of either half cancelled out strikes from Harry Paton and Mark McGuigan to keep Stenny rooted to the foot of the table.

While it was ultimately a disappointing afternoon for the Warriors, it started promisingly, as the impressive Harry Paton was able to burst through the Dumbarton defence on nine minutes before unleashing a low left-footed effort that evaded Chris Smith at his near post.

Picture Alan Murray.

Picture Alan Murray.

The visitors, sporting an old sky-blue and white Stenny strip thanks to some pre-match confusion with their away colours, looked rattled, and Smith had to be on his toes shortly after to hold onto a Bobby Vaughan strike after some neat build-up play.

Dom Thomas found space to fire an effort over from just inside Graeme Smith’s box with ten minutes to go until the break, but in truth it had largely been a quiet afternoon for the experienced keeper to this point as frustrations grew in the visiting ranks.

For all their endeavour in the first 45 minutes, however, there was a sucker punch for the Warriors with virtually the last kick of the half, as Forbes stepped up to offer the Stenny keeper his first real test, and he did so in some style, with the first of two spectacular free kicks that levelled things up going into the break.

Stenny weren’t to be denied, however, and some excellent link-up play between Paton and Bobby Vaughan found Mark McGuigan in the box, who held off a challenge from Andy Dowie and squeezed the ball past the despairing Chris Smith to give Stenhousemuir a much-needed 2-1 advantage. As the second 45 wore on, however, Colin McMenamin’s side found themselves having to dig deep to hold onto their lead, as they narrowly escaping unscathed from a few goalmouth scrambles.

The best chance of the game fell to Kyle Hutton, after a Bobby Barr cut-back found him in a yard of space in front of goal, but the former Rangers midfielder lost his cool and blasted over when it seemed easier to hit the target.

Much to Stenhousemuir’s dismay, however, there was no shortage of late drama, as Connor McBrearty earned himself an early bath after picking up a second booking for a needless foul on Barr, before that man Forbes despatched the resulting free-kick at the death.