Sonkur’s strike sets up second leg showdown in Play-Off Final

Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2024

Ayrton Sonkur’s second half strike set up a mouth watering return leg at Ainslie Park on Friday night after a narrow loss at a decidedly dreich Dumbarton Stadium on Tuesday evening.

There was one change in the Spartans starting XI with Jamie Dishington swapping with Rhys Armstrong whilst Blair Henderson retained the skipper’s armband.

Just over a 1,000 supporters braved the elements as the rain lashed down shortly after kick-off which saw Spartans going on the offensive from the off.  Inventive play securing a couple of early corners however the Dumbarton defence were equal to the task.

The deadlock was broken in bizarre circumstances in the 21st minute.  Gallagher Lennon’s long ball changed postcodes, never mind direction, in the blustery and soggy Dumbarton sky as it hurtled towards the Spartans box.

Despite Blair Carswell’s efforts to adjust and track the trajectory of the ball, he could only push onto the bar and Tony Wallace was on hand to pounce and tap home to open the scoring.

Spartans rallied and Ayrton Sonkur was close with a glancing header that saw Jay Hogarth scramble and tip wide.

As Spartans pressed to get back on level terms, Michael Ruth made ground down the far touchline before sending in a low cross that was met by Finlay Gray who guided home at the front post.

Cammy Russell came close to halving the deficit moments later, only for a timely tackle in the box seeing him thwarted as he looked to unleash a strike towards Jay Hogarth.

HT: Dumbarton 2-0 The Spartans

Just three minutes after the interval, Spartans were to grab that elusive goal.  After Cammy Russell’s corner wasn’t fully cleared by the home defence, Callum Booth whipped the ball back in with interest.  It was then flicked on by Paul Watson into the path of Ayrton Sonkur who directed the ball beyond the keeper from the edge of the box.

James Craigen was Spartans saviour at the other end with a crucial headed clearance off the line as another wind-assisted Dumbarton corner caused problems for the visitors.

Spartans looked to have been denied a penalty kick when Cammy Russell latched on to a long pass from Marc McNulty and raced into the box with Carlo Pignatiello in pursuit.  As Russell stopped in mid-flow to cut back inside, his standing foot appeared to be taken away by Pignatiello sending Russell sprawling.  Unfortunately for the Spartans man his appeals were unsuccessful and play raged on.

James Craigen was next to find himself in the box after being played in by Cammy Russell.  Craigen’s touch took him away from the defender and his clip over Jay Hogarth agonisingly hit the crossbar.

The travelling support were then treated by the sight of Jordan Tapping coming on as a late replacement, making a return to the pitch after being sidelined for a number of weeks due to injury.

FT: Dumbarton 2-1 The Spartans

Next Fixture

Date: 29/06/24
Opponent: Livingston FC
Venue:Ainslie Park
Competition: Pre-Season Friendly
Kick off: 3.00pm

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