Dumbarton 0 - 1 Hibs: Cummings bags winner on 100th start
Jason Cummings celebrated his 100th start for Hibs by grabbing the goal which earned Hibs their fifth consecutive Championship victory as Neil Lennon's side tightened their grip on the top of the table.
It was far from pretty, but having lost twice in Dumbarton last season, Hibs would have been just happy to claim the three points.
Hibs went close to taking the lead in the 17th minute, Paul Hanlon nodding John McGinn’s free kick back across goal for Cummings to meet it at the far post, only for Sons goalkeeper Alan Martin to push it away,
Dumbarton, though, caused Hibs a few problems of their own, Hanlon forced to concede the first of what became three corners in quick succession, all taken by former Hearts man Ryan Stevenson.
The first caught the head of Grant Holt before falling for another ex-Tynecastle player David Smith, who had his shot deflected behind and from the second delivery Lewis Stevenson was handily placed to head Gregor Buchanan’s effort off his own line.
But Hibs got themselves ahead via a hotly-contested 31st-minute penalty. Skipper David Gray was there beyond the far post to head McGinn’s deep cross back into the danger area, where referee Greg Aitken judged Holt had been hauled to the turf by Buchanan. Cummings stepped up to confidently slot away the resultant spot-kick.
Incredibly, Hibs’ top-scorer could have had a quick-fire hat-trick in the next few minutes, Buchanan crashing his clearance off him to leave the striker a clear run-in on goal. However, he lofted the ball over the bar and then did so with a free header after Stevenson’s cross had been nodded back across goal again by Gray.
Although they only had that solitary goal, Hibs were well in control of the match, although mindful a second goal would ease any worries of a Dumbarton equaliser as the game moved into its final quarter.
And it almost came when Andrew Shinnie, who had enjoyed a terrific game, laid the ball off to substitutes striker Brian Graham. He wasted no time in firing in a powerful shot, which Martin was happy to beat down and hold at the second attempt.
Dumbarton felt a number of decisions had gone against them – not least that first half penalty – and assistant boss Steven Farrell was ordered to the stand having made his displeasure only too clear to the ref.
However, the travelling support became increasingly anxious as Dumbarton mounted a late charge, forcing Hibs deeper and deeper into their own territory although, to be fair, goalkeeper Ofir Marciano was rarely in danger.
Hibs remain two points clear at the top of the Championship with 15 points. Queen of the South remain two points adrift in second place, with Raith third on ten points.
Dumbarton: Martin, Pettigrew, J Thomson, Buchanan, R Stevenson (Fleming 73) Todd, Gallagher (Docherty 82), R Thomson, Harvie, Barr, Smith (McCallum 82). Substitutes not used: Ewings, Kassarate.
Hibs: Marciano, Gray, McGregor, Hanlon, L Stevenson, Bartley (McGeouch 66), Fyvie, McGinn, Shinnie (Forster 88), Cummings (Graham 66), Holt. Substitutes not used: Laidlaw, Boyle, Keatings, Harris.
Referee: Greg Aitken.