Dumbarton 0 Edinburgh City 1: Promotion play-off agony for Gary Naysmith despite win
Edinburgh City agonisingly missed out on promotion to League One despite a 1-0 second-leg victory over Dumbarton.
Ouzy See scored the only goal of the game at the C&G Systems Stadium, however, the Citizens miss out at the final hurdle after a 3-2 defeat on aggregate, but deserve huge plaudits for their second-half endeavours.
The visitors’ season hinged on 90 minutes at the Rock and despite a valiant effort, playing more than half an hour with ten men after Liam Henderson’s dismissal, City will remain in Scottish football’s fourth tier.
Gary Naysmith made one change from Monday’s 3-1 first-leg defeat, Conrad Balatoni replacing Andy Black who dropped to the substitutes’ bench.
A strong wind coming off the River Leven made for testing conditions for both sets of players, heavy rain prior to the match also making it tricky underfoot.
Chances were at a premium during a disappointing first half, City enjoying the more possession but unable to land a glove on the home side’s No.1 Sam Ramsbottom. In truth, that more than suited the Sons, who appeared content to sit on their two-goal advantage from the beginning of the week.
However, it was the hosts who carved out the best opportunity of the opening 45. Ross Forbes’ delivery right on the stroke of half-time saw defender Morgyn Neill, who netted Dumbarton’s third at Ainslie Park, head towards goal only for it to take a deflection off a team-mate and clear the crossbar with Calum Antell stranded.
But City gave themselves a real lifeline seven minutes after the restart. Skipper Craig Thomson’s delivery from the right looked to be Ramsbottom’s ball all day long. However, the goalkeeper remained static and that afforded See the chance to head the ball into the net from a couple of yards.
But the Capital outfit’s League One dreams went up in smoke six minutes later as Henderson picked up a second booking for simulation in the opposition’s box and off he went. The decision seemed harsh on the 24-year-old and that could be his last game in a City jersey for the out-of-contract defender.
See had strong claims for a penalty with little more than 20 minutes left to play when the striker appeared to be illegally brushed off the ball when through on goal. However, referee Alan Newlands wasn’t interested.
Naysmith went hell for leather in search of a second goal and the possibility of extra time, introducing Blair Henderson, Alex Harris and Jamie Dishington into the fray. And it was the latter who was presented with a last-gasp opportunity from a knock down, but the East Stirlingshire loanee couldn’t keep his volley down.
City forced a series of corners in the closing minutes of the tie but couldn’t force that all-important equaliser.
Dumbarton: Ramsbottom, McAllister, Quitongo, Neill, McGeever, Wedderburn (Omar 84), Carswell, Forbes, Brindley, Frizzell (Duthie 90), Jones. Subs: Barclay, Wallace, Layne, Langan.
Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Hamilton (Harris 68), Balatoni, L Henderson, Brown, Jardine, Campbell (Dishington 84), Handling (B Henderson 68), See. Subs: Goodfellow, Black, Tapping, Denham.