Author: Ross Wardrop
Lowland League side, Rangers B thrashed Dumbarton, who sit at the top of League 2, 7-0, in the second round of the SPFL Trust Trophy, also known as the Challenge Cup. This was thanks to a hattrick from young starlet Alex Lowry, who was later stretchered off after a bad tackle, with additional goals from Charlie McCann, Zak Lovelace, Aaron Lyall and Stephen Kelly.
In a match that was largely dominated by the Young Bears, Dumbarton were lucky not to see the scoreline in double figures, as the home side (Rangers, on the day, despite playing at Dumbarton’s stadium, who they groundshare with) had several close chances that were just missed.
Going into the game, there was an interesting contrast within the Dumbarton squad, as 37-year-old John Gemmell was named in the starting lineup and 16-year-old Declan Breen was seen on the bench after receiving the call-up from the Sons’ under 18’s squad. Breen went on to play the last 10 minutes of the 90 once the game was out of sight.
Rangers B started dominating possession once the first whistle was blown, and it didn’t take long for them to take advantage as Alex Lowry scored his first of the night, jumping at the opportunity of an easy finish after Dumbarton’s Ryan McGeever slipped up and gave away possession to the 19-year-old.
As remained a theme throughout the game, the young Gers controlled the ball well, forcing the predominantly older Sons squad to run around more than they were used to. Other than a few half chances from Dumbarton, it was then Rangers who got into great attacking positions and eventually won a penalty after a handball from the Dumbarton captain. Of course, it was none other than Alex Lowry who slotted it away bottom left for his brace on the night.
The two teams went to the changing rooms with the score a substantial 4-0 in favour of Rangers B, thanks to further goals from Charlie McCann, who scored into the right-hand side of the goal passed Dumbarton’s 19-year-old keeper, Harry Broun, and a well worked free kick started with Robbie Fraser who hit it short to Alex Lowry, who then played a well-timed cross into new signing from Milwall, Zak Lovelace, who finished first-time from about 6 yards out.
Lowry continued his dominance early in the second half, hardly giving spectators a chance to sit down after their half-time pie, as he completed his hattrick with a shot from an awkward angle to make it five on the night for the team.
Substitutions from Dumbarton around 60 minutes weren’t enough, as they conceded their 6th goal of the night, against the side in the league below, with another shot that was hit into the far corner.
Perhaps the only positive for the Sons of the Rock was the addition of young Declan Breen, aged 16-years-old, who came off the bench. Breen came from the under 18’s squad after being called up once Dumbarton manager, Stevie Farrell, had seen him play and train over the past few weeks.
Thankfully for Dumbarton, the 7th goal that came in was the final one, after a long shot from distance rolled across the ground into the bottom corner by Stephen Kelly. Arguably, it could have been more, as throughout the game, Rangers B had many more chances that just brushed the post, or went just over the crossbar.
Unfortunately, Rangers’ star player, Alex Lowry was injured in a shocking tackle by Dumbarton’s striker, Ally Love, which was only a yellow card according to the referee. The challenge resulted in Lowry leaving the field of play on a stretcher, the challenge angered the crowd, the staff and the media present at the game. B team manager, David McCallum was particularly enragened, speaking to the Lowry family post-game. The tackle has been described as “assault” on Twitter. Sadly, it overshadowed the great performance by Lowry and his teammates in a dominant performance. You can find the full video of the tackle here.
Speaking to Youth Football Scotland about Declan Breen, who came off the bench, Dumbarton Manager Stevie Farrell said: “There wasn’t any youth structure in place when I came to the club, it was one of the things I wanted to do over time… he (Declan) has been in training with us a couple of times and he has done very, very well. I thought he was excellent tonight, he equipped himself, he passed a couple of times, and slotted into our shape. It was a hard game for him to come into tonight. It’s his SPFL cup debut so I’m delighted with him.”
David McCallum later spoke on the horrible tackle: “It’s a bad tackle, what level of injury it is, we don’t know at the moment we won’t know until it’s assessed properly… (I’m feeling) anger, no question, we want to talk to the players about a really important, strong, positive performance but we’ve got a kid lying on the bench next to us clearly upset by what is, in my mind, a dirty tackle at a time of the game where it’s dead. I don’t think there’s any excuses as to why it’s taken place. There’s a quietness in there (the dressing room) because they’re really angry and frustrated as to what happened (within) a strong performance.
New striker from Milwall, Zak Lovelace, who is 16-years-old, also reflected on his move north of the border: “Rangers always appealed to me, the football they play, the levels that they play at, they’re always in at European football, everything at this club is big.” There has been recent speculation that Lovelace should feature more in the first team, due to the current status of some of Rangers’ first team strikers, and he certainly proved that he has the talent to do so.
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