Hibs’ fans breathed a huge sigh of relief last night after three goals in the last 12 minutes secured a place in the next round of the Scottish League Cup following a dramatic encounter with Dumbarton at Easter Road.
The Sons had led 2-0 but a brave fight back from Alan Stubbs’ men spared their embarrassment.
New signing Liam Fontaine made his debut replacing Cambridge Town bound Michael Nelson whilst Danny Handling celebrated his new four year contract by replacing Paul Heffernan in the starting XI. Scott Robertson returned from suspension replaced the suspended Liam Craig.
David Gray took over the captain’s armband.
There were several familiar faces in the Dumbarton camp, with former fan’s favourites Ian Murray and Guillaume Beuzein in the dugout and Colin Nish, David Van Zanten and Scott Taggart in the team.
There was almost a delay in the start of the game due to the late arrival of the Dumbarton team bus.
Hibs dominated the first half and Alex Harris, Handling, Farid El Alagui’s and Fontaine all having chances to open the scoring, but the Dumbarton defence held firm.
Man of the match Matt Kennedy also had the fans off their seats with another fine display down the left wing as Hibs struggled to grab the initiative.
As so often happens at Easter Road, Hibs fell behind against the run of play in the 51st minute when Scott Agnew’s corner kick was headed back across goal by Colin Nish and Mich Megginson hooked the ball high into the net, then seven minutes later the ‘Sons’ added a second from another corner when the ball ricochet off Mark Gilhaney into the net.
Despite this setback, the fans continued to get behind the players and substitute Jason Cummings was denied by a superb save from Scott Rogers before Scott Allan’s shot was deflected just wide of the post.
There was a nice touch when Nish was substituted and left the field to a standing ovation from all four stands.
With 12 minutes remaining Hibs pulled one back when Gray beat his man down the right wing and sent in an inch perfect cross which El Alagui headed into the corner of the net.
From then it was one way traffic and six minutes later El Alagui levelled the scoring with another powerful header, this time from a Jordon Forster cross.
With extra time looming, substitute Sam Stanton cut inside from the right and curled a fantastic left foot strike into the far corner of the net from the edge of the box.
Afterwards Alan Stubbs made a point of praising the supporters for continuing to get behind the players even when they went two goals down.
Hibernian: Oxley, Gray, Fontaine, Forster, Harris (Cummings 56’), Robertson, El Alagui, Handling (Stanton 68’), S Allan, Booth, Kennedy. Substitutes not used: Perntreou, Heffernan, Tudur Jones, L Allan, Dunsmore.
Dumbarton: Rodgers, van Zanten, Linton, Graham, Turner, Gilhaney, Agnew, Nish (Kirkpatrick 71’), Megginson, Taggart, Flemming (Campbell 81’). Substitutes not used: Ewings, Prunty, Murray, McDougal, Coleman.
Referee: Don Robertson.