On Tuesday, July 28, 2009, we reported...

DUMBARTON were torn apart by classy Middlesbrough this week — but Jim Chapman hopes the football masterclass can be used to help the Sons this season.

The Championship side ran riot at the Strathclyde Homes Stadium as their ruthless finishing gave Gareth Southgate’s side an easy 5-0 victory.

But Chapman wasn’t too downhearted at the defeat and has urged his men to match Middlesbrough’s quality in their Division Two campaign.

He said: “You could see the gulf in class but it was a fantastic learning experience. Just to see their willingness, movement and technical ability was great and we can learn from that.

“They’re a great team but I was a bit disappointed we stood off them. It’s good playing against better opposition in pre-season because if we learn lessons against these sides then it will make us stronger for this season.

“We’ve had tough games against Partick Thistle, St Mirren and Queen of the South but have picked up valuable lessons and that’s what pre-season is all about.”

Boro may have dropped out of England’s elite league last season but their outstanding quality still showed early on as Gary O’Neill fired the visitors ahead on five minutes with a vicious shot after Didier Digar played him through on goal. Ryan McStay had Sons’ first chance 11 minutes later when he flashed a low shot wide from 18 yards.

Boro took their foot off the gas but they could’ve doubled their lead on 38 minutes had it not been for the heroics of David McEwan. Josh Walker sent in a pin-point cross to Martin Emnes and his close-range shot brought out a remarkable point-blank save from McEwan. Two minutes later they scored their second of the evening when Justin Hoyte’s cross deflected off Mick Dunlop’s head and looped over David McEwan. It went from bad to worse for Dumbarton just before the interval as Jeremie Aliadiere made it 3-0 from the penalty spot after Ross Clark brought down right-back Hoyte in the box. Stevie Murray nearly pulled a goal back for Sons three minutes into the second half when he curled a free-kick inches over the

bar from 20 yards. Rising England star Adam Johnson made it 4-0 to Middlesbrough on the hour-mark when he charged past the Sons defence before unleashing a scorching long-range shot past McEwan. And with 16 minutes remaining Rhys Williams rounded off the win by nodding home Walker’s corner from close range. Southgate said: “The team that started for us had a fair bit of investment so Dumbarton must have been encouraged by their performance. I can see Dumbarton are a very young side and I liked how they wanted to play the right way.

“There’s a big gap in quality but we gained a lot from the game and I’m sure the Dumbarton players learned from the experience as well.”