Dumbarton boss Stevie Farrell admits he felt for his team after they lost out to Stenhousemuir in his first ‘official’ game in charge as manager.

Sons took the lead through Ross MacLean towards the end of the first-half but the visitors hit back through Ross Lyon and Robert Thomson in the second period.

Farrell believes his side could have put the game out of sight before League Two Stenny turned the game around but refused to criticise his troops.

Speaking post-match, he said: “In the first ten minutes Stenhousemuir came out the traps but after that I think we dominated and probably should be further in front.

“We had Conner Duthie’s chance and he’s beating himself up but I thought he was excellent tonight.

"We’ve got a great chance at the start of the second-half with David Hopkirk and Ross MacLean where the keeper makes a good save, so possibly we should go 2-0 up, and then Stenhousemuir came back into the game.

“I don’t think we deserved to get beat tonight. I’m not saying we deserved to win it, but I don’t think we deserved to get beat.

“I’m not going to get too despondent, because I thought there was a lot of positives for us tonight, and I’ve got to take my hat off to the boys because it’s been a difficult few days.”

Sons' first game of the competition was due to take place on Saturday against St Mirren, but a positive Covid test in the Dumbarton camp forced four players into isolation and a number of injuries left Farrell with not enough players to field a team, leading to the Buddies being awarded a 3-0 win.

The Dumbarton boss then moved to add Sam Muir, a left-back who departed Motherwell in the summer, and Kirk McKnight, a forward on loan from Kilmarnock, to bolster his side to avoid another forfeit – with Faz also confirming after Tuesday’s game that he expects to welcome the four affected by Covid back for Saturday’s game at Dunfermline.

A total of five players made their competitive debuts for Sons as Muir, MacLean, Callum Wilson, Eoghan Stokes and David Hopkirk were all handed starts, whilst Andy Geggan and Gregor Buchanan sported a Dumbarton shirt for the first time in ten and four years respectively.

It was the visitors who started the better, and nearly took the lead through a deflected cross that bounced off the foot of the post before being pushed behind by Sam Ramsbottom.

Chances started to come for Dumbarton as MacLean had a strike from range fly wide and Duthie should have found the target from 12 yards as he fired the ball over the crossbar.

Sons created a couple of chances on the break from Stenhousemuir corners and Muir was next to fail to test the goalkeeper with an effort from 25 yards.

The opening goal of the evening came from one of those counter-attacks as former Stenny man David Hopkirk was brought down on the edge of the box, earning Dumbarton a free-kick in a promising position.

Duthie delivered the ball, and whilst the initial delivery was blocked by the defence, the ball dropped to MacLean and he guided it into the top corner through a busy penalty area.

Before the break there was still time for Dumbarton to have another opportunity as Duthie’s powerful shot was well pushed away by Ryan Marshall in the Warriors goal.

In the second half MacLean was denied a second by the legs of the goalkeeper and ex-Son Robert Thomson twice put the ball over the bar from promising positions.

The equalising goal did come for the visitors just after the hour when the impressive James Lyon curled the ball into the far corner from the edge of the box.

The League Two side were on top at this point, and Thomas Orr pounced on a slack back pass from Gregor Buchanan, but knocked the ball too far past the onrushing Ramsbottom and the ball trickled out of play.

Sons struggled to get back into the game, and fell behind with ten minutes to go when Thomson headed the ball into the net from close range.

There was little response from Dumbarton with attentions now turning to East End Park on Saturday where Dunfermline Athletic await in Sons' penultimate group stage tie.