Dumbarton put on a brave and spirited performance against Falkirk on Saturday before ultimately losing out 3-0 to the title-chasing side.

Charlie Telfer had the Bairns ahead at the break before a second-half brace from Declan McManus secured what turned out to be a comfortable victory for the hosts.

There was another enforced change to Dumbarton’s already depleted squad as Joe McKee missed out and was replaced by Stefan McCluskey, who was last week’s only outfield substitute.

Lewis Crawford and Mati Zata were recalled from a loan spell at Rossvale to make up the bench alongside goalkeeper Jordan Pettigrew.

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Sons started the game brightly despite going into the game as underdogs and didn’t seem to be showing any signs of missing McKee’s delivery from set pieces as McCluskey crossed for Ryan McGeever only for goalkeeper Robbie Mutch to grab a hold of his header.

Conor Scullion then showed terrific feet to get away from a couple of Falkirk defenders who had crowded him out before shooting across goal with the effort deflected just wide.

Dumbarton weren’t going to be on the front foot all afternoon but initially seemed well organised when the inevitable Falkirk onslaught did arrive midway through the half as groans started to become audible from the home support.

When the hosts did find a gap in the Sons defence, Telfer could only poke the ball wide from close range.

Sons smashed the crossbar just before the half-hour mark after a well worked move involving Kyle Hutton, Rico Quitongo and McCluskey created a chance for Ruaridh Langan from 12 yards with his effort cannoning off the upright, bouncing off the line and away to safety.

You felt that might just have been the chance for Dumbarton and there was a sense of ‘what if?’ when the Bairns opened the scoring 10 minutes later.

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The manner of goal compounded the misery for Jim Duffy’s side as Telfer’s harmless shot from the edge of the box was going to be straight forward for goalkeeper Conor Brennan until the ball deflected off Morgyn Neill and rolled into the corner.

The hosts were much-improved in the second period and Sons didn’t enjoy nearly as much possession or create as many chances, aside from a half opportunity for Ryan Tierney which flew by the post.

Falkirk’s second goal just after the hour mark was of great quality as Paul Dixon’s cross was glanced towards goal by McManus and flew into the far corner to give the hosts a comfortable cushion.

Brennan prevented the Bairns from adding to their tally by denying Raffaele De Vita, Conor Sammon and McManus with good stops but could do nothing to stop the latter’s clinical strike from finding the bottom corner in the closing minutes to wrap the game up.

In the end it was a comfortable win for the hosts and Sons were left with nothing to show for their efforts as they now prepare to face Clyde at the C&G Systems Stadium this Saturday.

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