Dumbarton manager Jim Duffy slammed the penalty decision that meant his side lost out to Dunfermline Athletic in their opening Betfred Cup group fixture on Tuesday night.

Kevin O’Hara converted from 12 yards in the first-half after Morgyn Neill was adjudged to have handled the ball.

Sons managed to keep themselves in the game, and nearly grabbed a point when PJ Crossan crashed an effort off the post in the second-half, but ultimately the spot kick proved decisive.

Speaking post-match, Duffy, said: “I’m really frustrated with the goal.

“We’ve had virtual meetings with the referees and it was explained to us that if the ball comes off a player and accidentally hits his hand that is not a penalty, and that’s exactly what happened.

“We only had the meeting yesterday so I’m really confused.

“It did his hand, I’m not disputing it his hand, but it come off his thigh I think or his hip and then it hits him.

“I felt it was an unfair decision from the referee which ultimately cost us the opportunity from taking something from the game.

“Dunfermline are a good side and more than capable of winning the game, it’s just the manner was frustrating.”

There were just five survivors from the last time Duffy’s men were in action 213 days ago against Clyde at Broadwood.

Coming into the side were new signings Kevin Dabrowski, Nat Wedderburn and Denny Johnstone, as Rico Quitongo and Ruaridh Langan were re-introduced to the line-up after missing out on that day.

Sons brought visiting goalkeeper Owain Fon-Williams into the first save of the game after just 3 minutes, as Quitongo’s throw-in was flicked on by Neill to Crossan with his sharp turn and shot saved by the legs of the Welshman for a corner that came to nothing.

Dabrowski wasn’t made to wait much longer for his first save in a Dumbarton jersey as he got down well to his right to get a strong hand to Kyle Turner’s low drive after a surging run from Joshua Edwards.

The Pars started to take a hold of things but the Sons defence was standing strong – that was until the 25th minute when referee Gavin Ross awarded the penalty.

A cross from the left was ruled to have hit the hand of Neill, with ‘Scoop’ adamant the ball had bounced up and struck him.

Skipper Stuart Carswell was shown a yellow card for his protests, as well as Neill, but the cautions meant little compared to the disappointment of O’Hara’s converted spot-kick.

It was very much a Dumbarton performance that summed up life under Duffy as the visitors continued to control possession, but without putting too much pressure on the Dumbarton goal with strikes from Kerr McInroy and Turner failing to hit the target.

Sons would put together their best bit of play of the half in the closing stages of the first 45 as Johnstone held the ball up well before finding the powerful forward run of Sam Wardrop.

The full-back done well to dig out a cross to Stefan McCluskey however his first-time effort from the edge of the box was high.

That would be McCluskey’s last meaningful impact on the game as he would go off just a few minutes into the second-half.

The former Morton man went down holding his shoulder after an aerial duel with Aaron Comrie and was replaced by Hearts loanee Chris Hamilton - Duffy later confirmed that McCluskey had dislocated his shoulder.

Dunfermline’s failure to turn their continued possession into opportunities and goals meant that the door was always open for a Sons equaliser, and there was a penalty shout midway through the half that wasn’t too dissimilar to the one that went against them earlier on that was waved away.

Just a couple of minutes the later the visitors could have put the game out of sight as six away players charged towards the Sons goal on the counter, however a mistimed run meant the resulting goal was ruled out for offside.

Duffy’s side then came the width of a post away from equalising when Crossan picked up a cross, cut in from the right and curled an effort that crashed off the far post.

Sons would enjoy more of the ball as the game came to a close and the introduction of Robert Jones had the Pars defence on the back foot, but Stevie Crawford’s side held out for the three points.

Dumbarton visit Clyde on Saturday in their second group game of the competition. For a full report and reaction, make sure you buy Tuesday’s Reporter.