Dumbarton manager Stevie Farrell thanked the Sons support for sticking by his side as they moved five points clear at the top of League Two.

Questions were asked after Saturday’s first home defeat of the season against Elgin City but Sons responded with a dominant first-half performance last night, in which they were unfortunate to only be one ahead, before digging in after the break to secure three points.

Finlay Gray scored the only goal of the evening to inflict the first defeat onto their opponents in the league this year – the only other team they had lost out in 2023 was against Premiership side Livingston in the Scottish Cup.

Faz brought Declan Byrne into the starting eleven for the first time since October after he missed nearly four months through injury, and Peter Grant was handed his first start in a Dumbarton jersey after arriving on loan from Clyde with the Sons boss delighted with the response to the weekends disappointment.

Speaking post-match, he said: “We got what we deserved on Saturday and tonight we got what we deserved.

“I thought with the first-half performance tonight, we were unfortunate to only be one ahead – before we scored we had two or three good chances.

“We warned them at half-time the game was only half done and we didn’t get any points or prizes at half-time.

“It was a fantastic result and we asked a few questions after Saturday but I’m delighted with the result and the performance and it’s another clean sheet.

“The boys took some harsh criticism after Saturday and rightly so but nobody was giving them criticism more than them. They were sore on themselves.

“They are in a league championship race and they know they are. They’ve been it since day one and they are still in it so they are putting demands on each other.

“Saturday wasn’t good enough for them and they let themselves down before they let anyone else down, and it was excellent to have the fans right behind them today.

“It would have been easy for the fans after a couple of poor results to get on their backs and for the atmosphere to be a wee bit down but it wasn’t.

“I thought the atmosphere was good and I thank the fans for that because after Saturday and the performance it would have been easy for the fans to go the other way but they realise where the team are and how well their team is doing and they got behind them.

“We had big players missing from the squad tonight but that’s what I’ve built a squad for.

“We seen at the start of the season that Declan is different from the other strikers because he goes and chases balls in the channels and puts pressure on centre-backs to go and make mistakes. I thought he was excellent tonight and he’ll get better for that 60-70 minutes under his belt.

“I knew the experience that Peter had when I brought him to the club. You don’t need to be quick all the time but you need to be quick upstairs in the brain and he certainly is.”

The hosts were in control of the opening period and it looked as if they would do just about everything but score as Joe McKee forced Curtis Lyle into a quick reflex save, Ryan Blair had an effort

tipped onto the post and Declan Byrne hooked the ball across goal only for a well-placed Stenny defender to clear his attempt off the line.

The home support may well have been content with the first-half as a sign of things going in the right direction despite not being ahead, so to go one up shortly before the break was a welcome bonus.

McKee quickly turned in the middle of the park and shifted the ball wide to Kalvin Orsi with his cross eventually landing at the feet of Gray, and the Cardross kid tucked the ball into the bottom corner.

Orsi nearly doubled the lead before the break, getting in behind the Stenhousemuir defence and driving towards goal as Lyle was forced into another smart stop.

In the second-half, the visitors enjoyed a lot of possession with Thomas Orr looking dangerous as he fired narrowly off target on two occasions in the first few minutes.

Euan O’Reilly was next to take aim with his shot deflected narrowly over after he cut in from the left-hand side just before the hour.

Brett Long was tested in the Dumbarton goal ten minutes later as he palmed the ball away when Nat Wedderburn headed the ball across goal with Byrne having the pick of opportunities for Dumbarton as he fired off target after finding space 25 yards from goal.

A couple of last ditch tackles and clearances from the home side prevented the Warriors from grabbing a point as Blair had to be spot on with his interception and Gregg Wylde made a crucial intervention to nod the ball away at the far post.

Sons play host to nearest challengers Stirling Albion on Tuesday but Faz isn’t looking any further than this Saturday’s trip to Stranraer.

He added: “You just take one game at a time – there’s still a third of this campaign to go.

“There’s a lot of twists and turns to come yet, I’ve never known a championship race where there won’t be twists or turns and people just need to sit back and enjoy it.”