IF games were decided based on what the efforts merited, Dumbarton would have had no worries here.
They were busy, battle-hardened and creative in search of the three points against Forfar Athletic which would have taken them back to the top of cinch League Two.
However, games are instead decided based on how many times each team puts the ball in the net. And that is where this game was lost.
Seb Ross found the net for the visitors on 62 minutes. Dumbarton’s efforts ended up being saved from the penalty spot, hitting the post and being cleared off the line. Almost everywhere except the net.
There is no time for self-pity, and there will not be any ahead of the vital games to come. Dumbarton remain in the race, and who is to say what will happen to their closest rivals?
But everybody who saw this game knows where the missing piece of the jigsaw is.
With each team having already created promising assists which did not yield a finish, the first clear chance of the night came on 17 minutes.
Andy Munro fouled Finlay Gray in the box for a clear penalty, but Ally Love’s effort was turned round the post by the goalkeeper.
Minutes later, the same goalkeeper was making a save from a fierce flicked header – by one of his own defenders. With more than an hour to go, it already seemed justifiable to question whether Sons’ luck was in.
Love had another chance, but failed to reach a header across goal.
With only three minutes gone in the second half, Russell McLean had a great chance to open the scoring. His shot from Gray’s cutback at the end of a great run by the midfielder looked set to find the net, but a defender cleared.
Another ball across goal by Gray then had no takers, before Ross MacLean sent a shot from distance just wide.
Then came the real sickener. Ross met Nathan Flanagan’s cross from the right and scored with a deflected finish.
Despite that blow, the chances kept coming. A corner from Gregg Wylde somehow failed to find the net, and another corner was then glanced wide by Russell McLean.
Ross MacLean had two other opportunities, but the first was off target while the second was beaten away by the goalkeeper.
They never threw in the towel, but it just was not Dumbarton’s night. If breaks even themselves out, then the coming games could be fun. But Sons must earn those breaks themselves.
Dumbarton: Long; Wylde (Lynch 72), Buchanan, Love (Wallace 64), Ross MacLean, Lynas, Russell McLean, Gray, Grant, Blair, McNiff. Subs: Broun; Vata. Booked: Grant.
Forfar Athletic: McCallum; Nditi, Brindley, Slater, Moore (Hutton 73), Ross (Gillies 73), Robson (Thomson 76), Armour (Aitken 73), Munro, Hutchinson, Flanagan (Docherty 90). Subs: Kennedy; McCluskey, Dunnachie.
Referee: Graham Grainger.