Dumbarton lost further ground in the League Two title race with a 2-1 home defeat to Stenhousemuir on Saturday.
Sons now trail league leaders Stirling Albion by five points – with the Binos also having a game in hand and the opportunity to go eight points clear when they face Elgin City on Tuesday.
Aron Lynas fired the hosts ahead on the stroke of the interval but second-half goals from Gavin Reilly and Thomas Orr has put the league title firmly in Stirling’s hands.
Boss Stevie Farrell has been down the bare bones for a number of weeks now and that continued on Saturday with just four substitutes able to be listed – goalkeeper Harry Broun, right-back Edin Lynch, 16-year-old Luca Vata and striker Russell McLean, with Ryan Wallace coming into the side for McLean after coming on in the defeat against Forfar Athletic on Wednesday.
An early strike from Finlay Gray was straight at Curtis Lyle as Dumbarton threatened in the first couple of minutes before Ryan Wallace brought the ball down and smashed the crossbar with a volley from 25 yards ten minutes later.
The first-half had received a fairly lengthy period of added time following an injury to Stenny’s Jacob Blaney in the first few minutes of the contest – and it was the third minute of that in which Sons took the lead.
The ball broke to Lynas following a cross from the left with his bouncing volley fizzing into the bottom corner from 25 yards as he found his second goal of the season.
In the second period, Gray had a similar effort held in the first couple of minutes once again but unfortunately for Sons they weren’t able to build on that chance as they did in the first-45 with a further effort off target from Wallace the closest they came to adding a second.
The Warriors started to create some better chances of their own with Matty Yates trying to find the far corner but was denied by Brett Long before Reilly stroked home an equaliser following Adam Brown’s cutback on 71 minutes.
Orr should have put the away side ahead a couple of minutes later when he found himself in front of goal but somehow his sliding effort missed the target – but Sons wouldn’t be so fortunate shortly after.
A corner from Yates landed at the feet of Orr at the back post and he took a touch before slamming the ball into the net from close range.
There were a couple of hopeful balls thrown in the Stenny box from Dumbarton in the dying stages but they were dealt with fairly comfortably by the visitors.
Wallace came the closest when a kick from Long got him in behind the defence but his shot across goal bounced just wide of the far corner.
The result leaves Sons with a mountain to climb if they have any aspirations of lifting the title at the end of the season with an opportunity to get promoted via the play-offs now looking the most likely option.