Raith Rovers striker Mark Stewart has called on the team to stick together after a third straight league defeat saw the Kirkcaldy side drop to seventh in the Championship table.
Stewart looked to have earned Rovers a point after his 60th minute equaliser cancelled out Scott Agnew’s first half wonder strike for Dumbarton, but a debatable late penalty award by referee Bobby Madden saw the hosts steal the points.
Raith’s performance was an improvement on recent showings and Stewart felt the away side deserved to take something from the game.
“We’re devastated because that was one of our best performances of the season,” he said.
“The boys are absolutely gutted and can’t believe we haven’t taken at least a point from the game but it should have been three.
“We’ve not taken our chances and the penalty at the end has killed us. We know we’re capable of being so much higher up the league.”
Raith had the lion’s share of possession and chances in the first half but it was the Sons who took a one-goal lead into the interval thanks to a contender for goal of the season in the 20th minute.
There appeared little danger when Agnew collected the ball in space 35 yards from goal but he unleashed a powerful swerving shot that left David McGurn motionless as it flew into the top corner.
Ross Callachan had gone closest to giving Raith the lead in the 11th minute with a first-time snapshot from 18 yards that flew just wide.
Raith also had several chances to equalise before half-time with Christian Nade heading wide from six yards, and Stewart firing straight at the goalkeeper when well placed in the box.
Dumbarton were pinned back and restricted to hitting the visitors on the break, with Chris Kane heading inches wide in a 33rd minute counter-attack.
Raith continued to press after the break and Ryan Conroy had a great chance to restore parity in the 60th minute as Dougie Hill’s cross deflected into his path, but Danny Rogers saved with his legs from close range.
Two minutes later, McGurn kept Raith in the game with a fantastic save to deny Kane in a one-on-one after the striker raced clear from the halfway line with Raith caught again on the counter-attack.
That save proved crucial as just 60 seconds later Conroy fed the ball to Stewart, who squeezed between two defenders to clip the ball beyond the advancing Rogers for a deserved Rovers equaliser.
Both sides pushed for a winner with McGurn making a stunning one-handed save to keep out Gary Fleming’s 20-yard strike, while Rogers was at full stretch to parry Callachan’s long-range drive.
The game’s pivotal moment arrived in the 88th minute as Dumbarton sub Archie Campbell hit the deck near the edge of the box despite minimal contact from Callachan and referee Madden pointed to the spot.
Agnew sent McGurn the wrong way from the resultant penalty to grab his second and seal the points for the hosts but Raith boss Grant Murray was fuming with the penalty decision.
“I don’t know where it came from,” he said. “It’s not just us I think they were stunned when it was given but they’re not going to stand up and say they don’t want a penalty.”