Stenhousemuir manager Colin McMenamin urged his side to maintain their performance levels for a vital run-in, after securing a priceless three points against Dumbarton.
Goals from David Marsh and Conor McBrearty rewarded the Warriors for a battling showing against the Sons, and McMenamin was keen to stress the importance of replicating the
showing in the final five games.
He said: “It was only three weeks ago that we beat Arbroath at Gayfield and then we didn’t win a game for the next three, but I said to the boys that we’ve got five cup finals now.
“I know it’s a cliche, but that’s what it is. Five performances like that might not keep us up, but I can be proud of them if they can put in showings like that.”
In a huge game for both clubs there were plenty of early chances. Warriors forward Greg Hurst flashed an effort into the side netting inside the opening three minutes, before Dumbarton twice passed up glorious opportunities to take the lead.
First Dom Thomas took advantage of a weak Graeme Smith clearance and raced in on goal, but the veteran ‘keeper was out quickly to deny the Kilmarnock loanee.
A minute later the Sons went even closer as Michael Paton’s in swinging cross was touched wide by Bobby Barr from six yards out.
Despite this, however, it was Stenhousemuir who were dictating the tempo of the game, and they took a deserved lead just before the half hour mark.
Greg Hurst’s corner from the left was perfect for David Marsh, and the central defender bulleted home his second goal since returning to the club in January.
That separated the sides at the break, with Dumbarton starting the second-half with renewed vigour.
Cammy Ballantyne was inches away from Calum Gallagher’s inviting deep cross before Dom Thomas twice went close.
Jim Duffy’s men were then made to pay for their lack of a cutting edge as the Warriors doubled their advantage with 20 minutes remaining.
Conor McBrearty robbed Ross Forbes of possession and drove into the area before flicking the ball beyond Grant Adam and into the net.
It took Dumbarton until six minutes from the end to find a response as Craig Barr drilled home Forbes’ corner, and Warriors fans were then grateful to Graeme Smith for a wonderful double save from Forbes and substitute Boris Melingui that ensured all three points were heading to Ochilview.
Dumbarton: Adam, Ferguson (Armour, 82’), Thomson, C.Barr, Ballantyne, Paton (Melingui, 45’), Hutton, Forbes, B.Barr, Gallagher, Thomas. Subs: Tshibangu (GK), McLean, Russell.
Stenhousemuir: Smith, Reid, Marsh (Gibbons, 76’), Munro, Neill, Donaldson, Ferry, Dingwall, McBrearty, McGuigan (Ross, 89’), Hurst (Halleran, 81’). Subs: McMinn (GK), Duthie, Dickson, Watters.