WITH three defeats in their last four league matches, Raith Rovers had been in danger of having their title hopes blown off course in recent weeks.
However, this victory with just ten men proves they must be regarded as a force to be reckoned with in the promotion race.
Going a man down, with Joe Cardle being red-carded for a high boot into the stomach of Mark Gilhaney on the hour mark, the Kirkcaldy outfit made life difficult for themselves, especially when shipping a late goal to Sons substitute Steven McDougall.
However, having got their noses in front with 17-year-old Lewis Vaughan’s opener nine minutes before Cardle’s red card, a first goal for the club for skipper Jason Thomson ensured they hauled themselves firmly back within striking distance of the summit.
“Every three points is a great three points and we wanted to get back to winning ways,” said manager Grant Murray. “The conditions meant getting ahead in the game was vital and getting the second goal was the killer.
“I always tell the players that in this league the results can be up and down and we have to take care of our own results.”
The home side earned the breakthrough in the 51st minute when Cardle fed the overlapping Callum Booth on the left flank and the on-loan Hibs full-back’s cross was bundled in by Vaughan just inside the six-yard box.
Cardle was dismissed eight minutes later but the depleted Rovers sealed the victory in the 74th minute with a quick-fire counter-attack that saw Grant Anderson find Vaughan before the youngster’s intelligent pass allowed Thomson to clip in his first goal for the club.
McDougall’s injury-time strike was no more than a consolation.
“I thought we dominated in the second-half,” said Dumbarton manager Ian Murray, “but the goals we let in were an absolute joke.”