EAST Fife’s good run seems a long way back now, with a second successive defeat on Saturday.
The reversal at Strathclyde Homes Stadium saw Dumbarton leap-frog them as they slipped down to sixth place in the league table.
The visitors just did not have a threat up front, allied to a leaky defence, which has now conceded nine goals against the Sons this season, and it was an easy three points for the home side.
East Fife just never got into the game and, whether it was the enforced changes to the side that caused the problems, or just a bad day at the office, they never looked like taking anything from it.
Changes were forced on boss John Robertson with Mark Ridgers and Rob Ogleby unavailable through international duty, and the other Hearts loanee, Matthew Park, also missing. Into the starting line-up came Michael Brown, Andrew Cook and Steve Hislop.
The visitors’ early forays forward brought little return with a Scott Durie and Bobby Linn move initially looking threatening, but Linn’s final attempt did not trouble the home keeper.
John Ovenstone was in the right place to break up a dangerous looking home attack and Brown did the needful from a shot from distance from Wallace.
Ewings had little to do in the home goal apart from taking a hopeful cross from Craig Johnstone and coming off his line to clear as Ryan Wallace chased a Johnstone through ball.
The home side did take the lead soon after the half hour mark when Agnew, who had been brought down by Muir on the edge of the penalty area, took full advantage and slotted home the free kick for the opener.
The second period started off in similar vein with little happening near goal for the Fifers. A one-two involving Smith and Steve Hislop looked promising but was broken up on the edge of the box.
Brown had to make a couple of saves as the home side had the bulk of the pressure and McNiff went close to a second for Dumbarton with a header off the bar following a free kick.
However, right on the hour mark, they did double their lead when Mark Gilhaney was first to react after Brown had pushed out a Prunty attempt and took advantage of poor marking in defence.
The game was effectively killed off in 68 minutes when Alan Lithgow got the home side’s third following a free kick which he slipped in at the back post. Again, bad marking by the visitors in their own penalty area let the opposition have a second bite.
A darting run from sub Paul McQuade put him in a handy postition to collect a David Muir pass, but ex-Fifer Paul Nugent stopped his progress.
Dumbarton ‑ Ewings, Nugent, Creaney, Lithgow, McNiff, Borris (McKinnon 80), Gilhaney, Wallace, Prunty (Brennan 88), Agnew, Winters (Walker 75). Subs (not used) Kennedy, Malley.
East Fife ‑ M. Brown, Durie, Cook, Ovenstone, White, Muir, Linn, Smith (Sloan 79), Hislop (McQuade 65), Wallace, Johnstone (R. Brown 79). Subs (not used) Campbell, Collier.
Referee ‑ G. Hilland.
Attendance ‑ 678.
Starcheck - M. Brown 3 pts, Johnstone 2, Wallace 1. Table - Ryan Wallace 24, Mark Ridgers 15, Bobby Linn 14, Craig Johnstone 11, Michael Brown 9, Scott Durie 9, Rob Ogleby 7, John Ovenstone 7, Darren Smith 6, Matthew Park 5, Steve Campbell 3, David Muir 3, David White 3, Chris Innes 2, Steve Hislop 1, Lloyd Young 1.