Falkirk recorded a comfortable win over Dumbarton to get 2020 off to a strong start for the Bairns as Declan McManus’ double and a Charlie Telfer strike sunk the Sons.
New signing Rafa De Vita was named on the bench for the hosts after signing a season-long loan deal from Livingston earlier this week as head coach Lee Miller appeared as a trialist for the Bairns.
Jim Duffy’s side went into the game down to the bare bones in terms of personnel with only three subs named, including back-up keeper Jordan Pettigrew, as injuries take their toll on the Sons.
The opening ten minutes saw both sides looking to take the initiative early on and grab control of the game without ever really testing either keeper – although it was Falkirk who looked the more dangerous of the two,
It was the visitors who had the best early opportunity to break the deadlock when Coor Scullion almost capitalised on Paul Dixon’s slack pass, weaving through the Bairns defence, only to be denied by an impressive save by Robbie Mutch.
Charlie Telfer really should have opened the scoring on the 25th minute when the former Rangers kid got on the end of a fantastic passing move but couldn’t get his effort on target from close range.
Sons thought they had broken the deadlock five minutes later when Ruaridh Langan’s volley crashed off the bar and bounced on the line and away, leading to half-hearted protests from the Dumbarton players but referee Euan Anderson remained firm in his stance.
Falkirk eventually got the goal that the Bairns’ dominance deserved as Telfer’s shot from the edge of the area took a wicked deflection and found a way past Connor Brennan in the Sons’ goal and give the hosts the lead just before the break.
The Bairns almost doubled their advantage immediately after the restart when Paul Dixon, making his 500th professional appearance, fired in a dangerous cross which was just narrowly cleared.
A single-goal lead didn’t seem to be enough for the hosts as they continued to push forward in search of a second goal but Brennan was having more problems with his kicking than he was the Falkirk attack, with a number of them going out of play or to an opposition player.
The second finally came as Declan McManus bulleted a diving header beyond Brennan after a fantastic cross from wide on the left found the striker with half a yard of space in the area and he left the Dumbarton keeper with no chance.
With 15 minutes left, Falkirk handed a debut to De Vita, replacing Charlie Telfer and he almost scored within seconds of coming onto the pitch.
It was only a matter of if the Bairns could get a third before the 90 minutes was up as Dumbarton spent much of the latter stages camped in their own half and happy just to clear their lines.
And with five minutes left McManus grabbed his second of the day to make it 3-0 as he sidefooted home a cross and sealed the win for the Bairns.