You can never accuse Selkirk manager Steve Forrest of lacking a sense of humour in trying times.
“At least we only conceded four goals,” he said after the Souters’ loss to a team which thumped them 9-1 back in September.
Despite suffering their 14th defeat in the Lowland League, however, there has been plenty to suggest the club’s improved form in recent weeks will be permanent rather than temporary.
Selkirk held Dalbeattie on level terms until the controversial sending off of Kevin Barr a minute before half-time for a foul on Star’s Lewis Sloan as he headed for goal.
Forrest added: “It was a foul (by Barr) but there was another defender coming back. Unfortunately, he was behind the referee so he didn’t see him.
“After that, we were a bit all over the place and Dalbeattie punished us. The disappointing thing is that it was a good game until the sending off and our guys worked so hard, but we have nothing to show for it.”
Dalbeattie boss Paul McGinley described the sending off as “pretty harsh” but was full of praise for Selkirk.
He added: “When we played them earlier in the season it was not a contest, but their showing here was like night and day compared to that match. They were much stronger and well organised.”
Selkirk looked like they would extend their unbeaten run to three games when they opened the scoring on 13 minutes thanks to a jinking run by Yannis Lamghari and a fine finish from 20 yards by Julio Tonelle.
But Dalbeattie struck back when Scott Milligan’s cross was volleyed in by Lewis Sloan nine minutes before the break.
The Barr sending off saw Selkirk face 45 minutes with 10 men, and Dalbeattie bagged three goals in 13 minutes to finish the game.
Milligan slid a shot under Gregor Amos on 52 minutes and the usually reliable Selkirk stopper had a moment to forget seven minutes later as he dropped Hugh Cameron’s cross to allow Milligan to tap home.
Cameron then slammed home Sloan’s corner on 65 minutes to make it 4-1.
Selkirk introduced new signing Máté Mészáros for his debut on 76 minutes, and the Hungarian helped set up Phil Addison for one of his trademark goals two minutes from time as the striker danced past a series of defenders and Star goalkeeper Darren Martin to score his eighth of the season.