Warriors gain league revenge
Home form worrying for Binos in another loss
Stirling Albion ...... 1 Stenhousemuir ..... 2 Stirling Albion slumped to a disappointing derby defeat as their lead at the top of Ladbrokes League 2 was cut to two points over Montrose.
Stenhousemuir won with more ease than the scoreline might suggest as they gained revenge for a 3-2 reverse at Ochilview on the opening day to post their first away league win of the season.
This was Stirling’s first home game in League 2 since they tossed away a two-goal lead to draw with Elgin at the end of September while their most recent outing on home soil was the 5-3 Scottish Cup shocker against Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale.
Manager Dave Mackay will be relieved that the next two matches are away from home – at Edinburgh City and Clyde – given his team’s perfect record on the road.
Mark McGuigan’s first-half penalty and Jamie Longworth’s goal in the second half had the Warriors in command but Darren Smith got one back in 73 minutes with his 14th goal of the season and almost grabbed a late equaliser, only to be foiled by a terrific save from namesake Chris.
That would have been a stolen point, though, and ‘Muir should have won by a bigger margin. Goalkeeper Cammy Binnie was rightly selected as Albion’s man of the match after pulling off a few fine stops.
When you add in a 3-2 defeat to Clyde here and a scrambled 3-2 win over Annan, the Forthbank form is becoming a concern.
Albion missed Peter MacDonald in attack, sidelined with a knee injury and replaced by on-loan Partick Thistle forward Neil McLaughlin – while on-loan Hearts winger Callumn Morrison was largely kept quiet.
Stenhousemuir were hungrier, sharper and stronger. They looked like they wanted it more and after a opening quarter of the match, it was former Partick Thistle forward McGuigan who broke the deadlock when he coolly converted a 26thminute penalty, carelessly conceded by Ewan McNeil, who got caught on the wrong side of Eddie Ferns as he tried to deal with a cross ball.
It summed up the sloppy nature of Albion’s performance and they were fortunate to reach the interval just one goal behind. Chris Smith was a virtual spectator between the posts for the visitors while Binnie did well to keep out efforts from onloan Hearts midfielder Harry Paton and ex-East Fife man Nicki Paterson, with Michael Dunlop nodding the rebound wide.
Stirling conceded a bad goal right at the start of the second half to fall two goals behind. A long throw-in from the right wasn’t dealt with by Ross Smith whose header went straight to Longworth and he drilled a low shot beyond Binnie.
McGuigan then seized on another Smith error but sent his effort wide before Binnie thwarted Longworth and Ferns.
A Stirling comeback looked highly unlikely but Morrison wriggled clear to tee up Smith for a simple finish as he netted for the fifth game in a row.
Despite that lifeline Albion failed to exert any sort of sustained pressure in the closing stages but almost got out of jail when Smith thumped a shot towards goal but was denied by the keeper to ensure a Warriors win.