Albion suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat on penalties after coming close to causing an upset at Gayfield in the first round of the Communities League Cup.
Greig McDonald’s men produced an encouraging performance ahead of the SFL opener with Annan next week and missed chances to win the tie in extra time but Graham Weir, Mark Ferry and Danny Ashe all saw their spot-kicks saved by Darren Hill in the shoot-out.
Scott Davidson and Daly McSorley confidently converted and David Crawford denied Arbroath player-boss Paul Sheerin but Steven Doris, Derek Holmes and Paul Currie were all on target for the Red Lichties as we fell at the first hurdle in this competition for the fifth year in a row.
Binos boss McDonald gave debuts to short-term signing David Crawford and Kieran McAnespie, who impressed against his former club before going off late on with a head knock. Ashe was at right back, with Jamie Clark alongside Brian Allison in the centre of defence.
Gavin MacPherson, Ferry and Jamie McCunnie were the midfield three, with Graham Weir operating behind a front pairing of Davidson and Bradley Coyne.
Stirling started well and Ferry saw a shot tipped on to the post but Arbroath came back and Darren Gribben fired inches wide then curled a terrific effort against the post from the edge of the box.
We took the lead in 42 minutes when McAnespie drove into the box and was caught by former Albion defender Scott Robertson. Ferry made a fine job of the penalty.
The Red Lichties enjoyed plenty of the ball in the second half but Stirling were defending well, although it took a superb Crawford save to keep out a Holmes header. Weir was denied at the other end but with seven minutes left Arbroath equalised when ex-Berwick midfielder Currie latched on to a deep cross from the left and smashed an angled drive into the corner of the net.
Doris spurned a glorious opportunity for the hosts with virtually the last kick of the 90 minutes when he seized on a defensive error but the former St Johnstone striker knocked his effort wide.
Arbroath played the bulk of extra time with 10 men as Daniel Rennie had to go off following a clash with McAnespie, although he did reappear for the last couple of minutes.
The Binos should have won it in the extra period but Hill saved from Gary Brass, Weir fired just over and Ferry had an effort blocked as Arbroath held on for penalties. Weir was first to take but Hill stopped it with his legs and that paved the way for a home victory in the shoot-out.
Arbroath: Hill, Baxter, Brennan, Banjo, Robertson (Travis 46), Keddie, Sibanda (Rennie 69), Currie, Doris, Gribben (Holmes 62), Sheerin. Subs (not used): Prince-Wright, Bullock (GK).
Scorer: Currie 83
Stirling Albion: Crawford, Ashe, McAnespie (McGeachie 88), McCunnie, Clark, Allison, Davidson, Macpherson (McSorley 90), Weir, Coyne (Brass 83), Ferry. Subs (not used): Flood, Cleland (GK)
Scorer: Ferry (pen) 42
Referee: Paul Robertson