Gary Thom scored and was later sent off as we began 2013 by picking up only our second away point of the season at a wet and windy Ochilview.
Thom headed home Kieran McAnespie’s free-kick after 24 minutes but was dismissed by referee Kevin Graham six minutes before the break for a trip on Michael Herd just outside the box that was deemed to be the denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity.
Albion had been well on top, with Phil Johnston, our new loan signing from Dumbarton, impressive on the right wing but Shire equalised in first-half stoppage time when on-loan St Mirren defender Jordan Holt headed in Mark Begg’s corner.
John Coughlin’s men had most of the play in the second half and there were some anxious moments, not least in the closing stages when keeper Mark Peat denied Kevin Turner and sub David Greenhill headed over from the resulting corner when he looked certain to score.
The result leaves us a point behind East Stirling but we have lost just once in four matches going into Saturday’s home fixture with Queen’s Park while Shire saw their winless run extended to seven after a third successive draw at Ochilview.
We went into the game on the back of a 3-2 defeat at Montrose and were without banned top scorer Jordan White, skipper Brian Allison was missing due to injury, Ross McGeachie and Jamie McCunnie were ill and Steven Weir has left the club.
There was a debut for Johnston on the right wing and Daly McSorley slotted in at right-back, with Jamie Clark drafted into the centre of defence.
Johnston’s pace caused the hosts plenty of problems in the first half and his deliveries saw Scott Davidson and Graham Weir both come close to breaking the deadlock before he won a free-kick, from which McAnespie’s cross was converted by the unmarked Thom for his third goal of 2012/13.
The defender’s second red card of the season – he was sent off at Annan in November – changed the game and Shire’s equaliser on the stroke of half-time ensured an uncomfortable second period.
Our local rivals did most of the pressing after the interval but failed to make the breakthrough and U19 striker Sandy Cunningham, making his league debut as a substitute, forced a smart save from keeper Grant Hay in a rare Stirling attack.
East Stirlingshire: Hay, Jackson, Maxwell, Holt, Buchanan, Zufle, Herd, McKernon, Turner, Stirling (Greenhill 67), Begg (Hunter 67). Subs (not used): Quinn, Kelly, Gordon (GK).
Scorer: Holt 45
Stirling Albion: Peat, McSorley, McAnespie, McClune (McDonald 55), Thom, Clark (Ashe 65), Johnston, Ferry, Weir, Davidson (Cunningham 74), Day. Subs (not used): Flood, Filler (GK).
Scorer: Thom 24
Referee: Kevin Graham