Annan claimed a deserved victory at Forthbank as we fell to a second home defeat in a row.
The Binos slip to third in the table, one point behind a Berwick side who we face at Shielfield next weekend.
Boss Greig McDonald was hoping his team would build on the 2-0 win over Queen’s Park at Hampden a fortnight ago but we struggled against an Annan outfit who always looked a threat going forward and also became the first team to deny us a goal in League 2 this term.
Mark Ferry returned to the starting XI in place of the injured David McClune while Annan included a new signing in on-loan Rangers midfielder Andrew Mitchell.
Jim Chapman’s side had lost their most recent league game 4-2 at Berwick but that is their only defeat so far and they progressed to the semi-finals of the Ramsdens Cup with a 4-0 win over Formartine last weekend.
They were in front after just five minutes at Forthbank. David Hopkirk took advantage of some poor defending, drove into the box from the right flank and picked out ex-St Mirren midfielder Ally Love, who lashed the ball into the net from six yards.
We were fortunate not to fall further behind when David Crawford made a good save to deny Kenny MacKay and the striker, recruited from Greenock Juniors during the summer, also fired wide as half-time approached.
Annan doubled their advantage in 52 minutes when Kieran McAnespie’s quickly-taken free-kick broke kindly for the visitors and the impressive ex-Hamilton forward Hopkirk beat Crawford with a great finish from the edge of the area.
Hopkirk and MacKay missed chances to add to our woes on a day when we toiled to create openings. Stephen Day and David Weatherston had sights of goal but their efforts lacked conviction and were easily saved while substitute Bradley Coyne headed straight at veteran keeper Kenny Arthur late on.
Stirling Albion: Crawford, McGeachie, Forsyth, Fulton (Coyne 64), McAnespie (Johnston 56), Smith, Weir, Ferry, White, Weatherston (Cunningham 72), Day.
Subs (not used): Ashe, Clark, McCulloch, Robertson (GK).
Annan Athletic: Arthur, Chisholm, Bradley, Mitchell (Brannan 88), Watson, Sloan, MacKay (Davidson 80), Flynn (McNiff 75), Weatherson, Hopkirk, Love.
Subs (not used): Anderson, Logan, Todd, Black (GK).
Scorers: Love 5, Hopkirk 52
Referee: Kevin Graham