Alloa came out on top in the first Scottish Cup meeting between the local rivals since 1995/96 despite a brave effort from 10-man Albion.
Keeper David Crawford and winger David Weatherston returned to the team in place of Callum Reidford, who dropped to the bench, and the injured Mark Ferry for our first visit to Recreation Park since we lost 2-1 in March 2010.
A cup upset looked a real possibility when Jordan White headed home his ninth goal of the season from Kieran McAnespie’s free-kick after just 10 minutes but the red card given to teenage striker Sandy Cunningham for kicking out at ex-Bino Michael Doyle handed the initiative to an Alloa outfit who are fifth in the Championship.
The 18-year-old had been causing the Alloa defence problems as we made a great start on the plastic pitch but he reacted to a challenge and is now set for a two-match ban – he will definitely miss Tuesday’s rearranged League 2 game at home to Berwick.
There were still 70 minutes of the match to play but we held out until the interval, helped by a couple of excellent saves from Crawford, but two goals in the early part of the second period turned the tie firmly in favour of Paul Hartley’s side.
Ryan McCord equalised with a penalty after McAnespie’s challenge on Jonathan Tiffoney saw Stevie O’Reilly point to the spot and Graeme Holmes netted with a fine header from ex-Ayr man Tiffoney’s right-wing cross eight minutes later.
Greig McDonald’s men refused to crumble and we missed a great chance to equalise with 15 minutes remaining when sub Stephen Day failed to convert from close range.
Alloa sealed their place in Monday afternoon’s fifth-round draw when Jason Marr fired home following a corner in the last minute before sub Graham Weir pulled one back with a stunning 25-yard strike that will surely be a contender for goal of the round.
There was much to be proud of in Albion’s performance but ultimately it was a case of what might have been at a venue where we have lost on four of our last five visits.
Alloa: Bain, Doyle, Meggatt, Gordon, Marr, Simmons, Cawley, McCord (Robertson 72), Kirk (Salmon 70), Holmes, Tiffoney.
Subs (not used): Young, Ferns, Creaney, McDowall (GK).
Scorers: McCord (pen) 50, Holmes 58, Marr 89
Stirling Albion: Crawford, McClune, Ashe, Forsyth (Coyne 80), Bishop, McAnespie, Johnston, Fulton (Day 70), White, Cunningham, Weatherston (Weir 55).
Subs (not used): McGeachie, Clark, Munn, Reidford (GK).
Scorers: White 10, Weir 90
Referee: Stevie O’Reilly