Stirling lost to Albion Rovers for the first time since April 2003 on a day when a win would have taken us to the top of the League 2 table, with the leading eight clubs now separated by only six points.
First-half goals from Barry Russell and Chris Dallas had the Coatbridge men in command and Jamie Bishop’s header just after the hour mark proved to be only a consolation.
Graham Weir was sent off in the final minute after pulling back a Rovers player in the middle of the park, having earlier been yellow carded, and will now sit out Saturday’s home game with Elgin City.
Binos boss Greig McDonald made one change to the team that beat Berwick 3-1 in midweek, with Bradley Coyne replacing Phil Johnston but the winger came on for the ex-Forfar striker at the start of the second half and Ross McGeachie replaced David McClune at the same time.
We were seeking our first away league win since beating Queen’s Park in August against a Rovers side who followed up a fantastic Scottish Cup victory over Motherwell by seeing off East Stirlingshire in midweek.
Chances were few and far between in the opening stages but David Crawford saved well from Mark McGuigan before James Ward’s side took the lead in 25 minutes.
We failed to clear the ball following a corner and full-back Barry Russell squeezed a shot inside the right-hand post from 18 yards.
Rovers controlled the game until the interval and had a goal disallowed for offside then Dallas fired over after muscling beyond the defence but he made amends in 43 minutes when he steered home a Gary Phillips cross.
It looked an awful long way back at that stage but Bishop’s downward header – his first goal for the club – from a Dale Fulton free-kick gave us hope.
Jordan White had a good chance to equalise after being teed up by Weir but Neil Parry made an important save and we didn’t create enough to feel hard done by.
Rovers, without often threatening to add to their lead in the second half, closed the game out without too much difficulty to move to within a point of the top four on a ground where we twice came out on top in 2011/12.
Albion Rovers: Parry, Reid, Dunlop, Russell, Donnelly, Dunlop, Cusack, Chaplain, McGuigan, Dallas (Crawford 73), Phillips.
Subs (not used): Tiffney, Mercer, Flood, Maguire, Innes, McGinley (GK).
Scorers: Russell 25, Dallas 43
Stirling Albion: Crawford, McClune (McGeachie 46), Ashe, Forsyth, Bishop, McAnespie, Coyne (Johnston 46), Fulton (Cunningham 73), White, Weir, Weatherston.
Subs (not used): Day, Clark, Munn, Reidford (GK).
Scorer: Bishop 61
Referee: Gavin Ross