Rory McAllister grabbed a hat-trick as Peterhead returned to the top of League 2 with a deserved victory as we suffered back-to-back league defeats for the first time since January.
Ross Forsyth’s goal gave us brief hope early in the second half but on-loan Rangers defender Luca Gasparotto was sent off for conceding a penalty with 16 minutes left and McAllister completed his treble from the spot.
Peterhead are unbeaten at Balmoor this season but had drawn six of their eight games while we headed north without an away victory since August. We got the better of Jim McInally’s men at Forthbank in August but they gained revenge here.
Binos boss Greig McDonald was without injured trio Chris Smith, Danny Ashe and Bradley Coyne and Graham Weir was suspended but skipper Jamie Bishop returned and 18-year-old Gasparotto made his debut after signing on loan on Friday.
We started with a strong wind behind us but it was Peterhead who scored after just four minutes when McAllister seized on an error by Bishop and lobbed David Crawford with a terrific chip from the corner of the penalty area.
McAllister got his second of the afternoon in 33 minutes when he latched on to a through ball and got just enough on his shot to beat the advancing Crawford and the covering defenders.
Albion went to three at the back for the second half but were under pressure almost immediately. Dean Cowie and Andy Rodgers were both denied by Crawford before we pulled one back against the run of play.
McAnespie provided the assist with a surging run down the left and he picked out Forsyth, who drilled home his fourth goal of the season.
Rodgers headed against the post for Peterhead and won the penalty, leaving no referee Bobby Madden no option but to brandish a red card after Gasparotto had brought down the ex-Dumbarton striker as he homed in on goal.
McAllister confidently converted to lift the Blue Toon above Clyde on goal difference at the summit as Stirling slipped to fourth spot ahead of Saturday’s Forthbank meeting with the Bully Wee.
Peterhead: Smith, Sharp (McCann 58), Noble, Donaldson, Ross, Cowie, Rodgers (McLaren 75), Redman, McAllister, Brown (Gilfillan 61), Strachan.
Subs (not used): McGlinchey, Buchan, Jarvie (GK).
Scorer: McAllister 4, 33, pen 74
Stirling Albion: Crawford, McClune, McAnespie, Forsyth, Bishop, Gasparotto, Johnston, Fulton (Ferry 46), White, Cunningham (Day 76), Weatherston.
Subs (not used): McGeachie, Munn, Clark, Reidford (GK).
Scorer: Forsyth 57
Referee: Bobby Madden