Stranraer skipper Frank McKeown struck with just five minutes left as we went down to a narrow defeat to the League 1 leaders at a windswept Stair Park.
It was yet another frustrating afternoon for the Binos – we turned in a good second-half performance and looked set for a vital point until McKeown forced the ball home with time running out as Stephen Aitken’s men moved two points clear at the summit.
Stirling remain six points behind Ayr and eight points adrift of Stenhousemuir and face a tough game against a rejuvenated Morton at Cappielow this weekend.
Stuart McLaren made two changes to the side beaten 1-0 by Forfar for Albion’s journey to the south west corner of the country, where we lost 2-0 in September.
Lee Hamilton replaced suspended skipper Chris Smith and Lewis Coult was handed a start, as on-loan Falkirk forward Scott Shepherd missed out with a virus. U20 players Chris Paton, Keiron Magennis and Jordan Sinclair were on the bench.
Stranraer were the better team in the first half and their direct approach might have paid dividends had they been sharper in front of goal.
Albion were much better in the second period and almost took the lead when good work by Coult saw him set up Angus Beith but the on-loan Hearts midfielder delayed his shot too long and winger Willie Gibson got back to make a last-ditch tackle.
Even then, a first clean sheet since the end of August was on the cards until central defender McKeown popped up to ensure more late heartbreak.
Stranraer: Mitchell, Pettigrew, Longridge, Rumsby, McKeown, Aitken, Gallagher, Stirling (Bell 62), Malcolm, Longworth (Stoney 70), Gibson (McShane 82).
Subs (not used): Winter, Robertson, Russell, Tobin (GK).
Scorer: McKeown 85
Stirling Albion: Paterson, Hamilton, McKinlay (Forsyth 74), Beith (Paton 89), McGeachie, Wedderburn, Johnston, Comrie, Coult, G Smith, Cunningham.
Subs (not used): Robertson, Magennis, Sinclair, Reidford (GK).
Referee: Greg Aitken