Arbroath made it back-to-back wins to move level on points with the Binos in the lower reaches of Ladbrokes League 2 as our hopes of a third straight victory were quashed at Gayfield.
After an even first half, two goals in two minutes early in the second period from Sergio Alvarez and Bobby Linn put Todd Lumsden’s side in control and we never looked like hitting back.
Arbroath was bathed in glorious September sunshine for our first visit to Gayfield since a League Cup defeat on penalties in August 2012.
Stuart McLaren made two changes in the wake of the 1-0 home win over Montrose, with Aurelien Mazel making his first start in place of the suspended Ross McGeachie while Kevin McKinlay got the nod ahead of Ross Smith. U20 defender David Verlaque was among the subs and made his debut as a late substitute.
We probably enjoyed more of the ball in a first half short on chances but our best hope of a goal looked to be from a set-piece, with McKinlay’s deliveries from corner kicks causing the hosts some anxious moments.
The clearest opportunity, though, came at the other end when Alvarez ran clear but, with just keeper Chris Smith to beat, he fired the ball wide.
The Red Lichties had lost all three home games – to Elgin, Queen’s Park and Clyde – but got their season up and running with victory at East Fife last week and they had soon made sure of another three points. This game was utterly in the balance at the interval but within six minutes of the restart it was all over.
Spanish midfielder Alvarez found the corner with a fine, low drive in 49 minutes after Smith had denied on-loan Hamilton striker Andy Ryan, then Ryan burst down the left and pulled the ball back for the unmarked Linn to score the second.
The introduction of former St Mirren midfielder Mark Lamont midway through the second half gave us a bit more of a creative spark but Arbroath keeper Allan Fleming remained relatively untroubled.
Arbroath: Fleming, Munro, Johnstone, Little, Watson, Whatley, Linn (Reid 80), Stewart, Ryan (Grehan 67), Alvarez (Clarke 67), Ramsay.
Subs (not used): Hester, Lowdown, Gold, Brodie (GK).
Scorers: Alvarez 49, Linn 51
Stirling Albion: C Smith, Mazel (Lamont 68), Forsyth, Robertson, McKinlay, McMillan, Hamilton (Verlaque 80), Comrie, Doris, Dickson, Cunningham (Lander 55).
Subs (not used): R Smith, McNab, Binnie (GK).
Referee: Steven Reid