Phil Johnston marked his return after four months out with a knee injury by scoring a 77th-minute winner as we closed the gap on leaders Annan to just four points.
The substitute struck from close range, after Darren Smith’s cross from the left had been diverted into his path by a defender, to settle a tight game as we made it five wins from our last six league matches.
It was a perfect pre-Christmas Saturday as this victory, and results elsewhere in Ladbrokes League 2, means Stuart McLaren’s men are now level on points with both Elgin City and Clyde and just two behind Queen’s Park.
The Binos boss was forced to make one change from the team that won 3-1 at Montrose last weekend, with Ross Smith replacing the suspended Ross Forsyth.
Craig Beattie was left out of the squad after being involved in a minor car accident this week but he is expected to be available for the Boxing Day clash at home to East Fife.
Annan arrived in Stirling having lost just once since September and having scored in all 22 of their league and cup games this season.
Sean Dickson had the first chance inside 30 seconds but former Celtic keeper Jordan Hart pulled off a good save then Mark Lamont lashed a 25-yarder narrowly wide.
Ross McGeachie made a superb last-ditch tackle to deny Rabin Omar as he raced clear and Matty Flynn had a decent effort from distance but we had the better first-half chances and Dickson’s shot was deflected wide after he was teed up by Steven Doris.
The opener almost came right at the end of the first half when Lamont’s cross from the left was met by Doris, who saw his header come back off the bar.
The second half didn’t produce too many chances for either team but Annan substitute Stuart McColm broke clear down the left flank and fired an angled shot wide just 60 seconds before Johnston pounced at the other end.
Dickson was denied a second goal when Hart repelled his fierce drive and Martin McNiff missed a good chance to equalise late on but his weak shot was easily gathered by keeper Chris Smith as we claimed a crucial win.
Stirling Albion: C Smith, Verlaque, McKinlay, McGeachie, R Smith, Mazel, Lamont (Johnston 71), Robertson, Doris, D Smith (Scott Davidson 90), Dickson (Hamilton 90).
Subs (not used): Comrie, Cunningham, Kouider-Aissa, Binnie (GK).
Scorer: Johnston 77
Annan Athletic: Hart, Black, Swinglehurst, McNiff, Watson (Park 84), Ferguson, Finnie, Flynn, Weatherson, Todd (Osadolor 84), Omar (McColm 73)
Subs (not used): McStay, Watson, Norman, Currie (GK).
Referee: David Lowe