Stirling Albion boss Stuart McLaren was left frustrated as we ended the first half of the season with a 3-1 defeat to East Fife at Forthbank.
A win would have taken us into the top four for the first time in 2015/16 but a Nathan Austin hat-trick gave the visitors a deserved victory after we had gone ahead through an early Jason Kerr own goal.
McLaren said: “That level of performance is not what we have come to expect from the lads – we were off it and East Fife had a bit more drive and desire which is not acceptable from our point of view.
“We got a break with our goal but then conceded two goals which were preventable – when you are not playing well you need to be able to dig in and hold on but we didn’t manage to do that. We should have defended them better.
“It’s an opportunity missed when you see the league table but losing a game at this stage of the season is not fatal. The players are a proud bunch and they will be determined to bounce back next week.”
East Fife manager Gary Naysmith said: “Stirling were one of the form teams in the league and we were the opposite – probably no-one outside our dressing room expected this result but I was confident we could do well.
“We have played Stirling four times now this season and I firmly believe we have been the better team for three-and-a-half of those games.
“Our results lately have not been good but the performances haven’t been too bad. I’m really pleased for Nathan Austin – people sometimes forget he is only 21 and was playing amateur football two years ago. He took his goals really well and I would expect interest in him from other clubs in January.”