Heart of Midlothian’s U20 side hit back from two goals down to knock us out of the IRN-BRU Cup in Tuesday’s first-round tie at Forthbank.
A double from Marc McKenzie had Albion in command but Jon Daly’s side were level within five minutes of the restart through Leon Jones and sub Ally Roy, and Russell McLean’s superb strike sent them into Thursday’s draw.
Binos boss Stuart McLaren made nine changes from the team that lost 4-0 at St Johnstone, with an eye on Saturday’s Ladbrokes League 2 opener against Annan.
Chris Smith, Ross McGeachie and Darren Petrie were all ruled out but Aurelien Mazel was on the bench as a young side took to the field.
We took the lead in four minutes when McKenzie latched on to a long ball and beat keeper Kelby Mason with a perfect lob from the corner of the box.
Dario Zanatta had an effort ruled outside for offside before McKenzie headed home Sam Davidson’s free-kick and Ross Kavanagh almost added a third but last season’s U20 top scorer fired just over.
Jones reduced the deficit with a header from a corner and Hearts were level when the ball broke kindly for ex-Albion youth player Roy, who finished decisively.
McLean found the top corner with a wonderful finish from 20 yards midway through the second half but Alex Docherty almost equalised a minute later, only for his close-range header to be saved.
The visitors nearly added a fourth in the closing stages but Jamie Mills somehow cleared off the line after Zanatta had gone past Cammy Binnie.
Stirling Albion: Binnie, Mills, Burns, R Smith, McKenzie (Henderson 74), Sam Davidson (D Smith 59), Olanrewaju (Ferns 66), Scott Davidson, Kavanagh, McCue, Docherty. Subs (not used): Fallens (GK), Verlaque, Mazel, McAllister.
Goals: McKenzie 4, 34
Hearts U20s: Mason, Godinho (Vladislav 79), Reid, Baur, Jones, Petkov (Roy 46), Morrison, Paton, McLean (Currie 90), Irving, Zanatta. Subs (not used): I Smith, K Smith, Baxter.
Goals: Jones 47, Roy 50, McLean 67
Referee: Steven Reid