Stirling made it four wins out of four with a terrific victory over Peterhead to stay two points clear at the top of Ladbrokes League 2.
Dave Mackay’s men fell behind early on but four goals in an incredible 18-minute spell in the first half earned us a deserved victory against the pre-season title favourites.
The Blue Toon pulled one back before they had defender Scott Ross sent off for a second booking as the Binos closed out the points on a dreich afternoon at Balmoor.
Mackay named an unchanged team in the wake of the 2-0 win over Edinburgh City for our first visit to this venue since January 2015, with Sean Dickson and Andy Little again out injured.
Jim McInally’s men welcomed back Rory McAllister as they aimed to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat at Stenhousemuir and were ahead after just five minutes.
Jamie Stevenson picked out Paul Cairney with a low cross from the right and the ex-Ayr player pounced from close range; despite mis-hitting his shot the ball trickled into the net.
The equaliser came in 18 minutes and sparked a superb spell of football from Stirling. Darren Smith’s shot on the turn was clawed away by Greg Fleming but Callumn Morrison followed up to slam the ball home.
Darren Smith fired Albion ahead three minutes later, sweeping a shot low into the corner, after a great ball in from the right flank from Liam Caddis, and it was soon 3-1. Ross Kavanagh struck after Ewan McNeil’s cross had been nodded down, meaning he and Darren Smith have now scored in all four League 2 games.
It got even better before half-time when Smith netted his second of the day and eighth of the season with a cool finish after Peter MacDonald had done brilliantly to hold the ball up then lay it off.
Peterhead reduced the deficit in 54 minutes when McAllister confidently converted a penalty after Ross Smith had handled in the box then we earned a spot-kick at the other end. Jason Brown blocked a Caddis drive with his arm but MacDonald’s effort was diverted on to the bar by Fleming.
The Blue Toon’s Ross was sent off in 73 minutes for an elbow on MacDonald, which led to his second yellow card, before Willie Gibson came close with a free-kick. Cammy Binnie saved well from McAllister while Darren Smith fired over when he had the chance to complete his hat-trick.
There are no League 2 games next weekend due to the second round of the IRN-BRU Cup but we will return to action at home to Clyde on September 9 as one of only two SPFL teams with a 100% record, Aberdeen being the other.
Peterhead: Fleming, Jason Brown, Diboko (Gabriel 16) (Smith 54), Ross, Ferry, Stevenson (Riley 45), Leitch, Brown, McAllister, Cairney, Gibson. Subs (not used): McLean, Adams, Lawrence, Hobday (GK)
Scorers: Cairney 5, McAllister pen 54
Stirling Albion: Binnie, McGeachie, Hamilton, McNeil, R Smith, Black, Morrison, Caddis, MacDonald (McLaughlin 77), D Smith, Kavanagh. Subs (not used): Noble, Robertson, Davidson, McMullan, Cameron, Foden (GK)
Scorers: Morrison 18, D Smith 21, 36, Kavanagh 25
Referee: Gavin Ross