Albion crashed out of the Scottish Cup as East of Scotland League champions Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale stormed to well-deserved win at Forthbank.
Raymond Carr’s side were excellent but this was a dreadful performance from Stirling as we suffered our first defeat to non-league opponents since losing to Deveronvale in 2012/13.
We even took the lead after just six minutes when Darren Smith rounded the keeper to score but it took LTHV only 10 minutes to turn the tie round and the second half was the stuff of nightmares.
Willie Robertson and Lee Hamilton were injured, Peter MacDonald wasn’t risked to start due to a knock and Callumn Morrison was unavailable under the terms of his loan agreement from Hearts. Ross Smith was dropped to the bench, with Scott Davidson taking his place.
We again managed to score three goals but Lothian Thistle got five, hit the post and missed another couple of great chances. The result flattered us.
Darren Smith’s 12th of the season gave Dave Mackay’s men the perfect start but the Edinburgh side quickly hit back. Willis Hare scored after the ball came back off the bar then the unmarked Sean Wringe found the net with a good header from a free-kick.
Wringe headed in a corner to make it 3-1 right at the start of the second half and Stirling fell apart. Sean Dickson dived in to concede a penalty that was converted by Louis Swanson then Jamie Devlin fired the ball into the empty net after a horrible mix-up between keeper Mark Foden and his defence.
Close-range goals from Peter MacDonald and Scott Davidson after 74 and 81 minutes, both from Darren Smith assists, narrowed the deficit but an unlikely comeback was never really on.
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale can now look forward to a home tie with St Mirren in round three on November 18 while we are left to reflect on one of our worst results.
Stirling Albion: Foden, McGeachie, Noble, McNeil, Davidson (Cameron 85), Black, Caddis (MacDonald 54), McLaughlin, D Smith, Kavanagh, Dickson. Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), R Smith, Banner, McMullan.
Goals: D Smith 6, MacDonald 74, Davidson 81
Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale: Swain, Sherlock, O’Donnell, Crawford, Munro, Muir, Hare (Moore 64), Brown, Wringe (Nhamburo 71), Devlin, Swanson (Mungall 89). Subs (not used): Robertson (GK), Hutchison, Simpson, Easton.
Goals: Hare 10, Wringe 15, 47, Swanson pen 66, Devlin 68
Referee: Ryan Milne