Stenhousemuir were worthy winners at Forthbank as we began the second quarter of the Ladbrokes League 2 campaign with a disappointing derby defeat.
The Warriors were much the better team as our lead at the top of the table was cut to two points over Montrose after another poor home performance.
Mark McGuigan’s penalty and a Jamie Longworth goal early in the second half had the visitors in command but Darren Smith pulled one back and only a superb save from Chris Smith in the closing minutes denied Albion a draw we would not have deserved.
Binos boss Dave Mackay was forced to make one change to the team that beat bottom club Cowdenbeath 3-0, with Neil McLaughlin replacing the injured Peter MacDonald.
There was a flat feel to the opening quarter of the game and not much had happened before Ewan McNeil carelessly conceded a penalty after 25 minutes, which was converted by McGuigan for his 10th league goal of the season.
Stenhousemuir should have added to their lead but keeper Cammy Binnie, who was voted man of the match, produced fine saves to thwart Harry Paton and Nikki Paterson.
We offered little threat and got the second half off to the worst possible start when Ross Smith could only help on a long throw-in and Longworth pounced to fire a low shot into the net.
McGuigan missed a great chance to make it 3-0 and Binnie had another couple of good stops before we got back in the game in 73 minutes when Callumn Morrison set up Darren Smith to score his 14th goal of 2017/18 with a simple finish.
We failed to put Brown Ferguson’s men under any sustained pressure but it took Chris Smith’s vital save from namesake Darren to seal Stenny’s first away league win of the season and the top five in League 2 are now separated by only five points.
Stirling Albion: Binnie, McNeil, Hamilton, McGeachie, R Smith, Robertson (McMullan 58), Black (Dickson 51), Caddis (Kavanagh 51), Morrison, D Smith, McLaughlin. Subs (not used): Noble, Cameron, Banner, Foden (GK).
Goal: D Smith 73
Stenhousemuir: C Smith, Meechan, M Dunlop, R Dunlop, Paterson, Ferry, McGuigan (McMenamin 90), Paton, Longworth (Murray 76), Ferns (Marsh 89), Donaldson. Subs (not used): Gilmour, Allan, Scott, McMinn (GK)
Goals: McGuigan pen 26, Longworth 48
Referee: Gavin Duncan