Stenhousemuir claimed a deserved win in Tuesday’s New Year derby as 2018 got off to a bad start on a bleak afternoon at Ochilview.
Goals just after half-time from Martin Scott and Ross Meechan proved decisive and Darren Smith’s stoppage-time reply was little consolation as we dropped out of the top four.
Dave Mackay’s men go into Saturday’s home match against Berwick Rangers on the back of a six-match winless streak and an ankle injury suffered by on-loan Hearts winger Callumn Morrison added to the gloom.
Albion won 3-2 here on the opening day but Stenhousemuir responded with a 2-1 triumph at the end of October and it was the same story again as Brown Ferguson’s men strengthened their grip on third spot.
Albion showed four changes to the team beaten 1-0 by Montrose just before Christmas, with Steven Noble, Andy Black, Liam Caddis and Darren Smith replacing Lee Hamilton, Ross Smith, Willie Robertson and Neil McLaughlin.
Stenny made a fast start and Cammy Binnie saved Martin Scott’s header after just 30 seconds before skipper Michael Dunlop nodded over from a corner. Top scorer Mark McGuigan missed a good chance after delaying too long and allowing a defender to block.
Stirling found their feet in the period before half-time and Chris Smith did well to tip over a Sean Dickson volley from distance but the game was lost in the early minutes of the second half.
Former Arbroath forward Scott turned in the box and fired home after 47 minutes after getting on the end of an Alan Cook corner and the second goal wasn’t long in coming. McGuigan did well to hold the ball up and laid it off for Meechan to send a superb curling effort into the corner from 20 yards.
The Warriors cruised through much of the second half and should have added to their lead before Darren Smith tucked away his 16th goal of the campaign from close range after Chris Smith had failed to hold a routine shot in the first minute of added time.
Stenhousemuir: Smith, Meechan, M Dunlop, R Dunlop, Donaldson, Marsh, McGuigan, Ferry, Scott (Paterson 81), Paton (Longworth 86), Cook (Murray 74). Subs (not used): McMenamin, Allan, Halleran, McMinn (GK).
Goals: Scott 47, Meechan 52
Stirling Albion: Binnie, McGeachie, Noble, McNeil, Banner, Black (Kavanagh 56), Morrison (McLaughlin 60), Caddis (Robertson 77), MacDonald, D Smith, Dickson. Subs (not used): R Smith, Davidson, McMullan, Foden (GK).
Goal: D Smith 90
Referee: Stephen Brown