Stirling Albion claimed a crucial win over bottom club Cowdenbeath to move back into the play-off places but it was far from a classic on a freezing night at Forthbank.
A Jamie Pyper own goal 10 minutes before half-time was the difference between the teams in a poor game of few clear-cut chances and the visitors will feel they merited a draw.
There was a minute’s applause before the game in memory of former chairman and owner Peter McKenzie, whose funeral had taken place on Monday.
Binos boss Dave Mackay gave a debut to on-loan St Johnstone midfielder Danny Jardine and Ross Smith returned from injury but Sean Dickson, Steven Noble were still sidelined.
Darren Smith sent a decent early chance over the bar but in general there wasn’t much happening and it was a surprise when the deadlock was broken with half-time approaching.
Peter MacDonald’s corner caused confusion in the defence – keeper David McGurn could only turn the ball against Pyper, under pressure from Neil McLaughlin, and it rolled over the line. It was fitting that a scruffy goal should settle an ugly game.
Gary Bollan’s men had the better of the second half but they lacked a cutting edge and remain without a win since beating Edinburgh City in August.
Cammy Binnie had to be alert to push away a Harvey Swann free-kick and David Cox wasn’t far away from converting a Swann cross as we held out to end our terrible recent home run against Cowdenbeath, who had won five and drawn one of their last six visits to Forthbank.
Stirling Albion: Binnie, McGeachie, Hamilton, McNeil, R Smith, Moon (Black 80), McLaughlin (Stanger 90), Jardine, MacDonald (Kavanagh 70), D Smith, Robertson. Subs (not used): Fallens (GK), Banner, Caddis, McMullan.
Scorer: Pyper og 35
Cowdenbeath: McGurn, McInally, Swann, Pyper, Rumsby, Miller, Mullen, Malcolm, Cox, Smith (Reilly 73), Buchanan. Subs (not used): Hornby, Syme, Whittaker, Malone, Penman, Luke.
Referee: Gavin Ross