Elgin gained revenge for our recent victory at Borough Briggs to move back into the play-off places as we suffered only our second defeat in 12 matches.
The damage was done in a nightmare opening half hour when Nathan Flanagan, Brian Cameron and Shane Sutherland all scored for Gavin Price’s side.
We were much improved in the second half and Brett Long made good saves from Peter MacDonald and Neil McLaughlin but Elgin generally defended well and were denied a fourth goal when Darryl McHardy smacked a shot against the bar.
Binos boss Dave Mackay was without Andy Black, Darren Barr, Andy Little, Kevin Moon and George Stanger for our seventh game in 22 days but Lee Hamilton and Willie Robertson returned while U20 winger Alberto Vezza was named among the subs.
On a cold afternoon in Moray, City took the lead after just seven minutes when Sutherland set up Flanagan and the on-loan St Mirren winger curled a shot into the top corner.
Elgin doubled their advantage in 18 minutes when Craig Wight made a good save from Chris McLeish but Cameron was on hand to net the rebound from close range.
We had drawn our last two matches 2-2 against Cowdenbeath and Edinburgh City and again looked vulnerable at the back. The hosts scored their third goal in 24 minutes – some good build-up play and lax defending allowed Sutherland to steer a low drive beyond Wight.
The Black and Whites could have added to their lead before the break, by which time Sean Dickson and Ross Smith had been replaced by Ross Kavanagh and Steven Noble.
Stirling saw plenty of the ball in the second half, with Robertson trying to drive the team forward, but it was always going to be a long way back against a team with one of the best home records in the country.
Despite the defeat, we remain on course for the play-offs – seven points clear of Elgin and nine in front of Stenhousemuir and Clyde – as we prepare to welcome title-chasing Montrose to Forthbank next Saturday.
Elgin City: Long, Eadie (Smith 79) Allan, McHardy, Bronsky, McGovern, Reilly, Cameron, McLeish, (McDonald 59) Sutherland, Flanagan (Byrne 87).
Subs (not used): Ferguson, Scott, McDade, Ross (GK).
Goals: Flanagan 7, Cameron 18, Sutherland 24
Stirling Albion: Wight, McGeachie, Hamilton, McNeil, R Smith (Noble 38) McLaughlin, Jardine, P MacDonald, D Smith, Robertson, Dickson (Kavanagh 38).
Subs (not used): Banner, C MacDonald, Vezza, Binnie (GK).
Referee: Colin Steven