Stirling made it three home wins on the trot as we came from behind against 10-man Cowdenbeath in our final fixture of 2018.
Gary Bollan’s men triumphed 1-0 at Central Park in October despite playing for an hour with 10 men but on this occasion the 35th-minute red card given to defender Robbie Deas proved too big a handicap.
Lee Hamilton, Mark Stewart and Kevin Moon were again ruled out through injury and there were two changes to the team beaten 4-1 at Peterhead.
On-loan Dundee keeper Calum Ferrie replaced Cammy Binnie and Peter MacDonald got the nod ahead of Neil McLaughlin as both players made their first starts since Dave Mackay’s last match in charge.
Cowdenbeath were ahead after just nine minutes when Jason Marr was short with a pass-back and former Wolves player Jordan Allan – who made his debut for Airdrie at the age of just 14 – nipped in to score.
MacDonald came close to equalising with a free-kick that flew wide but in general the visitors were looking comfortable, only for the game to turn in a 10-minute spell before half-time.
Stirling were awarded a penalty when Deas brought down MacDonald and referee Scott Lambie pointed to the spot, although the highlights suggested the contact was just outside the box. Dylan Mackin coolly converted the spot-kick for his fourth goal of the season.
The winner came in first-half stoppage time following an excellent passing move – Darren Smith laid the ball off to midfielder Dom Docherty and Albion’s top scorer sent a first-time drive low past David McGurn from 16 yards for his fifth goal of 2018/19.
Mackin missed a great chance to add a third Stirling goal on the hour mark when he was thwarted by McGurn and Cowden were in the game until the end but they failed to create anything clear cut, with a couple of Jamie Pyper headers from corners comfortably saved.
The win moved us to within seven points of the play-offs with a game in hand on both Annan and Elgin and it’s just one defeat in seven matches going into Saturday’s game against leaders Edinburgh City at Ainslie Park.
Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie, Allan (Thomson 69), Hughes, Horne, Marr, Jardine, Docherty, Mackin (McLaughlin 73), Smith (Banner 82), MacDonald. Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), McLaren, Rutkiewicz.
Scorers: Mackin pen 36, Docherty 45
Cowdenbeath: McGurn, Mullen, Malcolm (Pyper 33), Marsh, Deas, Miller, Cox (Skelly 71), Allan (Sheerin 81), Renton, Fraser, Buchanan. Subs (not used): Goodfellow (GK), Swann, Sneddon, Scott.
Scorer: Allan 9
Referee: Scott Lambie