Report to follow…
Stirling completed the first quarter of the Ladbrokes League 2 campaign with a seventh defeat of the season as 10-man Cowdenbeath leapfrogged us in the lower reaches of the table.
Blue Brazil skipper David Marsh scored the only goal after just six minutes and we struggled to create chances despite the hosts having trialist Gary Fraser sent off after half an hour.
Darren Barr was in caretaker charge following the departure of Dave Mackay and he recalled goalkeeper Cammy Binnie while there was a first start for striker Reg McLaren. Former Falkirk and Rangers player Alan Gow featured as a trialist while reserve duo Scott Miller and Cammy Hayes were on the bench. Barr, Peter MacDonald, Mark Stewart, Darren Smith, Willie Robertson and Lee Hamilton were all ruled out through injury.
We had won on our last four visits to Central Park but that run came to an end as Gary Bollan’s men claimed only their second League 2 victory of 2018/19.
McLaren had an early header tipped over by David McGurn but Albion fell behind when Marsh sent a low shot beyond Binnie after we failed to clear a corner. Fraser saw red in 28 minutes for a late tackle on Moon but we struggled to make headway against a well-organised defence.
Cammy Thomson fired wide when he might have done better and Neil McLaughlin had an effort saved. A superb pass from Gow released Jordan Allan but McGurn was out quickly to block. Generally, the home side looked comfortable and Marsh came close to a second goal when he headed over.
There is no game next weekend and we return to action at home to Queen’s Park in the second round of the Scottish Cup on Saturday October 20.
Cowdenbeath: McGurn, Mullen, Talbot, Marsh, Deas, Fraser, Cox (Skelly 90), Malcolm, Sheerin (Miller 37), Scott (Renton 80), Buchanan. Subs (not used): Goodfellow (GK), Scullion, Pyper, Smith.
Scorer: Marsh 6
Stirling Albion: Binnie, McGeachie, Thomson, Marr, Horne, Moon (Hughes 78), Jardine, Docherty, McLaren (McLaughlin 68), Gow, Allan. Subs (not used): Ferrie (GK), Fell, Banner, Miller, Hayes.
Referee: Stephen Brown
Rovers claimed their first win of the season after a horrible 90 minutes for Stirling at the Reigart Stadium.
An early Lewis McLear goal and a second-half double from Ryan Watters – son of Albion legend Willie – earned John Brogan’s men a deserved three points as we suffered our sixth defeat in eight League 2 fixtures. It turned out to be Dave Mackay’s last game as manager after almost two years in charge.
On-loan Hamilton midfielder Ronan Hughes made his debut at right wing-back while Lee Hamilton, Darren Smith and Willie Robertson missed out through injury.
Rovers, with the strong wind behind them, went ahead after just nine minutes when keeper Calum Ferrie hit a clearance straight at McLear, who took the ball round him and knocked it into the empty net.
The Binos offered little response in a first half largely devoid of incident and the home side looked comfortable on their one-goal advantage. We showed a bit more life in the second half but were caught out when McLear’s ball in from the right was converted by Watters at the far post.
Stirling did plenty of pressing but couldn’t find a way past on-loan Motherwell keeper Peter Morrison. He made a number of fine saves, notably one from a Jason Marr overhead kick. Kyle Banner hit the bar with a header from a corner and Mark Stewart dragged a shot wide when he might have done better.
It was all over with seven minutes left when Watters was free in the box to lash the ball past Ferrie and complete a miserable afternoon on our first visit to this ground since a 2-0 win in April 2014.
Albion Rovers: Morrison, Fagan, Reid, Eley, Wharton, McGeough, McLear (Gracie 88), Fisher, McMahon (Watson 56), Gallagher, Watters (Cunningham 90).
Subs (not used): Potts, Kearney, Murdoch, Wilson.
Goals: McLear 9, Watters 53, 86
Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie, Allan, Banner, Thomson (Marr 31), Moon, Stewart, Jardine, MacDonald (McLaren 56), Hughes, Fell (McLaughlin 56).
Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Horne, Docherty, Barr.
Referee: Kevin Graham
Annan earned a deserved win at Forthbank as we failed to build on the recent victories over Elgin City and Queen’s Park.
An own goal from Evan Horne – again playing as a trialist – gave Peter Murphy’s men a half-time lead and Tony Wallace doubled their advantage midway through the second period.
Dominic Docherty got one back in stoppage time but it was too little, too late, on a desperately disappointing afternoon for Dave Mackay’s side.
Albion had played with an intensity in the last two games but this was a disjointed display and means we have lost five matches out of seven in Ladbrokes League 2 this season.
Darren Barr, Darren Smith, Willie Robertson and Lee Hamilton were all ruled out through injury but Kevin Moon returned to the starting XI and new loan signing Ronan Hughes was on the bench.
Kevin Fell missed a great chance to give us the lead when he fired wide early on and Annan broke the deadlock in 12 minutes when Horne diverted a Scott Roberts effort into his own net.
Cammy Thomson might have equalised when played in by Docherty but his shot was saved by Jonny Jamieson and we offered little in the second half.
Tommy Muir had a good opportunity for the visitors before Wallace settled it in 69 minutes, burying a low shot beyond Calum Ferrie after the ball had been flicked into his path.
Docherty halved the deficit in the 91st-minute when he drilled a shot past Jamieson but Annan held on to end their dreadful run of seven straight Forthbank defeats.
Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie, Allan, Marr (Banner 54), Horne, Moon (McLaren 70), Jardine, MacDonald (Stewart 54), Fell, Thomson, Docherty. Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Hughes, McLaughlin
Goal: Docherty 90
Annan Athletic: Jamieson, Hooper, Creaney, Wilson, Moxon, Bradley, Johnston, Sinnamon, Roberts (Smith 88), Muir (Fergusson 82), Wallace (Wright 85). Subs (not used): Trialist (GK), Sonkur, Murphy
Goals: Horne og 12, Wallace 69
Referee: Chris Fordyce
Stirling produced an outstanding performance to demolish Elgin at Borough Briggs as we ended our run of four straight league defeats this season.
In an incredible first half, Dave Mackay’s men scored three times, should have had a couple more, and also missed a penalty.
The second half was less dramatic but we had a goal harshly disallowed and comfortably saw the game out to secure a first victory in League 2 since a 2-0 success here in March.
Darren Smith, Jason Marr and Mark Stewart were all sidelined then Darren Barr was ruled out despite being named on the teamsheet. He was replaced by Dominic Docherty while trialist Mark Stowe was on the bench.
The opening goal arrived in 15 minutes, when ex-St Johnstone midfielder Cammy Thomson opened his account with a low drive into the corner, and there was much more to come.
MacDonald added the second from close range but then saw his penalty saved by Kyle Gourlay after Docherty had been tripped in the box.
Craig Beattie hit the post for Elgin but we looked like scoring in every attack and were awarded a second spot-kick when Brian Cameron was harshly judged to have fouled Docherty. Jordan Allan stepped up this time and hammered the ball into the corner.
MacDonald was proving too much for the Elgin defence but missed a sitter before half-time when he fired wide then Kyle Banner was pushed in the box for what should have been a third penalty.
Banner was unfortunate to see a second-half header ruled out and on-loan Dundee keeper Gourlay made fine saves to deny Kevin Fell and sub Neil McLaughlin while Calum Ferrie tipped a JP McGovern 18 yarder over the bar at the other end.
The team ethic and desire to win the ball back was a key feature of the best performance of the season and hopefully it’s onwards and upwards from here. We have no game next weekend then host Queen’s Park on September 15.
Elgin City: Gourlay, Cooper, Lowdon, McHardy, Beattie, McGovern, Wilson (Farquhar 46) Cameron, A Sutherland (Morrison 54), McLeish (Hay 67) S Sutherland.
Subs (not used): McHale (GK), Miller, Omar, Byrne.
Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie, Allan, Hamilton, Banner, Thomson, Jardine, MacDonald (McLaren 82) Fell, Docherty, Robertson (McLaughlin 75).
Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Stowe.
Goals: Thomson 15, MacDonald 24, Allan pen 34
Referee: David Munro
Peterhead won at Forthbank for the fourth time in the space of nine months to stay top of Ladbrokes League 2 and leave Stirling seeking their first points of the campaign.
Jamie Stevenson broke the deadlock just before half-time when he curled a 30-yard free-kick in off the post and SPFL record scorer Rory McAllister drove a low shot beyond Calum Ferrie after a Russell McLean assist to seal a third straight win and clean sheet for the Blue Toon.
It was a much-improved display from Dave Mackay’s men – particularly in the first half – but we failed to force Greg Fleming into meaningful action until late in the game and we are above bottom club Albion Rovers only on goal difference as we prepare to travel to Elgin next weekend.
Darren Barr returned from injury for his first appearance of the season and Darren Smith did likewise from the bench but Kevin Moon, Jason Marr and Mark Stewart were all ruled out. Trialist Mark Stowe, a winger previously with Falkirk, was among the substitutes.
Peterhead struck the bar following an early corner but we recovered well and should have gone in front but Kevin Fell dragged his shot wide of the post.
There wasn’t much between the teams but we fell behind when Stevenson scored with a superb free-kick and it was all over when McAllister doubled the Blue Toon’s advantage in 64 minutes.
Stowe forced a good save from Greg Fleming while McAllister missed two good chances to add to Peterhead’s lead as they gained revenge for our Betfred Cup success at Balmoor last month.
Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie, Allan, Hamilton, Barr, Thomson, McLaughlin (Smith 62), Jardine, P MacDonald, Fell (Stowe 68), Robertson (McLaren 76).
Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Banner, Docherty, Young.
Peterhead: Fleming, Gibson, J Brown, Eadie, Stevenson, Ferry, Leitch (Norris 80), S Brown, McAllister, McLean (Home 90), Lyle (Kavanagh 65).
Subs (not used): Gibson (GK), Macdonald, McCracken.
Goals: Stevenson 44, McAllister 64
Referee: Craig Napier
Edinburgh City earned a deserved win in the capital to leave Stirling second from bottom in Ladbrokes League 2 and still without a point this season.
Binos boss Dave Mackay was without Darren Barr, Darren Smith, Kevin Moon and Jason Marr. There was one change to the starting XI, with Dominic Docherty in for Marr while defender Dillon Young made his debut as a half-time replacement after Lee Hamilton suffered a head knock.
Blair Henderson had a first-half penalty saved by Calum Ferrie after Hamilton had tripped Danny Handling in a goalless 45 minutes when James McDonaugh’s men were the better side.
They went ahead two minutes into the second period when Scott Shepherd scored from the spot after he had been brought down by Kyle Banner.
Mark Stewart equalised when he pounced at the back post from a Jordan Allan cross and Calum Antell then made a superb save to keep out Peter MacDonald’s curling free kick.
In general we struggled to make an impact on the game and City were back in front when Conrad Balatoni headed home a Robbie McIntyre corner. It was all over with 18 minutes left when Handling’s shot was turned into his own net by Allan.
Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Black, Balatoni, Laird (Donaldson 90), L Henderson, Shepherd, B Henderson, Handling (Stewart 74), Taylor (Smith 76). Subs (not used): Morton (GK), Rodger, Hall, Lumsden.
Scorers: Shepherd pen 47, Balatoni 64, Allan og 72
Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie, Allan, Hamilton (Young 46), Banner, Thomson (Fell 74), Stewart, Jardine, P MacDonald, Docherty (McLaughlin 67), Robertson. Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), M MacDonald, McLaren, Watson.
Scorer: Stewart 54
Referee: Colin Steven
Alloa booked their place in round two of the IRN-BRU Cup with a comfortable win at the Indodrill Stadium.
Only 332 fans were there to see it – around 80 of them in the away end – as the £17 adult admission price kept supporters away.
Kevin Cawley’s double late in the first half had the Wasps in control and Iain Flannigan added the third goal less than a minute after the break. Lee Hamilton got one back but it wasn’t much consolation as we suffered our eighth derby defeat in a row.
Stirling haven’t won a game in this competition since beating Elgin City at Borough Briggs in July 2014 and never looked like ending that run.
Binos boss Dave Mackay was again without injured trio Darren Smith, Darren Barr and Kevin Moon while Neil McLaughlin was involved with parent club Motherwell, as was Alloa’s Jake Hastie. The hosts had to do without suspended striker Greig Spence and only named three subs – one of them manager Jim Goodwin.
The Championship side had two goals disallowed for offside before Cawley converted an Adam Brown cross then volleyed Alan Trouten’s delivery past Calum Ferrie.
Mark Stewart missed a great chance when he headed wide at 0-0 but Alloa were much the better team and Flannigan smashed a shot into the net from 18 yards for No 3.
Hamilton reduced the deficit when his header from a corner hit the post and was judged to have crossed the line before being cleared.
Alloa Athletic: Parry, Taggart, Dick, Graham, Hetherington (Karadachki 83) Cawley, Robertson, Trouten, Flannigan, Brown, Peggie. Subs (not used): Goodwin, Henry (GK).
Goal: Cawley 40, 45, Flannigan 46
Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie, Allan, Hamilton, Banner (Watson 27) Marr, Stewart (Fell 77), Jardine, P MacDonald, Thomson, Robertson. Subs (not used): Young, Docherty, McLaren, M MacDonald, Binnie (GK).
Goal: Hamilton 55
Referee: David Lowe
Clyde cruised to a comfortable win at Forthbank to take the early lead in Ladbrokes League 2 and leave Stirling without a point or a goal.
A double from Ally Love and a David Goodwillie goal did the damage at Forthbank and Danny Lennon’s side look very capable of challenging for the title.
It was a deeply disappointing afternoon for Dave Mackay’s men – they had plenty of possession in the first half but rarely troubled keeper Blair Currie.
Darren Barr, Darren Smith, Kevin Moon and Calum Ferrie all missed out through injury but Kyle Banner returned from suspension and Willie Robertson was back. There were two trialists on the bench in former Falkirk midfielder Mark Stowe and ex-Hamilton Accies forward Marc Kelly and both made their debuts as substitutes.
Clyde lost 2-1 here on their last visit in February but were ahead after just four minutes. The ball broke to Love in the box following a free kick and he steered a shot inside the left-hand post.
Bully Wee skipper Kevin Nicoll struck the bar with a dipping effort from distance but the visitors did score again on the brink of half-time when Jordan Stewart’s cross from the left was headed home by Goodwillie.
Stirling had a penalty appeal waved away when Dominic Docherty appeared to be tripped in the box and it was game over on the hour mark when Clyde scored again – a nice move ended with Love slamming a low drive in off the post.
Binnie denied the visitors a fourth goal with a good save from summer signing John Rankin while Mark Stewart tested Currie late on as we struggled to break down a well-organised Clyde side.
Stirling Albion: Binnie, McGeachie, Allan, Hamilton, Banner, Docherty (Stowe 66), Stewart, Jardine, P MacDonald, McLaughlin (Fell 74), Robertson (Kelly 83). Subs (not used): Law (GK), Marr, Thomson, M MacDonald.
Clyde: Currie, Cuddihy, Stewart, Rumsby, McNiff, Grant (Boyle 84) Nicoll, Rankin, McStay (Ferns 73) Goodwillie, Love (Lamont 73). Subs (not used): Hughes (GK), Gorman, Cogill, Duffie.
Goals: Love 4, 60, Goodwillie 44
Referee: Lloyd Wilson
Our Ladbrokes League 2 campaign got off to a disappointing start as Berwick claimed the points on a sunny afternoon at Shielfield.
Stirling had much the better of the first half but struck the woodwork on three separate occasions and also had a goal disallowed.
Robbie Horn’s men came out strongly in the second half and midfielder Ross Brown, a recent signing from Airdrie, got the winner in 65 minutes.
Binos boss Dave Mackay was without injured pair Darren Barr and Darren Smith while Kevin Moon and Kyle Banner were suspended. Lee Hamilton returned to the side and on-loan Dundee keeper Calum Ferrie got the nod ahead of Cammy Binnie.
Dominic Docherty (twice) and Neil McLaughlin both rattled the frame of the goal as half-time approached and Fell was unlucky to be denied by the offside flag when he latched on to a superb pass from Jason Marr and looped a header over keeper Sean Brennan.
Berwick, who hadn’t scored in the Betfred Cup, looked a different team in the second half and Ferrie made a couple of good saves from Paul Willis before Brown sliced through the defence to score with a confident finish low into the net.
The biggest disappointment was our lack of reaction to going behind and we barely troubled Brennan in the Berwick goal, although Mark Stewart should have done better with an opportunity late in the game.
Berwick Rangers: Brennan, Orru, O’Kane, Wilson, Todd (Fleming 89), Lavery (Murphy 79), Willis, Phillips, Cook, Healy (Murrell 72), Brown. Subs (not used): Adams (GK), Davie, Rose.
Scorer: Ross Brown 65
Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie, Allan, Hamilton, Marr, Docherty, Stewart, Jardine, P MacDonald, Fell (Watson 69), McLaughlin (McLaren 82). Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Young, Thomson, M MacDonald, C MacDonald.
Referee: Chris Graham