Stirling crashed out of the Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cup to St Mirren’s U21 side after missing a penalty and passing up a series of good chances in the Paisley sunshine.
Saints keeper Dean Lyness, one of their two permitted overage players, saved a Max Wright penalty and made two stunning stops in the second half as the hosts reached the last 16 of the competition.
St Mirren, who had beaten East Kilbride and Dumbarton by 1-0 margins in earlier rounds, didn’t create much but grabbed the only goal in 79 minutes when midfielder Cammy MacPherson rifled home a low drive from just outside the box.
Ross McGeachie, David Wilson, Darryl Duffy and Paul Willis were all out injured and Kevin Nicoll was suspended. Binos boss Kevin Rutkiewicz made six changes to the team beaten by Albion Rovers, including a first appearance of the season for left-back James Creaney and a first start for recent signing Dylan Bikey.
The Frenchman, playing wide left, looked in the mood and came close on a couple occasions in the match but we should have gone ahead in 18 minutes. Wright was caught by Conor McBrearty as he tried to connect with a Sean Heaver cross and referee Euan Anderson pointed to the spot. Wright took the kick but it was a weak effort – Lyness saved easily and the rebound was scrambled clear.
Albion started the second half strongly but Heaver fired over after good work by Bikey then Lyness made a fantastic save to keep out a Wright header. Kyle Banner had a header cleared off the line but the breakthrough just wouldn’t come.
Cammy Binnie had earlier made a smart stop from a Cammy Breadner 20 yarder but was beaten by MacPherson 11 minutes from time. We almost equalised when Wright smashed the ball towards the net but ex-Raith Rovers keeper Lyness pulled off a spectacular save and our hopes of a place in Tuesday’s fourth-round draw were over.
St Mirren Colts: Lyness, Grant, Walker (McMaster 75), McBrearty, Glover, MacPherson, Reilly (Henderson 72) Gray, Jamieson, Jack (McCaw 88), Breadner. Subs (not used): Law (GK), Ellis, Girvan, Frew.
Goal: MacPherson 79
Stirling Albion: Binnie, Banner, Creaney (Mackin 80), Heaver (Scott 62) Truesdale, McLean, Jardine, Docherty, Wright, Bikey (Thomson 75), Peters. Subs (not used): Currie (GK), Lowdon, McGregor, Hawke.
Referee: Euan Anderson