East Fife moved to the top of Ladbrokes League 2 with a deserved victory at a blustery Bayview as we slipped to fifth in the table.
The only goal came with 18 minutes remaining when substitute Kevin Smith found space at the back post to head home a Kyle Wilkie cross.
We had already drawn twice at Bayview this season and another stalemate would have been a decent outcome against Gary Naysmith’s in-form side but we could have few complaints about the result.
On a heavy pitch, which saw both teams struggle with their footing at times, East Fife created most of the chances and Chris Smith pulled off a number of fine saves while Liam Kelly, on loan from Rangers, had a quiet afternoon at the other end.
Stuart McLaren named an unchanged team in the wake of last week’s 2-1 win over Berwick as we sought revenge for a 3-1 defeat by East Fife on Boxing Day but we almost fell behind inside two minutes.
Naysmith’s quickly-taken free-kick found Jamie Insall but Smith did brilliantly to keep out the on-loan Hibernian striker’s shot when a goal looked certain.
Chances were generally at a premium in the first half – Lewis McLear fizzed a volley narrowly over the bar while Smith made a terrific stop from Wilkie’s 25-yard drive.
East Fife always looked the more likely team to score after the break and Smith did well to deny the dangerous Nathan Austin before the keeper made a double block to maintain the 0-0 scoreline.
Smith headed the opener 10 minutes after coming on as a sub and we struggled to create openings but Phil Johnston’s long-range effort produced a fine save from Kelly.
The Methil men, who went into the game on the back of five wins and a draw, could have added to their lead but Smith made fine stops to thwart Austin and Wilkie.
A disappointing afternoon and we will hope to make amends when we face Clyde in a rearranged game at Forthbank on Tuesday.
East Fife: Kelly, Slattery, Campbell, Page, Brown, N Austin, Wilkie, Naysmith, Mercer, Kerr, Insall (Smith 63).
Subs (not used): Mullen, Murray, O’Kane, J Austin, Coote, Goodfellow (GK).
Stirling Albion: C Smith, Johnston, Forsyth, Robertson, R Smith, Buist (McMillan 90), Lamont (Mazel 69), McLear (Beattie 69), Doris, D Smith, Dickson.
Subs (not used): Verlaque, Olanrewaju, McGeachie, Binnie (GK).
Referee: Scott Millar