Stirling gained revenge for an opening-day defeat at Shielfield with a deserved victory in very windy conditions.
Dylan Mackin’s penalty and a seventh goal of the season from Darren Smith had Kevin Rutkiewicz’s side firmly in control before Lewis Barr pulled one back in the last minute with a stunning 30 yarder.
The result means we have closed the gap on fourth-placed Annan to four points going into Tuesday’s rearranged fixture with Albion Rovers at Forthbank.
The match was preceded by a minute’s applause for the hugely popular and respected Ian ‘Pea’ Oliver, who had served Berwick for more than 50 years and was still working as kitman until his sudden passing on Thursday.
Dom Docherty returned from a two-match ban and there was a first start for Max Wright in place of Archie Thomas, who is back at Dundee United after picking up an injury, and Peter MacDonald, who was left out with a slight knock. St Mirren loan signing Scott Glover was on the bench and made his debut as a late substitute and there was also a second ‘debut’ for fellow sub Lewis McLear.
Albion were shooting down the Shielfield slope in the first half and we had the ball in the net inside five minutes when Wright pounced after Sean Brennan had pushed out Smith’s powerful shot but the flag was up.
Smith himself was denied by an offside flag – it looked a close call – when he latched on to a through ball and scored with a cool finish while Calum Ferrie was called into action to push away a free-kick.
The deadlock was broken two minutes before the break when Dom Docherty’s cross struck a Berwick arm just inside the box and Mackin tucked away the spot-kick for his sixth goal of the season although it seemed a harsh decision.
Berwick, beaten 7-1 by Queen’s Park in their last fixture and without a win since November, struggled to create much in the second half and we were comfortable at 1-0.
Brennan saved from Wright and Docherty fired just wide before the second goal arrived in 79 minutes – right-back Evan Horne supplied the cross and Smith sent a header into the corner.
Smith almost scored again soon after, before Johnny Harvey’s men pulled one back with a goal out of nothing as Barr sent a spectacular long-range effort up and over Ferrie.
There was another anxious moment when Berwick earned a stoppage-time free kick 25 yards out but that one went over the bar and it’s now just one defeat in 12 games for the Binos.
Berwick Rangers: Brennan, Forbes, Orru (Adamson 67), Wilson, Hume (Knox 81), Healy, Aloulou (Ogilvie 73), Barr, McIlduff, Brydon, Brown. Subs (not used): Murphy, Cook, Rose, Carlin (GK).
Scorer: Barr 89
Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie, Allan, Hughes, Horne, McGregor, Jardine (Glover 88), Docherty, Mackin, Smith (McLear 82), Wright (McLaughlin 82). Subs (not used): Thomson, Banner, Ashmore, Binnie (GK).
Scorers: Mackin pen 43, Smith 79
Referee: Stephen Brown