Bottom club Albion Rovers claimed a deserved win at Forthbank as we suffered our third straight 1-0 home defeat after recent losses to Peterhead and Clyde.
Gregor Fotheringham’s fourth-minute goal proved decisive as we lost to the Coatbridge club for the second time this season to drop to sixth in the table going into next weekend’s game against Clyde at Broadwood.
It was a notable day for Kevin Harper’s side – in the morning they were awarded a 3-0 default win by the SPFL after Clyde fielded an ineligible player in last month’s meeting and this victory has closed the gap on second-bottom Berwick Rangers to just two points.
On a bright but cold and windy afternoon, Stirling showed two changes from the team that beat Cowdenbeath 2-1 at Central Park last week, with Darren Smith (suspended) and Peter MacDonald replaced by Dylan Mackin and Max Ashmore.
There was a minute’s applause before the game in memory of Albion Rovers goalkeeping coach Michael Duke, who sadly passed away last weekend.
Rovers had scored just two goals in their last nine fixtures but were ahead inside four minutes. Calum Ferrie did well to save from on-loan Motherwell striker George Newell but slack defending allowed Fotheringham to follow up and score from close range.
The visitors were organised and hard-working – just as they were when we won 1-0 here last month – and we struggled to create anything in a deeply disappointing first half.
Newell came close to a second goal for Rovers before we enjoyed a slightly better spell as the match wore on. MacDonald failed to convert a Ronan Hughes cross while at the other end Ferrie pushed a Gary Phillips drive round the post.
Visiting keeper Peter Morrison didn’t have many saves to make but did brilliantly to claw away a 90th-minute header from sub Scott Glover – who replaced Max Ashmore after 25 minutes – and Hamilton knocked the ball wide from the resulting corner.
Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie (Hamilton 12), Allan, Hughes, Marr, Banner, Jardine, Docherty, Mackin, Wright (MacDonald 63), Ashmore (Glover 25). Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Thomson, McLaughlin, McLear.
Albion Rovers: Morrison, Hardie, Clarke, Wharton, Wilson, Morena, Osadolor (Reilly 72), Fotheringham, Newell (Fisher 86), Byrne (Gordon 90), Phillips. Subs (not used): Potts (GK), Escuriola, McMahon, Ross.
Scorer: Fotheringham 4
Referee: Craig Napier