Annan scored twice in the closing minutes to seal their place in the play-offs and deny Stirling a first win at Galabank since May 2014.
Darren Smith’s double, the second from the penalty spot, had Kevin Rutkiewicz’s men in command but substitute Christian Nade pulled one back and Ayrton Sonkur swept home a 94th-minute equaliser as home pressure paid off in a game of eight yellow cards.
Danny Jardine was back in the side and Ross McGeachie was also fit enough to return to the squad after injury but Peter MacDonald, Max Wright, Neil McLaughlin, Dylan Mackin and Jason Marr were all ruled out. There was a place in the matchday 18 for the first time for U18 striker Connor Preston.
Annan had won seven of their last eight home games, drawing the other, but we took the lead inside three minutes with a superbly-worked goal. Dom Docherty split the defence with a perfect pass and Lee Hamilton picked out Smith to grab his 10th goal of the season from close range.
On a bright but cold and breezy afternoon, chances were at a premium in the first half but it was a different story in the second period. Peter Murphy’s men came out strongly and Steven Swinglehurst headed over and Calum Ferrie made a superb save from a Tony Wallace shot.
The home side were on top but just after the hour mark referee John McKendrick pointed to the spot after a tangle in the box at a cross ball and Smith squeezed the penalty past Alex Mitchell.
The Galabankies refused to give up and Ferrie made a couple of excellent saves to preserve our lead and Swinglehurst’s net-bound header was blocked before Nade pounced at the far post with two minutes to go after Ferrie had pushed out a low angled drive.
Deep into stoppage time, a corner from the left was met by Sonkur and the former Queen of the South defender lashed the ball into the net as it ended 2-2 here for the second time this season.
Annan Athletic: Mitchell, Hooper, Creaney (Strapp 85), Bradley, Sonkur, Swinglehurst, Wallace, Moxon (Wilson 64), Smith, Muir (Nade 64), Wallace. Subs (not used): McAdams (GK), Brannan, Murphy.
Scorers: Nade 88, Sonkur 90+4
Stirling Albion: Ferrie, Banner, Allan, Hughes, McGregor, Hamilton (McGeachie 64), Jardine, Docherty, McLear (Glover 89), Smith, Thomson. Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Horne, Ashmore, Murray, Preston.
Scorers: Smith 3, pen 63
Referee: John McKendrick