Image courtesy of Andrew Pool
Dylan Mackin missed a penalty as we were forced to settle for a point in the Galabank sunshine despite being the better team.
The former Falkirk forward, who netted four out of four from the spot last season, dragged his kick wide of the post after Dylan Bikey had been tripped in the box midway through the first half.
On the plus side, this was a second successive shut-out after the 1-0 win over Elgin City at Forthbank. It was a game of few chances and the latest spot-kick failure – Max Wright missed against St Mirren Colts in the Caramel Wafer Cup – proved costly.
The result shouldn’t have come as a surprise given that both Galabank meetings last season also ended all square. It was a pair of 2-2 draws in 2018/19 but this was a less dramatic 90 minutes.
We have the best defensive record in League 2 but the poorest goals-for column and only Josh Peters has scored a league goal. The former Queen’s Park man was sidelined, as was Kyle Banner, Paul Willis and Gareth Rodger but Paul McLean and Kevin Nicoll were back in the squad after suspension.
Binos boss Kevin Rutkiewicz was serving a one-match dug-out ban after being sent off and reported for misconduct during the 2-1 defeat at Albion Rovers at the end of August.
Annan, unbeaten at home but thumped 4-0 at Edinburgh City the previous week, were without several players through injury and named ex-Albion keeper Chris Smith as a trialist.
Cammy Thomson hit the side netting when he might have done better but we were unable to test Smith too often. Peter Murphy’s men didn’t create much either, although Blair Currie made an excellent save from a Scott McLean free-kick.
Bikey was again looking lively at times and the French forward was on the end of a heavy tackle in the second half that might have brought a red card rather than a yellow.
Clear-cut chances continued to be at a premium but Annan sent a header wide from a decent position then we almost won it at the end when substitute Max Wright saw his shot defected on to the top of the bar after a scramble in the box.
Annan Athletic: Smith, Douglas, Walker (Ballantyne 73), Bradley, Barr, Holt, McLean, Wilkie, Muir (Currie 86), McLear, Watson (Emmerson 59). Subs (not used): Taylor (GK), Griffiths.
Stirling Albion: Currie, McGeachie, Creaney, Thomson, McLean, McGregor, Jardine, Wilson (Nicoll 85), Duffy (Wright 83), Bikey, Mackin (Hawke 62). Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Truesdale, Lowdown, Docherty.
Referee: Chris Graham