Stirling gave their play-off hopes a major boost by winning at Galabank on Saturday to move seven points clear of fifth-placed Stranraer.
Goals from Dylan Mackin and Andy Ryan, via the penalty spot, had the visitors in control but former Bino Max Wright pulled one back before the hosts had Tony Wallace sent off in stoppage time.
There were a couple of anxious moments but Stirling saw the game out for a deserved victory, which leaves the Galabankies without a home win this season. They dropped to second from bottom in the table, with Albion back up to third place.
Stirling had won 1-0 when the sides met at Forthbank in October and triumphed 3-2 on their last visit to the south of the country in January 2020. They went into the game on the back of a 1-1 draw with Albion Rovers while Annan had halted Edinburgh City’s winning run with the same result in midweek.
It was bright but bracing at Galabank and there were even some April snow showers blowing in on a cold wind. The match was preceded by a minute’s silence following the death of HRH Prince Philip on Friday.
There was a fairly quiet start to this contest with neither keeper really troubled before Stirling broke the deadlock after 18 minutes. Ryan did well to create an opening and his low drive was spilled by Alex Mitchell, allowing Mackin to turn the ball in from almost on the line for his first league goal of the season, although he also netted against Montrose in the Betfred Cup.
Annan offered little in the opening half hour but should have equalised in 34 minutes when Wallace broke clear but Blair Currie came to the rescue and also made a smart save from Darren Christie soon after.
Albion hadn’t managed to score more than once in a game since lower-league football resumed last month but that changed early in the second half. Owen Moxon tripped Ryan, who had been beautifully set up by Kurtis Roberts, and the Binos’ top scorer stuck the penalty away in the bottom right-hand corner for his 10th goal of the season.
That should have been that but Wright nodded home from close range following a corner just before the hour mark to give Peter Murphy’s men hope and Wallace might have equalised but instead dragged his shot wide from the edge of the area.
Stirling managed the final phase of the game well and rarely looked like conceding an equaliser then, in added time, Annan lost Wallace to a second yellow card after he caught David Wilson.
Annan Athletic: Mitchell, Sinnamon, Clark, Moxon, Douglas, Hunter (Docherty 83), Wallace, Lowdon, Smith, Wright (Anderson 83), Christie (Flanagan 64). Subs (not used): Kinnear (GK), Love, Fleming, Watson, McCaw, Currie.
Goal: Wright 59
Stirling Albion: Currie, McGeachie, Eadie, Banner, McGregor, K Roberts (Kirkpatrick 86), Ryan, Wilson, Mackin (Byrne 86), Leitch (Hamilton 75), S Roberts (Allan 75). Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Docherty, Bikey, Moore, Heaver.
Goals: Mackin 18, Ryan pen 56
Referee: Scott Lambie