Stirling were fortunate to escape with a point against Queen’s Park, who didn’t look like a team now without a win in eight League 2 matches.

Darren Smith’s early goal gave us the lead but Scott McLean deservedly equalised from the penalty spot in 27 minutes and Mark Roberts’ men passed up a string of chances to claim all three points.

It’s just one defeat in 10 games now for Kevin Rutkiewicz’s team but we slipped six points off the play-off pace after fourth-placed Annan, who have played a game more, won 2-1 at Edinburgh City.

There were two changes from last week, with Max Ashmore and Neil McLaughlin replacing Dom Docherty (suspended) and Cammy Thomson (illness) as we chased a fourth straight success. New signings Archie Thomas, on loan from Dundee United, and Max Wright made their debuts from the bench.

The Forthbank pitch had been covered since Thursday afternoon to keep the frost at bay and they did the job but the team toiled for much of this game.

It was a bright start and we had chances before Smith grabbed his fifth goal of the season with a cool first-time finish after a brilliant through ball from Danny Jardine, but we failed to push on.

McLean levelled from the spot after Kyle Banner brought down Galt and we were glad to go in level at the break as Queen’s Park took control. We were unable to stem the tide in the second half, with Alan Gow outstanding for the Spiders, but on-loan Dundee keeper Calum Ferrie was in top form.

He saved well from Hawke and sub Euan East while Dom McLaren fired over from close range and Hawke headed wide at the end when he should have scored, as our goal led a charmed life.

It finished 1-1, which was also the outcome at Hampden last month, and we now head to Coatbridge to play Albion Rovers next weekend before a home match against Clyde on February 2.

Stirling Albion: Ferrie, McGeachie, Allan, Hughes (Thomas 46), Horne, Banner, Jardine, Ashmore, P MacDonald (Mackin 73), Smith, McLaughlin (Wright 56). Subs (not used): Binnie (GK), Marr, McGregor, M MacDonald.

Scorer: Smith 9

Queen’s Park: Hart, Mortimer, McLean, McKernon, McLaren, Gibson (East 73), McGrory, Roberts, Hawke, Galt (Moore 71), Gow. Subs (not used): McDougall (GK), Grant, Kindlan, Peters, Osadolor.

Scorer: McLean pen 27

Referee: Chris Fordyce

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