Albion earned a first Betfred Cup Group D win on Tuesday night and it was more emphatic than the scoreline suggests.
All the goals came in a first half dominated by the Binos – Lewis Hawke gave Montrose the lead against the run of play but Sean Heaver and Dylan Mackin turned things round.
Neither side went into this game with any hope of progressing to the last 16, with both having lost to Arbroath and Elgin City last month, although Stewart Petrie’s men drew with Ross County.
There were three changes for the hosts, with Dom Docherty, Heaver and Mackin replacing Kurtis Roberts, Andy Ryan and Declan Byrne. The visitors retained only three of the team who defeated Peterhead 3-2 at the weekend and included two 17-year-olds.
On a perfectly still and mild autumn evening, Stirling were outstanding in the first half. We played high-tempo attacking football and created a hatful of chances.
Albion should have been ahead early on but instead found themselves behind in 19 minutes when Hawke, who didn’t manage to score in his short spell at Forthbank, finished smartly at the near post after Martin Rennie had got away from Kyle Banner and crossed from the left.
The goal didn’t change the flow of the game and Stirling continued to dominate – central defender Aldin El-Zubaidi blazed over from close range and Allan Fleming thwarted Heaver, one of many saves he made on the night.
It felt like the equaliser had to come and in 34 minutes it did. Jack Leitch, again excellent in the middle of the park, lifted the ball into the box and Heaver took a touch before smacking a low shot into the corner.
Heaver then set up what proved to be the winner in 41 minutes, flicking the ball on to Mackin, who drilled a first-time effort low past the keeper.
The second half was a more even affair and Cammy Binnie made a couple of good saves in the final minutes but Albion closed out a deserved triumph against their League 1 opponents.
Stirling Albion: Binnie, McGeachie, Banner, El-Zubaidi, McGregor (Magee 54), Docherty, Heaver, Wilson (Mitchell 90), Mackin (Byrne 80), Leitch (K Roberts 90), S Roberts (Creaney 80). Subs (not used): Law (GK), Thomson, Ryan, Moore.
Scorers: Heaver 34, Mackin 41
Montrose: Fleming, I Campbell, R Campbell, McCormick (Rollo 69), Quinn, Leslie (Watson 60), Johnston, Callaghan (Clark 60), Milne, Rennie, Hawke (McLean 60). Subs (not used): Lennox (GK), C Ballantyne, C F Ballantyne, Steeves, Webster.
Scorer: Hawke 19
Referee: Peter Stuart