Mar 9 2012 by Donald Morton, Stirling Observer Friday
Binos Mark Ferry
IT WAS a night of mixed emotions for Albion on Tuesday as they shared the spoils with relegation rivals Forfar in an often thrilling encounter, despite the wind and rain.
The Binos, with the same XI that dumped Albion Rovers 3-0 at the weekend, went ahead through Mark Ferry but two goals in three second-half minutes from Stephen Tulloch and Chris Templeman swung the game in the visitors’ favour.
Dick Campbell’s side were then reduced to 10 men when midfielder Chris Hegarty saw red for going in late on Albion keeper Callum Reidford and Greig McDonald’s team took advantage to equalise in the dying minutes with a fine finish from midfielder Daly McSorley.
Even then, both sides could have won it. On-loan Aberdeen midfielder Nicky Low was desperately unlucky to see a great effort hit the underside of the bar before Stirling surged to the other end and Kevin Kelbie headed inches too high from a Darren Smith cross.
Despite the late leveller, there was a nagging feeling that Stirling should have put this game away. Instead the draw means only a single point covers bottom club Albion Rovers, who claimed a 1-0 win over Stenhousemuir, the Binos and Forfar going into the last quarter of the campaign.
Ferry broke the deadlock from the corner of the box with a clinical finish after Craig McLeish had played him in but the major assist came from a brilliant turn and run from Kelbie.
Alan Cook fired just wide late in the first half after bursting through the Loons defence then Smith failed to convert a Graham Weir cross with the goal at his mercy.
Forfar had not offered too much threat before the break, save for a Templeman header which sailed too close to the post for comfort, as they looked to bounce back from a weekend defeat to Stenhousemuir but they were much improved after the interval.
Hegarty smashed a 30-yarder just over but the equaliser arrived when defender Tulloch headed home with the Albion defence in disarray and skipper Brian Allison down injured.
Minutes earlier Shaun Fagan had to be replaced and Allison followed before Albion’s night got worse when Templeman made space on the edge of the box and found the bottom corner with a fine finish for his 15th league goal of the season – an impressive haul for a team in the bottom half.
Forfar had a terrible record here until winning a League Cup tie last season but, after a 4-2 triumph in September, they looked on course for a third straight victory in Stirling.
Hegarty’s dismissal for catching Reidford with his studs midway through the second period revived home hopes and more goals always looked likely in a fixture that finished 2-2 at Station Park in January, with the teams due to meet in Angus again on March 24.
Weir could have bagged his first Stirling goal since joining from Brechin in January but blazed his shot over the bar. Then Cook, who performed well on the night, dragged his shot wide with only keeper Greg Paterson to beat.
Stirling appeared set for a damaging defeat but salvaged a draw from an unlikely source. McSorley’s only previous goal was at Forfar in January but he confidently swept the ball home at the end of a move that started with a terrific run from substitute Josh Flood.
Albion had not quite managed three league wins in a row for the first time in two years but seven points from nine in the space of a week has given them a fighting chance of avoiding the drop.
STIRLING ALBION: Reidford, Fagan (Jacobs 60), Crawley, McSorley, Thom, Allison (Flood 63), Cook, Ferry, Weir, Kelbie, McLeish (Smith 43). Subs not used: Macpherson, Filler.
FORFAR: Paterson, Ross, I Campbell (Bolochoweckyj 76), McCulloch, Tulloch, Mowat, Fotheringham (Sellars 79), Hegarty, Templeman (Coyne 71), Hilson, Low. Subs not used: Gibson, McCallum.
Referee: John Beaton