Apr 11 2012 by David Ogilvie, Stirling Observer Wednesday
Brechin City 1 Stirling Albion 2
GLEBE Park has long been a popular venue with the Stirling fans and the homely arena, bordered by the famous hedge, is becoming a ground where their favourites can do no wrong.
It was here in May 2010 that Allan Moore’s men secured the Division Two title and on Saturday Greig McDonald’s team triumphed on City’s home patch for the second time in six weeks to revive their hopes of escaping the trapdoor into Division Three.
This was a thoroughly merited victory for the Binos, who were badly in need of a boost after back-to-back defeats to Forfar and Airdrie. They are now only two points behind both Albion Rovers and Forfar as the battle to avoid the drop enters a nerve-shredding final four weeks.
Goals from Mark Ferry and Alan Cook, who also missed a penalty, proved decisive although there were a few anxious moments when Scott Buist pulled one back for Brechin late on.
Stirling held out, though, for their third win against Jim Weir’s team this term and they go into Saturday’s home game against leaders Cowdenbeath with renewed hope.
Albion travelled to Angus on the back of six defeats in seven away games. The exception was a 3-1 triumph at Glebe Park on February 28 and again they found comfort here.
McDonald made two changes from the team so comprehensively defeated by Airdrie at the Doubletree Dunblane Stadium. Scott Davidson replaced Kevin Kelbie in attack and Daly McSorley dropped to the bench to make way for the experience of Jamie McCunnie in midfield. Brechin missed top scorer Paul McManus but ex-Binos Buist, David McKenna, Charlie King and Craig Molloy all started as City sought to build on the previous week’s shock win at Arbroath.
That result and Stenhousemuir’s collapse since the turn of the year left City just two points outside the top four but their ambitions of reaching the play-offs for the fourth year in a row were seriously damaged by a performance that lacked any urgency.
From the start it looked as if Stirling wanted it more and Cook and Ferry both tested veteran keeper Craig Nelson as the hosts struggled to make an impact. It was never a match stuffed full of chances but the visitors were well worth their lead when it arrived in 33 minutes.
Graham Weir joined Albion after leaving Brechin in January and has been a key player. Hard-working and strong on the ball, he did brilliantly to retain possession and slip a pass through to Ferry, whose fierce shot stung Nelson’s gloves but had enough momentum to loop into the net for his sixth goal for the club.
Ferry, has been something of a revelation in his short spell with Stirling. He rarely wastes a pass and offers a real threat from the middle of the park and this was his third goal in three matches against City.
It helped that Brechin looked so out of sorts but this was an accomplished performance by Stirling, who allied hard work to some good football on a fiery surface.
They should have doubled their lead midway through the second half when Cook tumbled in the box under a challenge from sub David Crawford but, to the horror of the Albion fans, he blazed the spot-kick wide.
Crawford came close at the other end when his effort was blocked by Devon Jacobs but they otherwise offered little as their frustrating season continued and good work by Weir saw him release Cook, who ran clear to smack home his eighth goal of 2011/12 via the base of the post.
That should have been that but Stirling don’t do shut-outs, at least not very often.
Buist swept a fine shot past Callum Reidford following a corner four minutes from time. There was a horrible moment after that when the keeper could only push out a Crawford free-kick but he recovered to block the rebound as Albion claimed a vital three points.
BRECHIN CITY: Nelson, McLean, Dunlop, Buist, Moyes, Brady (Crawford 56), McKenzie, Molloy, King, McKenna (Lister 63), Hodge (Fusco 45). Subs not used: McLauchlan, Scott.
STIRLING ALBION: Reidford, Jacobs, Crawley, McCunnie, Thom, Allison, Smith, Ferry, Weir (Nicholas 90), Davidson (McSorley 78), Cook (McLeish 84). Subs not used: Dillon, Filler.
Referee: Gary Hilland