Stirling Albion 1 East Stirlingshire 1
Albion couldn’t claim the win that would have lifted them off the foot of the table as Shire hit back for a point in a scrappy match at Forthbank on Tuesday night.
In the first meeting between the teams on this ground for nine years, Graham Weir headed the Binos in front early in the second half but the visitors equalised eight minutes later through Kevin Turner’s penalty.
It was a frustrating evening for Greig McDonald’s men, so impressive in beating Montrose 3-1 on Saturday, and they remain two points behind John Coughlin’s troops, albeit with two games in hand.
Shire are still without a victory in Stirling since August 1985 but they hold the upper hand this term, with a two 1-1 draws and a 3-1 win at Ochilview in September.
Albion have been in front in all three of these games but ended both away fixtures with 10 men and suffered as a result. They kept 11 men on the park this time, although referee Alan Newlands was busy as the yellow cards mounted up on both sides.
Both teams could point to missed opportunities during a 90 minutes that was rarely easy on the eye but neither were sharp enough to take them when it mattered.
McDonald named the same starting XI as Saturday but the fluency was missing. Shire were hard-working and organised and it was no surprise the first half failed to produce a goal, although Mark Ferry and Jamie Bishop came close.
It looked like the sort of contest when a single goal might be enough and Albion warmed their fans on a near-freezing night when Weir was left unmarked to nod Kieran McAnespie’s corner past Grant Hay for his fourth goal of the season just 90 seconds into the second half.
But shut-outs have been hard to come by for Albion in recent times and they were undone by a careless lunge from substitute Stephen Day, who brought down Andy Stirling in the box.
Shire skipper Turner stepped up confidently to guide the ball into the net.
The visitors had lost seven of their 10 away games in 2012/13 but recently won 4-3 at Elgin and drew 2-2 at Montrose, and Turner forced a smart save from David Crawford after going in behind the defence.
Stirling carved out a couple of big chances but Ferry’s low shot from a Weir assist was blocked by Hay and top scorer Jordan White scooped the ball over the top when under pressure as it ended all square in the first part of a double-header, with Shire due back at Forthbank on March 9.