Feb 27 2013 By David Ogilvie
Stirling Albion 2 Clyde 0
Stirling Albion went into their Forthbank clash with leaders Rangers on Tuesday on the back of a five-match unbeaten run and having clambered off the bottom of Division Three.
A solid success on Saturday allowed Greig McDonald’s men to leapfrog the Bully Wee and close to within four points of sixth place as their recent improvement continued.
First-half goals from Kieran McAnespie – his first for the club – and Mark Ferry – his seventh of the season – earned the points against a Clyde team whose only triumph in 2013 was against Stirling at Broadwood in mid-January.
Things looked desperately bleak for Albion at that point but a weather-related four-week break and a flurry of new signings have revived the team.
There’s an awful long way to go but at least things are starting to look up after what has been a tough campaign.
This was Stirling’s seventh home win of 2012/13 – a tally bettered only by Rangers – but they must now try to end their search for an away victory at Elgin on Saturday or Berwick next Tuesday.
The Clyde match wasn’t a classic but this is just the sort of result Stirling looked incapable of earlier in the campaign.
They got themselves in front and rarely looked troubled thereafter. Having shipped goals at an alarming rate for several months, they have conceded only three in five outings now.
Jamie Bishop from Forfar has been a key figure in Albion’s improvement. A no-nonsense centre-half, he has also provided some much-needed leadership on the park while former Forthbank skipper Ross Forsyth and keeper David Crawford have also impressed since joining.
Albion’s opening goal came after just five minutes and from an unlikely source. Kieran McAnespie has scored a few for his many previous clubs, including St Johnstone and Arbroath, but this was his first for the Binos since arriving in the summer.
The experienced midfielder guided a shot past former Falkirk keeper Jamie Barclay after Jordan White had nodded the ball into his path at the end of a fine move, with the defence posted missing.
The crucial second goal came from Ferry in 32 minutes. White’s 20-yard drive was pushed out by Barclay and the ex-Raith man kept his cool to knock home the rebound.
Crawford made an important save from Kieran McGachie shortly before the break and Clyde wasted a glorious chance early in the second period when Stuart McColm blazed over from six yards.
That was a rare opportunity for either side in a forgettable second period but Stirling always looked comfortable and 17-year-old striker Sandy Cunningham – on as a sub for Graham Weir – could have added a third goal but failed to convert White’s cross from close range, before a hand injury forced him off.
Kevin Watt tested Crawford with a couple of late efforts for the visitors, who included ex-Binos Paul Hay and John Kane, but Stirling stood strong to make it five games without defeat – their best run since the title-winning season of 2009/10.