A month off wasn’t part of the plans, but Albion returned from their enforced winter break revitalised, and produced their best performance of the season to defeat Montrose.
Greig McDonald’s men hadn’t played since a 2-1 defeat at Clyde on January 12 and last won against Peterhead before Christmas but kicked off a hectic spell of nine games in 29 days with an emphatic victory to close the gap on second-bottom East Stirlingshire to just two points ahead of the local derby last night (Tuesday) at Forthbank.
The Gabale Endies had already beaten the Binos 3-1 and 3-2 this season and had the chance to move up to second in the table but were soundly beaten and showed little of the attacking threat from previous games, as Stirling bossed the match.
Stephen McNally gave the visitors the lead in 25 minutes but top scorer Jordan White and Mark Ferry struck to give Stirling an interval advantage and sub Stephen Day added an overdue third goal late on as Albion came from behind to win for the first time in 2012/13.
It was a terrific all-round display. Ferry and David McClune were outstanding in the middle of the park, White and Scott Davidson harassed the Montrose defence all afternoon and new signing Jamie Bishop, who had a spell on loan here in December, was a commanding figure at the back.
There was also a start for keeper David Crawford who looked assured against his former club, but fellow new signing Ross Forsyth had to settle for a place on the bench due to illness. Gary Thom (suspended), Jamie Clark (ill) and Ross McGeachie (injured) all missed out.
On-loan Dundee keeper John Gibson denied White an early goal after a wonderful pass from Kieran McAnespie and Montrose profited when McNally headed in a David Gray corner.
Stirling scarcely deserved to be behind and by half-time they were ahead. Davidson and McClune linked well to set up White, who slammed home his ninth goal of the campaign, and six minutes later Ferry’s shot on the turn from the edge of the box sneaked inside the right-hand post.
Montrose had hit back in their previous three games to draw with Clyde, Rangers and East Stirling but they rarely looked like doing so here and Albion’s second-half display was terrific. They were cohesive, played good football and closed the visitors down at every opportunity.
Davidson came close to a third goal soon after the break but his shot came back off the post, and the ex-Falkirk player fired over as Stirling continued to threaten.
Montrose had Martin Boyle, so prolific in Division Three last season before moving to Dundee, back on loan, but he was kept quiet and the Binos emphasised their superiority three minutes from time when Graham Weir broke clear and found Day, who drove the ball into the empty net.
Next up is a trip to promotion-chasing Peterhead on Saturday before successive home games against Annan, Clyde and Rangers.